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Adime sat down at the bar. The pub he found after stumbling about Banyan square, in sight but not reach of the eponymous tree.

"Here's the game I want to play." Adime addressed the bartender apropos of nothing as the bartender just happened to be passing by. “I call it 'the tritone ladder'. Nice name right? What it basically means is you give me a shot of your bottom shelf liquor, then a shot of your middle shelf, then the top shelf. Then we do it again, moving on down the line, until at the end of the night you and I have collaborated on a fucking symphony."

Adime slammed his hand on the countertop, revealing the glimmer of gold when he took it away. The pause between the two events gave one the impression that Adime had a flair for the dramatic, and he did, but this was more about the split-second of confusion that came with seeing a hand that wasn't his attached to an arm that wasn't his, and so on. He had to prompt himself into remembering that this was a borrowed body, that even the body against which he compared this body was a borrowed body. He wasn't really Adime, and Adime wasn't really a person; he was just a splinter of a splinter.

It was a half hour of this, a stream of shots interrupted by the occasional order of chicken wings and fried cheese sticks; this was not a man who intended to live a very long life, by the looks of it.  

Edited by supernal

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Just a month or two after the supposed assassination of Governor Sebastian Heiliger with little more than a peep from his office since, Lunaris was in something of a subdued uproar. People’s lips had finally gave way to worry; their conversation drifting from hopeful distraction to genuine concern that something in their power structure had broken to an unknown threat. These times were a bridge from more certain days of expansion to days when, in some places, the very breathing air grew thick with the tension of ‘what if’s. It was perfect weather for Gore.

He came from the Blue Hills, a misplaced ranger in appearance. He walked with a crooked gait, like he had a bad left leg in brown pants, long brown brim swaying easy to the left then hard to the right, easy to the left and hard to the right, with each step. His smile was genuine, his greyish green eyes lingering just above the line of shadow on the bridge of his nose, and where it looked like he should wear a longcoat, he wore a bulging black bomber jacket with his hands stuffed in the pockets.

A slant of light opened up in Adime’s bar, and just something about the way Gore stood there looked self-sure. His hat, his bomber, his boots. Self-sure certainly wasn't an inaccurate descriptor for Gore, but looking through Gore’s eyes was also like wearing a pair of beer goggles. It may appear, if lingering on the back of his head, there was a red string hanging from under Gore’s hat, but in fact that was just a string of brain matter. Under that hat, there was a chunk of skull missing where Gore had once been hit with a bat. Hit real good.

Scanning across the room, he found the guy wearing cheesesteak on his face and let out a hearty laugh. Two arachnid masters peeked one of endless myriad eyes on each other. On that day, it seemed, two splinters had walked into a bar at the same time. Two splinters who, in their most primeval lives, might once have met.

It was, at the very least, with knowing that they saw one another. Gore limped to the bar and sat two seats down from Adime.

“Three shots of your best tequila,” said Gore, ignoring the bartender with his foggy eyes and leaning his right elbow on the table to look at Adime. “D’I know you?”

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The contemplative sound gurgled out of Adime's throat, because he made the sound at the same time as he knocked back his tenth shot. By the looks of him the bartender was duly impressed, and was even now gravitating towards a mop and bucket, in full preparation of the customer puking his guts and stomach lining out onto the countertop.

"I'd say chances are pretty good." Adime said, words crisp, diction clear as day. "Gimme a sec."

He got up. At first blush he seemed a little uncertain, a little like a newborn something-or-other stumbling itself straight, but at second glance he walked as steady as a sailor on a docked ship. Adime made his way to the back, where the bathrooms were. On the way he stopped by the table ringed with drunkards, tapped the shoulder of . . . not quite the largest man there, but he was plenty hefty, and then when the man turned to look at him, Adime whispered something into his ear. It was only three seconds worth of whispering, but each one saw shadows of incalculable rage deepening the creases, the scars, of the bruiser's face. He got up and followed Adime into the backroom.

