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The Alexandrian

Casper's Plague - Genocidal Compassion

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We're heading in.  All medical aircraft, report.

HGS Asclepius, reporting in.  All systems are green.  We are en route to the rally point, over.

This is HGS Semmelweis. reporting.  Our board is green.  We are also proceeding to the rally point, over.

HGS Jenner, reporting.  We are as green as Gaia's gift and Oscar Mike to the rally point, over.

This is HGS Glasmann.  HGS Asclepius, HGS Semmelweis, and HGS Jenner, standby for landing.  Autonomous security units have established a secure perimeter for you to commence work on Biohazard Level 4 Research and Treatment Facilities.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT deploy personnel or reclaim materials from the site.  You are only inserting autonomous labor units.  Do not proceed to stage two without clearance.  I repeat, do not proceed to stage two without clearance.  All medical aircraft, acknowledge.

HGS Asclepius acknowledges.

HGS Semmelweis acknowledges.

HGS Jenner acknowledges.

HGS Glasmann confirms.  Stay safe, over.

Approximately 5,760 kilometers divide the City of Casper from the City of Hell's Gate.  For reference, that distance is roughly half of the span of Terrenus (tracing parallels or meridians).  In an era of growing uncertainty, in a once prosperous land now fraught with peril and despair, the majority insulated themselves from the cursed miasma twilight unleashed.  Shut within their unassailable spires, soldiers held vigil as the parade of lights on the horizon died away.  Darkness besieged the people of Terrenus, and the bulk of the population seemed content to deny that the evil which so rigorously erased their neighbors would ever pose a threat to their omnipotent city-states.  Our city is a cut above the rest, they protest.  Our guardians are invincible.  Our technology is a miracle.  Our gods will alight on our battlements to protect us, just wait and see!

Just wait and see...

Scarce were those who would forsake the relative safety and comfort of their homes to challenge the powers of the void.  A gallant few stood tall, and as they fell, one-by-one, sovereigns, roused from eternal slumber by a dying prayer, gathered to grant their hearts' desire.  In memory of deceased, they pledged they would restore peace to these embattled lands or else perish in the attempt.  Gaps had formed in the line heroes held.  Cracks spiderwebbed across radiant stars, and they crumbled into sublime powder mingled with blood-soaked earth.  Inner turmoil, avarice and pride, had set their kindred against them.  Bewitched by corrupted source, iniquity seized their holdfast and eroded the foundation which empowered their works.  All would soon be lost if the operations of the void and the Wyrm were not disrupted, yet the vessels of light and the awakened sovereigns were tidily segregated by artificial boundaries into petty organizations vying for power and prestige.  So it was that the cities of Terrenus had become city-states, lending nominal aid to one another to sustain the overinflated egos of charlatans turned prince or captain of industry.

Undaunted by the obstacles awaiting along its path, House Glasmann mobilized with the sole purpose of providing much needed succor to the denizens of Casper.  Never before had House Glasmann taken such an active role in disaster response or military matters.  Historically, House Glasmann was reclusive and elitist but dependable when tasked with a mission.  Sure, the products they released were revolutionary and reasonably priced - their product lines, ranging from standard "Medical Slough." a compact, imperishable healing paste, and robotic surgical suites to custom living prosthetics, including vital organs, and intricate vitrification tanks, were incredible, but House Glasmann...  House Glasmann was almost completely detached from the people of Terrenus.  Friends of the Glasmann family within Hell's Gate only knew Lord and Lady Glasmann by name.  Servants of the Glasmann family were born, lived, and presumably died on the Glasmann estate - every single member of their personal staff was born into a family that had dutifully served House Glasmann for centuries.  The media and the military had no information on the contemporary Lord or Lady Glasmann.  On the rare occasions that the family would entertain guests, they were always eccentric sorts, and no guest visited the household more than once per generation.  The Glasmanns were odd ducks, to say the least, and the public at large had no clue what they ought to think about the nondescript geniuses who, at times, quietly donated their products and expertise to save strangers' lives when they had nowhere else to turn.  The Glasmanns were an enigma; they would sometimes respond to written correspondence, but their letters were always formal and impersonal.  Only the downtrodden workers of Hell's Gate who swallowed their pride and accepted the charity of others knew of House Glasmann's pet projects, the high-tech farms silently sprouting up in formerly abandoned warehouses within different sectors of Hell's Gate that donated all of their produce and a number of the fish they reared in order to maintain their meticulously-regulated microhabitats to the economically disadvantaged and the pro bono shuttle service that transported the very same segment of the population to a free, state-of-the-art clinic owned by House Glasmann.  To most, House Glasmann is a legend; it remained so obscure for such a long duration of time, in fact, that no one even thought to enlist its help in combating the plague that hit Hell's Gate in recent days.

