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Essence 6
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Forged, Part Five: Forged In Vengeance

06 Nov 2009, 20:21

Almost done. Just one conclusion bit left to write after this.

“This had better be good, Redhill.” Colonel Dillinger practically growled the statement as he strode into the research lab, still in the process of buttoning up his military jacket. “It is very, very late at night.”

“Good?” Redhill’s answering laugh had a trace of hysteria to it. “Interesting choice of words. No, it is not good.” He gestured to the row of screens in front of him. Dillinger followed his gaze with a frown. “We’ve lost them.”

“Lost who? The cameras are working…” Dillinger broke off abruptly, looking at the camera covering Kien Mak’s room, watched as the soldier went through the same pattern of breaths six times. “They’re looped?”

“Got it in one.” Redhill said with a shake of his head. “Someone looped the cameras. I noticed because I was following Cole’s progress, seeing if he was going to make it. He wasn’t, incidentally. Started raving and talking to himself, staggering into the medlab far too late to do anything about it… and then the whole system went haywire for about five minutes. We thought it was technical, and I started working on it, but... when it cleared, Cole was gone, Mak’s camera was looping, and most of our elites aren’t in their bunks. I took the liberty of having Sergeant Hammer bring down the two we can still find, and sent a squad to Mak’s room while I waited for you, but…”

“It was a good decision.” Dillinger reassured him, thinking furiously. Behind him, he heard the door swishing open as Hammer arrived, on cue, with his two charges. Black and Jackson. Interesting. “Every second counted in an emergency like this. Are there any other looping cameras?”

“No way to know without an in-depth study, if there’s no motion in them.” Redhill shrugged helplessly. Before he could say anything else, the lab’s comm system buzzed. Dillinger reached over, triggering it to the speakers.

“Report.” He said crisply.

“We’re on site, sir. Mak and Tate are present, and dead. There’s a hole in the wall – looks like someone really pounded someone else. No sign of Brooke or Cole.”

Redhill swore. “I don’t understand.”

“I may.” Dillinger said thoughtfully. Could his master have decided on a champion already? He turned his attention back to the speaker, raising his voice. “Secure the perimeter, and evacuate the clerical staff. Then arrange patrols.”

“Yes, sir!” The soldiers ran from the room, leaving only Hammer, Arland, Cameron and ten guards. Minutes passed, along with reports of more damaged or destroyed passages. Dillinger started to look more and more impatient.

“Where are they?” He growled. “I want them found!”

Before anyone could respond, the far wall of the lab imploded. Chunks of masonry and shattered steel cascaded across the room as Jamie Cole was propelled into it. Rolling along the ground as he landed, he looked up and grinned mischeviously as he wiped blood from his forehead. “Oh, hey. The gang’s all here. Cool.”

Stepping through the ruined hole she had made, Sarah Brooke glared at him, then glanced over. “Sir. I caught Cole trying to cover the murders of two of our fellow officers. I’ve been trying to…”

“Oh, shove it, Sarah!” Jamie yelled. “It’s too late for your games. You’re out of time.” He turned to Dillinger and saluted. “Sir, I would like to report an epiphany.”

For a moment, the entire room was still. Arland Black goggled at Jamie. “I didn’t think you even knew that word…” He mused.

“Didn’t. Until a few minutes ago, when I received an honest-to-god divine intervention.” Jamie smirked. “Project’s over. Mission accomplished.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Cole?” Sergeant Hammer was staring at Jamie with the same confusion as the rest of the staff. Quickly, Jamie glanced around the room. No one knew what he was talking about… except for Dillinger, who was appraising him. And Sarah’s furious expression could mean anything, really. How much had she figured out? With another shrug, he stalled for time.

“Just what I said. This whole project was a front. I think I’ve got it figured, now that I’m all divinely empowered and shit.” He said. “See, back in the day, divine heroes were hot stuff. Way stronger, faster, smarter, whatever than normal folks. But then we got technology, and superheroes, and… well, hell, every city’s got folks in it tougher than any god’s champions.” He looked insolently over at Dillinger. “Stop me when I stop making sense, sir.”

“Stop? You never started –” Arland Black began angrily. Dillinger waved him off.

“Continue.” He said.

“Alright. So you want to make a superhuman, then give them god powers. Way tougher than a normal superhuman, and able to take out whatever. And then you kill the leftover project members.” He gestured over to Arland and Cameron. “That’s you guys, by the way. Sucky position, but we’ll work through it.” As they stared at him, he shrugged. “I miss anything?”

“Not particularly.” Dillinger smiled triumphantly. “And how did you figure this out?”

“I told you. I’m divinely empowered, now. How do you think I survived Sarah’s little poisoning attempt – and incidentally, not telling me about that? Low, sir.”

“Hang on a minute.” Arland took a deep, angry breath, and grabbed Dillinger by the collar. Behind him, apparently convinced by the way Dillinger hadn’t even tried to refute the charges that they were expendable, Cameron had drawn his guns on the officers. “You think you’re going to toss us ahead? We’re loyal, man!”

“Everyone hang on a minute…” Jamie started.

“No need. We’re done here.” Dillinger nodded his head minutely, and Arland suddenly spasmed, releasing the colonel as he collapsed to the ground. Beside him, the same happened to Cameron, and Sarah collapsed into the rubble with a choked-off cry of rage. Dillinger looked to Jamie, who was looking around in shock. “The last test, Cole. Only actual divine empowerment could have removed the machines we attached to your brains.” He smiled grimly. “As you said, these three are now a liability.”

“Holy shit.” Jamie whispered. Around him, the soldiers were frozen, watching the unfolding drama. “That’s not cool, Colonel. They’re your men! Turn it off!”

“Turn it off?” Dillinger looked over at Doctor Redhill, who smirked back. “Even if I could do that, even if it weren’t already too late… our lord was very specific. All failures have to die.”

Jamie looked down at the ground, as Sarah shuddered and went still. When he spoke, his voice was strange. “Yeah. Yeah, I see how that works. Because they could still be chosen, only by other gods.”

“What?” Dillinger said suddenly, eyes narrowing.

“Oh, but he didn’t mention that to you, did he? That there were other options?” Jamie was trying to keep the anger out of his voice. “That this fancy process you were making, anyone could hijack it if they found the right person. Because he didn’t want you thinking there were others out there who were like him.” His smile looked more like a snarl than anything that had seen pleasure. “I never said it was Ares that chose me. Sir.”

“Guards!” Dillinger shouted, backing away and drawing his gun. “Take him down!”

The guards might not know what was happening, but they knew trouble. Two dozen guns rose simultaneously, drawing beads. Jamie was faster. As bullets began to rain down where he had been, he had already reached Dillinger. Leaning in, he added, “And one more thing. It was going to wait until everyone was out, but fuck it and fuck you.” He raised one hand, holding a remote detonator. “While Sarah and I were running back and forth across the complex fighting? I dropped bombs in the walls.”

The explosions drowned out any reply that might have been made.
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".
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Essence 8
Essence 8
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Re: Forged, Part Five: Forged In Vengeance

06 Nov 2009, 21:42

Good wrap up. I like it. Will be interesting to see how this finishes.
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Essence 10
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Re: Forged, Part Five: Forged In Vengeance

07 Nov 2009, 08:51

Hephestus will set you up th.... no, I can't finish that. So, revenge - how close a second is it for him to settle for it over saving them?
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Re: Forged, Part Five: Forged In Vengeance

07 Nov 2009, 22:20

Great stuff. I'm a little sad that it's almost over.

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