Noises followed – worrisome to a few, familiar to others. The bruiser came out of the back room. He passed by his table, waving them down when a few of them got up to cheers him on a job well done and a rude stranger properly trounced, and the bruiser kept walking until he was at the bar. He took Adime's seat next to Gore, and addressed the man in kind.

"Say mister, you sure got a familiar face." A different face, a different voice, but behind the layers was Adime's cadence; behind the substratum of Adime was the same Endless, squirming and puppeteering as it always had and always would.

"I don't think they got any autowagons around here. Real bummer. Maybe we just saddle up on the sleekest looking steeds or? I dunno. Maybe we just start right here?"

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 "Gimme a sec."

Three sounds of Gore’s respective shots clicked on the bar as Adime ventured toward the gents. Gore turned his head at an awkward angle to watch until Adime and his next surrogate went into the washroom. Gore knew Adime in the same way Nica Sero had once known a man named Braykel. Now, with a nominally greater understanding between the two, when their motives could be sewn together, why shouldn’t they be? 

While the guys a few tables down waited to congratulate their friend, Gore turned back to his drinks. Grabbing all three between his four fingers, he poured an impressive waterfall of tequila into his mouth. Guess we start now, he thought as the new Adime met his old friends with an unconvincing wave before returning to sit beside one of two men who had just challenged their buddy. Half curious, half suspicious, the group rose from the table in various forms and degrees of conjecture with their friend’s new gait, and his new friend. The bruiser seated himself beside Gore, whose chin dripped with liquor while he felt his bomber assumably for the tab for his drinks, bartender standing in anticipation for this tab across the counter.

"I don't think they got any autowagons around here. Real bummer,” he said as some of the bruiser’s old friends got the cajones to see what was up. Little did they know, Gore imagined, they would probably soon resemble the crumpled drunk in the bathroom with cheesesteak on his face.

“Th-a-a-at is a bummer, ah-ha!” belched Gore, homing in on the spot he was looking for and reaching into his bomber. 

“Maybe we just saddle up on the sleekest looking steeds or? I dunno. Maybe we just start right here?"

“I reck’n that’s the way to do it.” 

Now the bruiser’s friends had gathered behind Adime. One tapped him on the shoulder, not too aggressively.

“Buddy, what’s up? What happened in there?”

In front of Adime, Gore withdrew not the tab for his drinks but a sawed-off Mossburg 500. Thunking it on the table pointed toward the bartender, Gore pulled the trigger and blasted the barkeep 2 feet backward into the glass shelves of drinks on the back wall of the bar. He had never been feeling for cash— after all, dead men pay no sales (or something like that).

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Adime widened his eyes and raised his eyebrows in a perfectly ersatz facsimile of surprise. He turned this caricature of shock towards the 'friend' who tapped him on the shoulder, unblinking even as Gore emptied a bag of buckshot into the bartender's chest and crashed him bodily through his own wares. The 'friend' was now shocked himself, looked to Gore, then back to Adime only to find Adime vaulting the countertop and landing on the other side. He looked back to Gore, hands scrambling for one of the weapons hidden on his body, friends in the short distance rising while the rest of the crowd rippled towards the door.

The 'friend' looked back to Gore in time to catch the second of two shotgun barrels.

What Adime wanted to do was make an incendiary cocktail. If he had the proper ingredients, an accelerant like petrol and something sticky like oil or tar, then he could fabricate a stopgap alchemist fire and have this place reduced to glowing embers. Unfortunately all he had at his disposal was alcohol. It wasn't what he dreamed of but would do in a pinch. He grabbed an armful of the rotgut, bottom shelf liquor and broke it over the counter, over the faces of anyone who happened to be within reach; he went back for the middle shelf stuff and started chucking it towards the floor; the top shelf stuff joined its brothers, save for the bottle or two Adime took for swigging.