That all changed when Caeceila came of age.  Like her parents, Caeceila Glasmann very nearly had no history.  There was a record of her birth generated by House Glasmann's personal doctor.  There were records of her inoculations, though those were generated by, you guessed it, another doctor on House Glasmann's payroll.  Aside from that documentation, Caeceila Glasmann didn't exist.  She didn't exist until about a month before that fateful day she resolved to crash the Red Festival and avenge the innocent blood that the fledgling Legion of Doom and the Terrenus Military had spilled.  When the Terrenus Military attempted to condition Caeceila as a military asset, she repeatedly refused to engage their psychic specialist in combat, heavily implying that she would have wiped it from reality had she struck it in her rage.  She is classified as a "military contractor," though she doesn't respect the chain of command and would be a vocal critic of several of the Terrenus Military's practices if anyone cared to listen to her opinions (almost nobody does).  Central reports that she has assembled a private army in Hell's Gate, and her ruthless, if not wholeheartedly demented, brand of heroism connotes she has every intention of applying it to external and internal conflicts without the consent of the military officials.

All this considered, it would be alarming to witness the fleet of House Glasmann airships converging on Casper if House Glasmann hadn't been expressly invited to the city by command to develop a vaccine against the plague, cure infected patients within the desolate city, and provide medical and general humanitarian relief to all persons within the City of Casper.  The lightweight alloy plating the oversized transports, dedicated medical craft escorted by a nimble manned fighter squadron and dozens of small, unmanned drones, scintillate gloriously in the light of the morning sun.  In contrast to the muddy wreckage resting on the earth, the presence of the lustrous celestial giants is a vow that normalcy shall be restored.  Unperturbed by the wind, massive metal pods ejected by the fleet rain from the skies, guided by golden beams of energy projected by eyelike orbs.  Within thirty seconds of the final impact, swarms of orbs and remotely manipulated cubes wrench the containers open, extracting sterile packets of material and loading them into orbs with emerald irises.  The cubes assemble and load themselves into collapsible heavy construction equipment.  Orbs with crimson irises weld metal joints with immense precision, some toggling the color of their irises a fraction of a second after their jobs are complete and rendezvousing with teams of orbs completing other work.  The emerald eyes dispense layer after layer of material, zooming along preset paths as they print walls and flooring to match the shielded, prefabricated modules golden eyes cart down from the HGS Semmelweis.  By midday, in just under four hours, the clean facility, while by no means complete, has been tested for contaminants and is ready for all House Glasmann vessels to dock.

Autonomous security teams, patrolling mazes of concertina wire and dragon's teeth they erected hours before, ward off interlopers without exception.  Whether visitors are citizens, civilians, active military members, or representatives of the associated press makes no difference.  While the silvery humanoid robots and the spidery artillery units are, in a phrase, intimidating by design, they are slow to resort to violence.  After a machine issue a verbal warning to troublemakers attempting to breach the perimeter, an operator assumes control of the unit and politely asks the perpetrator to be patient for just a little longer while Glasmann Cryonics finishes setting up.  Only one person is forcibly ejected before the facility, which is still under construction, opens to individuals in need of urgent care.  The triage center opens at this time as well, admitting persons who require medical services unrelated to the plague such as treatment of a new or preexisting medical condition.

Oddly, military officials are not allowed on site at this point unless they fall into one of the two categories listed above.  The explanations offered to military personnel who do not insist on speaking to Caeceila Glasmann directly always involve plague carriers and the possibility of inadvertent contamination of sterile equipment.

Edited by The Alexandrian

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Time passes.  The sun sets.

The dead of night cannot conceal the ailing townsfolk from House Glasmann's silver eyes.  Hunting lights, blue and green, corralled the infected into warm, if, perhaps, a tad spartan, tenements overseen by shining machines humming through the darkness.  To ease the slumber of the victims of Casper's plague, a plague which no researcher employed by Glasmann Cryonics wished to name, tubular, white canisters bled innocuous sedatives and painkillers in aerosol form, spiking the atmosphere with soporific mist.  It was a small mercy, medical doctors whispered via the resonators of their mechanical proxies, to secret away their consciousness, for preliminary studies evinced all life corrupted by this virulent scourge was incapable of returning to more than a frayed semblance of normalcy.  This outcome was anticipated, to an extent.  As with virtually every violent tragedy of comparable scale, how could parents, having lost their children to a geyser of blood, collect splinters of shattered contentment and learn to live again?  But then, there was the source of the plague, a malicious mind perverting nature to spawn tragedy.  These people had been violated, wantonly violated, by an engineered bioweapon enabled by vile magic.  Specialists at Glasmann Cryonics could not identify the guilty party, for the complexities of breeding and controlling viable bioweapons customarily checked their development such that there were few regulatory bodies registering, let alone inspecting, institutions with gene-editing expertise, but it isolated divergent sequences of nucleotides and traced the majority of them to known pathogens.  What puzzled the team was how the contagion circumvented host specificity.  They had to predict how the plague would mutate as it spread among the pests slinking about Casper to eradicate it completely and thus prevent it from escaping the quarantined zones on the wings of birds and the backs of mice.

In batches, patients are roused from their rest and admitted to the sterile facility.  After they sign a stack of releases and consent forms, samples of flesh and fluid are summarily extracted from each of them and advanced medical diagnostics are skillfully performed on them by ultramodern machines.  Escorted by orbs, people and animals enter and exit the decorous white bastion.  Even within the building, patients never encounter living, breathing employees of Glasmann Cryonics.  The sections of the facility accessible to the public are inhabited only by inscrutable automata immune to all strains of plague.  Whether they are sanitizing common areas of the facility or examining patients under manual control, the robots Glasmann Cryonics maintains are extremely efficient in their work and the organization of said work.  All patients are examined promptly after arriving.  All drugs are dispensed as soon as verbal interactions with the handlers of a "Doc-Bot" have concluded.  All patients who depart from the facility or choose to linger in comfortable waiting rooms and cafeterias in lieu of heading back to the "Hibernation Facility" cannot complain about the medical attention they received or the robots' bedside manner.  It is ominous, some claim, that every sophisticated robot is operated by a crew of technicians, doctors, psychologists, and other support staff yet not one of them has the authority to connect with a patient in person.  All operations are conducted remotely; Glasmann Cryonics does not once risk the health of its employees.

Patterns emerge from seemingly random patient selection.  A perceptive observer would note that children below the age of twelve are taken three times as frequently as members of other age groups.  While no one has been cured of the plague, all patients who have been seen are issued a bottle of vitamins, a ration card, clean, green jumpsuits with neat, flexible nameplates attached to both breast pockets, and soft slippers after being examined by "Doc-Bots" and cleaning themselves in private bathrooms that are closed for decontamination after every use.  Every child is given a cuddly toy of some sort.  Regarding these toys, there are fourteen different models that are distributed  Every elderly person is offered a complimentary mobility assistance unit to help them move about.  Prescriptions are refilled, within reason, upon request.  Classic movies play on holographic projections.  The movies are switched out as people enter and exit the facility to appeal to different demographics and keep morale high.  Every movie has a refreshingly optimistic message.  Soothing, classical music is piped throughout the facility.  Humans remain on the first floor for the duration of their visit.  Other species are taken to different floors based on similarities in their respective anatomies.  Each floor is equipped with a small cafeteria catering to a particular set of species.  Sedatives and aromatic, hypoallergenic incense is mixed with the air that flows through each floor.  No one who ventures across the skybridge below which the squadron of House Glasmann fighters idle ever returns to the "Hibernation Facility."

Initially, patients divert little attention to the smaller, secondary complex.  It is, after all, eclipsed by the massive, primary treatment facility.  Only when a shrill cry echoes across the skybridge do patients remaining in the primary facility for the whole of their stay care to examine it in greater detail.  Finding nothing suspicious aside from the horrible din the robots swiftly silenced, most turn their drug-addled minds to other matters, like staring in childish wonder at the holographic projections or snuggling... children's... toys.

Whatever it was that just occurred had far-reaching consequences.  Still, all persons who are not in need of medical care, Terrenus Military personnel included, have been implored to refrain from treading on property within Glasmann Cryonic's defensive perimeter.  Despite the first shift of security robots returning to charging stations near the secondary complex, the number of robotic guards stationed at the outskirts of the property, near the entrance of the "Hiberation Facility," near the entrance to the primary facility, and near the canteen and hygiene stations Glasmann Cryonics constructed just outside of their defensive perimeter to meet their general humanitarian aid mission has doubled since the sun set.

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Crumpling plastic is the only sound next to the shifting of organic material in the palm of her hand, that Capria emits. Despite the repeated push and pluck of her fingers against the mixed pile of seeds and dried fruit poured from a small package clasped by the opposing palm plus three fingers she is relatively silent. Every so often a pumpkin or sunflower seed, already released from the shell that had at some point confined them, is freed and placed between the shadowy part of her lips. Not so much chewed as they are swallowed.