Something like one in every three Taen citizens were combat competent. In a crowd of toughs like the bar served, that was probably closer to two-thirds. But not everyone that came to the bar for a drink and a bowl full of nuts was also willing to stake their lives defending it. The guards, sure. They were being paid a wage, and had their professional reputation to worry about. The cops? Of course. When they eventually (no autowagons) found their way to the bar, violent action was almost a bygone conclusion. But other than the guards, Adime's new host body's friends, and a trickle of others who just couldn't abide a sour day, most people were making their way out of the bar.

And that was before thin ribbons of flame fattened and started roaring as they climbed up the walls and across the ceiling.

Adime was taking this time to crack open the cash box to fund the rest of the night, and he was laughing while he did so.  

"Some like it hot buddy, I sure know I do!"

Edited by supernal

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Gore’s smokey cackle cracked out at the death, at fear as Mr. Bartender gurgled his last breaths and the tavern’s patronage recoiled collectively. Like an abuser’s hand when the abused flinches away, he lifted his chin at their reaction. Pivoting his forearm on his elbow, exercising terrible muzzle awareness as Adime leapt across-range, Gore brought his second barrel hollering soon as Adime was across. This, unlike the last chestborn shot, splashed into the nearest gent and sent him falling back like a used up party popper. 

Nobody was so inebriated that they hadn’t counted Gore’s two shots. Not even Adime. He wasn’t sure how something like Adime felt substances, but the way Gore’s network worked, he was allowed to feel as much of that as he wanted. As much of his nervous system as was required, as long as the room that possessed his power source and the power source itself existed, Gore could be powered up or powered down in various capacities. The downfall of his side of their paradigm was that Gore couldn’t employ his own little Gores or even easily switch bodies. There was a bloodclot somewhere inside Gore that manipulated his body, kept him alive, bled the blueprints into his system that dictated he act in such ways. He could supposedly plunge that bloodclot into somebody else, but its gestation period against their consciousness would take a few minutes. What’s more, Gore wouldn’t typically have to be but was being consciously controlled at the moment. Afterall, what villain wouldn’t want partake in the sodom and gomorrah that was Adime and Gore?

Clem, the man with no head, fell before his friends. Except their initial shock from seeing the bartender blown away had numbed the second blow. Of all them, strangely, Adime had chosen about the second-biggest. Well, now the biggest shouldered past his fallen comrade in an undoubtable act of selfless bravery. Selfless bravery, and stupid.

Gore laughed at stupid, selfless bravery too!

He whipped open his bomber with the zzt! of its zipper. Gore was strung with an “X” of bulletloops packed with shells. Underneath he wore a brown rancher’s shirt spattered with dried brown. It seemed to have poured from a gruesome scar across Gore’s neck that had never been stitched, but seemed simply crusted shut. His appearance gave the big man a second pause— a second too long, too. Also across his hips were two belts, one with a holstered revolver and one with a footlong Ka-Bar. Gore plunged it into the guy’s solar plexus in the forehand grip, jerking downward once and watching his third victim’s guts spill out all over the hardwood through his pelvic floor. The dexterity of a puppet was funny. When you wield a million limbs, what becomes of a simple one-human dual-wield? The rest of the bruiser’s friends ran for the door, proving smarter than they were brave, Gore having dispatched of three men without even unpropping his elbow from the counter.

Meanwhile, Adime was smashing bottles on peoples’ heads. Gore held a hand out, and instead of a bottle smashing anywhere Adime plopped a bottle in his hand with the same motion he’d been using to smash others. Biting its cork off through the aluminum wrapper of an unopened bottle, Gore lost a tooth but didn’t seem to notice. He set the bottle down on the bar as the wood burst into flames, elbow leaning unabashedly while he loaded some shells into his shotty. Soon the heat would be enough that any reasonable gunman would avoid them laced with so many shells. But, just as it seemed unwise for him to linger and Adime had collected their cash, Gore swept the bottle off the counter and they headed for the door.

From upstairs there came three women in a hurry to get dressed and one man, holding his pants to his naked crotch as the four tried to escape the bar down a staircase descending the doorward wall of the tavern. Gore unleashed one more wad from his sawed-off, blasting the guy into the wall as the ladies ran naked into the street before the flaming building and fluttered off like doves before two desperadoes. Gore could have done something like grab one by the hair, take her for ransom. The thing was, as he looked at the frightened women, he felt something different than the alien Adime must feel. Something too personal to betray. Therein laid the true difference in their paradigm.

The alien and the predator stalked into the streets, where a crowd was still more dispersing away than there was gathering in. Adime and Gore could slip through that, Gore tucking the weapons into their holsters and putting his hands in his pockets. He didn’t have to zip up the bomber as long as he just held it shut with his hands in the pockets.

“How much skrill you got?” said Gore, suddenly smoking a fat cigar that seemed to materialize out of nowhere.

“Hey, where’s my cigar? I was just smoking it,” said a fat mafioso behind them.

“You ever heard of the Mil Dot?” asked Gore as they cleared the back of the crowd, puffing out a giant cloud of bitter and sweet smells.

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Adime grabbed handfuls of the bar's legal tender, shoving them into his pockets, throwing them at Gore to do the same.

Most of it was in the way of gold coins, these weren't the kind of clientele to pay for their hooch in rhodium. The silver and copper he left behind to melt for all he cared. As the flames rose higher and the wood started creaking and cracking and groaning with its continuous loss of integrity and the burden of maintaining the roof, Adime's last two acts were to grab two more bottles of the good stuff and to loot the bodies of his host's friend for the small array of weapons he never got the chance to put into action.

Among the items were a machine pistol (think automatic handgun) with banana magazines (think bigass magazines), a dried up and fleshless monkey's paw (remote shocking grasp), and a forked diviner's rod (shield). Adime quickly hid these on his person and he and Gore broke into the street just as the windows on the bar's second floor started shattering from the heat, sprinkling glimmering shards of glass onto the pavement.

"I dunno. A coupla pounds of gold (Approx. 2000 USD) I guess. Juuust enough to get the night started."

Behind them, a flaming exclamatory of how these two started nights, a climbing pillar of flame that looked like a red, angry exclamation point(!).

Adime handed off a bottle to Gore, claimed the cigar on the way back, and took a few puffs of it himself. He tried it both ways, rolling the smoke around his mouth for the flavor, and inhaling the toxic cloud for a buzz; the latter of which gave him a bright idea. As he spoke, he kept putting distance between them and the act of their crime. It had only been a few minutes of chaos, all told and considered. He couldn't imagine a response time fast enough to put them in danger, not without a dropship of cops hovering overhead in a masterstroke of serendipity, but there was no reason to stick around. They were done with that and it was on to the next.

"Yeah I heard of it. I keep forgetting these things work solid around here." At 'these things', Adime brought out the machine pistol, waved it in the air, and put it back in his belt, covering it with his shirt. The few people who happened to be walking the streets, their eyes drawn this way because of the fire and emergency response, might have been alarmed by such a casual display. But given how many of them were accustomed to the sight of weapons due to their training, a sight which could only have proliferated after the Mil Dot made its mark, maybe not.

"I'd rather go to Mortimer's though and see what kinda buzzworthy items they might have in stock. If nothing for us, maybe a sweet treat for the ladies. The only thing that pulls tail better than money is – " Here Adime pantomimed smoking, snorting, and drinking, in that order. "Besides they're less likely to have the means to put one right between the eyes. That's the kind of fun I like to have at the end of a night, not the beginning."

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Gore’s hands made like Hungry-Hungry Hippos as the gold coins scattered across the flaming bar to him, grabbing coins and flames alike with careless abandon. Gore laughed at scattering coins too. He laughed at a lot because, today, there was just so much to laugh about. One flask-sized bottle in his left pocket, both jangling with change, Gore swapped the cigar for Adime’s bottle. He put down almost a third of it in one series of chugs. Gore was about to be so drunk that even the proverbial Jesus to his wheel would have to have some tolerance to drunkenness to control his wasted ass (luckily, this Jesus had more than his fair share of wine behind him).