Concerning many areas in her line of work, her entrance onto the scene is neither flashy nor is it entirely unexpected. Like the omittance of information contained in her file, possibly along with the black highlights scattered throughout, there is no statement to convey the reason her presence might be necessary. Other than that there is an issue continuing to spiral out of control; contained or otherwise. The multitude of bodies moving around her in their constant preparation for transitioning into and out of the uncontaminated zone does not seem to phase her.UZ7K9Bh.jpg?1

Propped on a container, one leg crossed over the other at the knees. Her form shrunken due to the lean of her elbows against the edge of her thigh just above the bent hinge of said knee. All the pressure, if any, resting in a tier of elbows on knee, on knee. Her forward lean lacking motivation and menace. But, the extreme silence of her physical compulsions and severe concentration enough to ward others off. If they manage to notice her at all. With the light of the sun missing from overhead, intermittent lighting does little to convey the length of shadow she cast from the top of her head and cast out across the ground.

Suddenly, as if roused by an alarm, she’s sliding from the container and walking across the ground. The dried food in her head tossed for the birds, the plastic package still containing the rest of its contents no longer in the other hand. Having disappeared into the shadows of her coat. Startled by the movement those walking past her look at her confusedly before continuing about their business. Strange as she may be she doesn’t take a moment to say a word of excuse or attempt any of greeting. The direction of her frame saying more than the emittance syllables can provide.Capria’s current direction being that of the overly large complex while viewing the smaller more shaded by its might secondary complex. Keeping it in the forefront of her mind. Every texture of its architecture, its doors, windows, and any personnel coming or going from the edges she can see without laying her full attention on it.

As she steps into a shadow the breakaway of obsidian to match it breaks away following that line of thought rather than trailing after her.

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"I hate it when I have to work with either of you," The woman known as the Maiden Ravenbush or just plain 'Shishi' spitefully sneered. This was one of the moments that she had greatly despised yet unable to escape from it because it is a necessary evil. She did not expect that her lofty goal of helping the poor people of Casper would be similar to the goals of two other people but for entirely different reasons. Definitely not a good reason.

"Shishi, trust me. I gave you my word that I shall assist you in this endeavor. You know that I was always a woman of my word, and I would rather die than go back on it." The other woman spoke. She was the infamous Holly Sheathe, a minor noble from the lands of Ursa Madeum. A vagabond vigilante that is mostly present when things go bad. Like in Casper.

"Eh? Why keep me out of the loop, Shishi? You know that I hold the answer to curing this plague as well. Just ask the legendary artifact Baoi." So spoke the last woman in this trio of female characters. She was the illusive Madame Linda Linda. A woman barely anyone knew but had the gall and audacity to shove herself into everyone's business without consent. Also because she had recently claimed the legendary artifact Baoi, a blade that can overcome even death itself, has insane powers of healing and can supposedly cure any disease or expel any curse. The Madame's presence here means that there might be a way to create a cure for the plague.

These three women were sashaying inside the streets of Casper on their way to wherever the Glasmann people are. They had heard whispers that Cae was working on a cure so the three stooges had unanimously agreed that it would benefit each of them greatly if they helped one way or another.

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All units, the infected have breached containment.  Caeceila Glasmann, Project Lead, has issued a facility-wide cleanse order.  Alpha Contingency is in effect.  Alpha Contingency is in effect.  All units, the infected have breached containment.  Caeceila Glasmann, Project Lead, has issued a facility-wide cleanse order.  Alpha Contingency is in effect.  Alpha Contingency is in effect.

Use of deadly force is authorized for all security teams.  Terminate all lifeforms approaching your posts.  Glasmann Elites are exempt from the cleanse order and have been automatically tagged on your SmartSurgery HUD Version 3.1.  Due to the apocalyptic potential of this pandemic, all personnel who (1) are not tagged and (2) are unaccounted for are subject to voluntary quarantine or mandatory termination.  Facility surveillance reports that zero personnel are currently unaccounted for.

Take no risks.  Assume any subsequent communications on an open channel are misdirection.  Observe Alpha Contingency protocols in all forthcoming transactions.