With their doorway into chaos smoldering on Veluriyam’s face from whatever realm’s sky this ways, the devils walked side by side as old compadres tempered in subversion and deceit. The desperados broke the back of the crowd with nary a word of protest. Gore zipped up his jacket to cover the- well, the gore. And the bullets. Gore zipped up his jacket to cover the gore and the bullets so he could use both hands freely. Trading the bottle for the cigar again and biting it, he pushed a finger into his ear in an unnecessary but trained gesture of awkward humor.

“Mortimer’s, eh? Funny thing, that.” Gore looked at the black earwax under his fingernail, scraping it off on his thumb and flicking it away. The cool afternoon swept a breeze down the avenue and sent people coughing away from the tavern behind them. Gore and his frankly enjoyed the smell of burning wood and flesh. “Mortimer’s belongs to a friend of mine now. After ol’ Morty kicked the bucket, my guy decided to capitalize. In a real cash cash way, too. There is a guy from old Morty’s lab who wasn’t down though,” said Gore, puffing doubly on the smoke blowing over them and the cigar.

“Fuckin’ David," Gore's voice sounded muffled by the whiskey-tinged smoke pluming thickly from between his crackingly dry lips. He’s got his own pharmacy. I vote we hit up David’s. More fun that way. This way,” said Gore, nodding his slit neck to the right down an alley. His head looked like it almost fell right off. The two headed into the darkness, shoulder to shoulder like good friends. About halfway to the light at the end of the alley, Hey! came a voice from behind them. Gore didn’t stop walking. Didn’t even flinch.

“Go home, Timmy!” he cackled. “‘Fore I toss ya down the well.”  The sound of a pistol being cocked clicked through the grey light behind them. Gore still didn’t stop. He spoke in a vague wish-wash of country and pirate. “C’n I get that bottle, matey?”

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"Okay okay. David, Morty, Jeffy the Fuck, whatever. I don't need a whole encyclopedia length history lesson. I just want to score some pulverized fairy wings or whatever the hottest new shit is, and start tearing it uuuuupppp!

"You know the way . . .  or? Like is it in the same place, or?"

Gore, who had never stopped talking so that the two men were in a constant competition of sound with one another, nodded his partially decapitated head in one direction, and in that direction the duo went. They were verbally accosted just as Adime tilted the bottle up and gulped a fifth of it down, and the click of a pistol hammer being cocked back rebounded through the narrow alleyway as Adime brought the bottle back down and turned to face the silhouette in the short distance.

"Okay fella. Hold on now." Adime handed the bottle off to Gore, waved his hand as if he were dismissing even the possibility of reclaiming it. "There's no reason to get all out of shape, I was just out here with my body, and all I was doing was –"

Adime dropped to one knee, lurched to one side. The other guy was tense, paranoid even, and he fired as soon as he saw Adime move. But in those precious moments where Adime was drawing time out with filibuster, the entity inside of him was flooding his body with high-performance chemicals. His night-vision sharpened acutely, the nerves in his muscles fired at optimized rates, his reflexes were pushing against their maximum threshold with nonchalance. Adime dodged where the bullet was going to be before Timmy's eyes tracked his dark, indistinct figure.

His own machine pistol came up and fired a hot line of repeating metal in a horizontal line across Timmy's torso, peppering his organs and damn near sawing him in half. While the man was coughing and gasping and groaning, Adime sprinted at him with Olympian speed, closing the distance far too quickly.

"Hah! Hahaha!" Each ha punctuated by the sound of bullets firing as he emptied the remainder of the clip into Timmy's face.

Adime claimed the man's revolver and the two moon clips he had on his person and was on his way back to Gore, the entity inside of him flooding the body with counters to the adrenaline and dopamine, to bring him back down without a crash.

"I'm hungry. Those bullets are going to draw sirens. Let's get some grub on the way to, or at, little dick Davy's place."

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There was a short pause between the twos’ interruptive montage and Timmy’s exclamation. In this short pause, Gore chuckled an indication that he had still caught Adime’s words.

“Your mom knows the way.”

Then came Timmy, then turned Adime, then Timmy died. Emptying the bottle until just a third was left, Gore looked down and to the left. Adime was right, the bullets would draw people here. The body might even lead them down this alley. There was a toothless homeless guy lying in the trash, nearby staring petrified at what had just happened.

“Hey,” said Gore. The homeless guy looked up as Gore handed him the bottle, pointing in the opposite direction we were headed. “Anyone comes this way, tell ‘em we went that way.”

Taking the bottle, pants probably full of fearful shit and piss, the hobo nodded profusely, and Adime and Gore were off.

“Yeah yeah, just let me get a piece of him first,” said Gore to Adime’s statement about the Mr. Little Dick as they approached the pharmacy called David’s. The bell to a pharmacy nearby dinged as Adime and Gore walked in; of the 6 pharmacists employed at David’s, there was a pubescent young adult man behind the counter. This place kept drugs like strong cough medicines and cures to some biomagical diseases, but all the good stuff was behind the counter. There was even Yh’mi cocaine back there.

“DAVID!” shout-laughed the drunken Gore from the counter. The pimply guy had no idea who the cowboy looking gentleman was shouting, but he was young and dumb enough not to run. Gore strolled up to the counter with the cigar in his mouth.

“Sir, I’m really sorry but you’re not allowed to smoke in here,” said the timid clerk.

Gore got up on the counter almost clumsily, pushing up on his hands until he got his knees up there and THEN standing. But once he was up there, he kicked the register away and, before the shocked clerk could get away, got him in the chin with the follow-through of his foot. The young guy hit his ass just as Gore landed with one foot on either side and wrenched him up by the collar. Smacking him twice, jamming the barrel of a pistol in the nape of his rapidly swelling chin, ash from the cigar falling on his face, Gore accosted him with whiskey spittle and vapor.

“Where’s the coke, kid?”

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When he fell to the ground as a consequence of being kicked in the chin, the clerk looked more shocked than hurt. The sting of the pain, the suddenness of it, put him into a state of minor shock. He continued wearing the puzzled expression even as Gore hauled him to his feet.


He got smacked in the mouth. Now the shock was turning into indignation. The clerk found his footing, put his arms between their bodies, made to pull away as he pushed Gore back. Gore held him tight.

"Please." And smacked him again, this time with the butt of his gun. Now the clerk had a busted lip and a loose tooth. He loosed a thick wad of spit and blood onto the floor and looked Gore in the eyes, the picture coming into full resolution now. He got it in full – earlier today life was about eating oatmeal to make sure he got enough fiber, and now life was about doing what he had to do and saying what he had to say to stay alive and make it home. He was paid to receive deliveries, take inventory, sell product, and answer customer questions. He was not paid to lose his life for someone else's wares.

"All of it's in the back. The key is on a rope around my neck." He paused, then brought his hand up very, very slow to fish the lanyard out, pull it over his hand, and hand it to Gore. "That and the combo, 32 right, 50 left, 28 right."

Adime had given up on trying to get the register open through conventional means. He took Timmy's big caliber revolver, aimed it at the box, and shot the lock out. The metal drawer splintered, showering Adime's face with shrapnel and rendering one of his eyes completely useless. Sclera mixed with blood oozed down his face. Adime didn't even bother wiping it. He gathered the cash, walked over to Gore and the clerk, and put it on the table. Then put his guns on the table as well as anything else he had in his pockets. He leapt over the counter and put his hands on the clerk.

To Gore, "You raid the cookie jar. Let me have a private conversation with this one."  