It was the distillation of a dream, this panacea Glasmann Cryonics sought to concoct, though the still was diabolically incongruous with terrene machines of comparable form and function and the condensate they so tidily siphoned was putrid tar that slithered across the tongue and writhed in the gut.  The uninitiated could not conceive the paradigm-displacing convolutions by which the infernal still transmuted volatile chemicals, in godless, exacting cycles, into a semi-fluid treatment, however unpalatable, for the worst of Terrenus's afflictions, yet here they are, muddling a house where everything is invariably in order, sniffing out blood when they themselves reek of it.  The scope of this operation encompassed powers well beyond their ken, and their perception of its surreal workings would be stained by an aversion to the warped reality dwelling in the shadows mortals instinctively shun.

A cursory examination of the zone divulges no earth-shattering truth.  There is, admittedly, a lull in the shuffling concourse of plague victims transitioning to and from the primary care facility, but the sedate handful of patients exiting the hospital are, physically, no worse for wear.  Mentally, these patients exhibit childlike docility, conforming to the decrees of their robotic handlers without question or delay.  It is peculiar, perhaps, that Glasmann Cryonics engineered this hospital with a permanent chemical dispersal system, but it would not strike anyone as an irrational decision, taking into consideration the substance that halted the progression of the disease Glasmann Cryonics is tasked with combating and the vehicle by which both the plague and the inhibitor were delivered to the populace.

Conversely, inspection of the secondary facility, hereafter referred to as the Glass House, yields tantalizing fruit.  First and foremost, not a soul has accessed this facility except by means of the skybridge or, ostensibly, the rigid, armored excursion tubes mounted on the docking ports of the fleet of House Glasmann airships.  The only footprints in the dust belong to a platoon of com-bots patrolling the perimeter of the structure.  It should be evident that the Glass House is not an overflow medical care facility, yet there is no signage posted in proximity to the Glass House which so much as hints at its purpose.  Secondly, and alarmingly, the com-bots drawing power from the charging stations are not deactivated; they aren't even on standby.  When Capria's shade slips dangerously close to the sealed, sliding gate of the Glass House (for there is, surprisingly, a entrance to be found), it may observe that several of the "charging" com-bots have aimed sophisticated magitech canons that pulse with unnerving red light, fed directly from their respective charging stations, at the gate two more com-bots, none of which are visible from the path patients are restricted to, make a show of guarding.  Beyond the line of charging stations and robotic guards is a conspicuously untrodden aisle of earth wrapping around the windowless building.  It extends no more than six feet from the building flat-wise.  Within the boundary of said aisle, to the left of the gate, is a no-frills, military-grade access panel manufactured by a publicly-traded corporation in Hell's Gate.  It is properly labeled, but the "digital" screen emits no light.

A solitary robot, a floating, silver-eyed orb, impedes Capria as she, unbidden by Glasmann Cryonics, advances on the primary care facility.  It plants itself smack dab in front of her; she may bump into it if her concentration is elsewhere.  This is the first silver-eyed orb that has strayed from the interior of the facility.  Seconds thereafter, five others soar past, destined for the Hibernation Facility.  After bobbing in greeting, the orb strikes up a conversation with her in a soothing, androgynous voice.

WATCHDOG interface initialized.

Good evening, patient.  You are speaking with 'Connie 0001 - Mark IV.'  Glasmann Cryonics regrets to inform you that, due to an outbreak of NECROMANTIC PLAGUE, we are unable to offer you immediate medical treatment.  Please return to the HIBERNATION FACILITY and await further instructions.

Shishi, Holly, and Madame Linda Linda arrive at the outskirts of the camp Glasmann Cryonics established for humanitarian relief efforts, including care of plague-ridden individuals.  A golden-eyed orb, stationed in front of two divergent gravel routes, welcomes them to the relatively generic encampment in a tinny voice and prompts them to follow the route to its left, a route leading, it appears, to a crowded canteen where complementary meals and lodgings are being offered to all healthy citizens of Casper.  The route to its right leads to the Hibernation Facility, washrooms, and ultimately a treatment facility for the infected.  Every line visible to the left and to the right appears to be particularly problematic for those hoping for expedient entry to the encampment.  The bots at this entry point are terribly understaffed, and there don't appear to be any spares except for the com-bots that ominously patrol the common areas at regular intervals.  Some of the com-bots have been reassigned, and are loading and unloading various supplies in the background.  These com-bots aren't visibly armed, and they play uplifting songs, audible from the entrance, if only faintly, over the drone of the masses, as they accomplish their tasks.

As it perceives that Madame Linda Linda is visibly armed, the sphere slides to its right, partially blocking the route Shishi, Holly, and Madame Linda Linda should follow if they wish to reach the primary medical facility.  By default, the sphere does not explain why it has done so.

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