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Ambient piano music tinkled through the small establishment’s speakers above the violent armed battery. Gore’s force accompanied his manners well, the kid snapping to and realizing who he was dealing with. The thing was, guys like Gore weren’t used to people folding so easy. He had to smack the kid back into consciousness just to be nice. Stealing stuff from safes was like taking candy from a baby for Gore. Combo memorized in the blasted out brains underneath his hat, Gore gave a sardonic “Haha damn!” at Adime’s eye before holstering his weapon and waltzing for the thick door with a rotating wheel lock next to a combination wheel Gore had a good idea what was gonna happen to the kid. Things were taking off fucking swimmingly. David’s unfortunate young employee was none of his concern. What was his concern…

Fancily clicking open the glass door while Adime placed the contents of his pockets on the counter, Gore turned dials on the radio so that, instead of soft piano, blaring metal music rared through the speakers. The sounds of hardcore punk music blared over the sound of anything happening behind that counter. Fingering the safe open, exhaling all the way, and taking as big a drag off the black cigar as Gore’s lungs could handle— acrid puffs venting through the crusty slit in his neck— Gore spit the cigar aside and entered a veritable supermall of drugs organized front to back, left to right, up to down, alphabetically. Strolling to “C” as the cries of fear began from where Adime and his next host were, Gore thrust his Ka-Bar into the nearest brick of pure Yh’mi blow and spooned out a pile along the topside of the footlong blade.

He pressed his nose to the hilt of his blade and railed almost 4 grams of white china up his right nostril while simultaneously gutting the entire left side of his face. Blood and white caked on his face, and while the clerk yelled, so did Gore.


Now he could get to business!! Gore ran out of the safe, skip-hopping on his one week earlier broken-then-healed left leg to turn the corner. Pain buzzed up his leg but was cut off by the tingling numb crawling across his body from the nose. One, two, three, four, five plastic bags he dapped off the roller before jetting back into the safe to load up on perks, zones,  zips, zops, and of course cocaine. 

Coming out of the safe, flask in his pocket, carrying all the bags on his arms like a man determined to make one trip does groceries, Gore headed for the pharmacy drive-thru window, sparta-kicking it open and getting his leg stuck in the opening.

“Got dammit!”

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While Gore was collecting armfuls of primo powder, Adime was changing suits. The clerk struggled valiantly for a few seconds, but his body wasn't not fashioned after a warrior fashion, and Adime was capable of pushing his host beyond quotidian limitations; pain was a figment to the host, whose muscles could exert such tremendous force as to stress fracture his own bones. Imagine what he could do to the clerk.

They kissed. His new host didn't want to but Adime didn't care. Adime got what he wanted, and as long as Adime was happy what did it matter what anyone else thought or felt? The clerk's pursed lips were like tissue paper to Adime's prying tentacles, and in an instant he swam from one esophagus to the other, settling into the clerk's core and lancing his interior with neuro-chemical probes which made of his body a puppet. Gore probably heard some glass breaking from their struggle but it wouldn't distract him from his holy mission. By the time Gore returned, Adime was in his new body, dusting off bits of debris from his shoulders and pants legs, and picking up items and weapons from the counter.

The only thing he didn't take was the machine pistol and its extra clip. Instead he placed them in the hands of his old host, now a traumatized corpse with liquefied organs which would obscure the traces of Adime's presence. That'd keep the cops guessing. Maybe they'd figure it out in the end, maybe, but any amount of wasted resource and manpower was welcome. Whatever the reprisal from Taen, it was going to cost them.

Adime picked through the pharmacy's wares, looking for ingredients to cobble together something like alchemist's fire, or maybe some mustard gas, but they were severely understocked on those items. So he took a bag of building block pharmaceuticals that Adime, the entity inside of the host, could use as a base to synthesize some sort of aerosol.

He looked up from the remaining pieces of his work when a sharp snap cracked the air, and saw Gore stuck in the door. Laughing as he vaulted the counter, as he skipped to the door, as he aimed a well-placed kick at the door knob rather than the base, he kicked the shit wide open.

"You're a really funny guy. I like that about you."

Across the street were a few people. They had seen what Adime would estimate as 'far too much'. The clerk's meat-puppet body waved at them from across the street. They looked at his hand, horrified to see a pistol in it.

"Naw it's okay there's no problem. I work here, so you all can just fuck off and go home!"

He turned back to Gore and began making his way down the street; behind them the ransacked pharmacy and the body of a dead thug.

"There's a bank around here. Loooot of cash, loooooooot of people."

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