Infinium: Birth of Perpetual Motion
Posted 19 May 2011 - 06:34 PM
Micajah was dragged towards the wide double doors by the darkened corpses. The whole of Black’s darkened sanctuary smelled of rot and smoke. The undead guards dragging his limp body smelled the worst. Their own rot was covered in a dark soot which blended the smells.
They pushed the doors open. Lord Black sat calmly inside, two massive incinerators roared on either side of him. They provide the red light illuminating the room, save a twinkle more coming behind the black shades covering the window. A sturdy oak desk lies in front of his massive pale ivory chair. At least Micajeh hoped it was ivory. Black stood up and glanced over him.
“Dr. Butterfield. I have unfortunate news…”
He began to stalk across the dark room.
“You see your inventions, the artificial limbs… I tested them on my subjects. They were, failures. They work well enough for a time, but are not truly self-sufficient; they gradually drain the subject’s life force. Undead have little life force to begin with. Unfortunately, when they run out of energy, the subjects have to be scrapped.”
He points back towards the massive incinerators still roaring with flame and the odor of burning flesh. Micajah begins to stumble out a few words.
‘They were never… never meant for that. I designed them for living… living people missing limbs… not abominations.”
“I know my good doctor. But half of all science is dealing with small complications. I will expect you to understand the consequences should you fail.”
“It will never work. Without a power source…”
“Do not worry about things which aren’t your concern.”
Black snaps his fingers, his guards drag Micajah back where he came. Black returns to the seat of his makeshift throne room. The crackling voice of his master echoes not soon after.
“We have other issues than misbehaving prisoners, Black.”
Carcaros appears behind him, glaring down.
“The detective is back.”
“I already killed him.”
“That’s what I mean. His body is dead, but… some people just don’t know when to give up. His spirit is still tracking us. Even with all the power we’ve amassed so far, if he were to reveal to the world our existence before it is time… well,”
“I killed him before,” Black says calmly, “I can do it again, permanently this time. I half expected someone in the arcane society to try and stop me before now, so luckily I have an ace in my sleeve for just such an occasion. An expert in ‘Forced Exorcism’.
“Does he know about this?” Carcaros asks.
“No. Once he is done he is expendable. As for now we have a more pressing manner. Even with Butterfield we are behind schedule. His objection about the energy source is too true; too big an engine and the weight tears through them, too small and the energy lacks. Butterfield’s only useful addition to my arsenal has been the Hunters, and of course the Behemoth, but it lacks…subtlety.”
“An engine small enough to fit inside the average undead, but powerful enough to keep them moving…” Carcaros mutters, “why bother mixing science with sorcery, the old ways were good enough.”
Black pulls aside a shade revealing a window above a massive complex. Thousands of his creations are being assembled below along assembly lines. Grey undead giants with muscles like boulders, operate smelting vats which pour into molds for the mechanical appendages. Other more lifelike ghouls drag carts of corpses through the factory like raw material.
A network of automated dead, with hands repaired to mechanical perfection tirelessly work on a line below, creating more and more of his army. The whole thing beats on like clockwork, never stopping. They are raised, forged, rebuilt, remade, and put to work.
“It isn’t good enough for me…” Black says.
The doors open behind him. Three dark, cloaked, silent figures walk in unannounced. Black opens his desk and hands a paper with a single name written down on it to the one in front.
“You will find him in London. If you find any creations of his, worth taking, take them; I want him taken alive. Leave no witnesses.”
The silent figure nods with a quick measured motion. The three beings seemingly float out the doors they came in through.
The streets of the city are dark and filth stained. Vimes had floated off the boat an hour ago. Since then, someone has been following him.
Vimes turned a corner into a narrow alley. His pursuer follows, his identity hidden beneath the wide brim of his hat. His hand moves to his holster. He turns the corner and sees Vimes.
The laugher of children comes from behind him. A flock of urchins scamper past; the assassin pulls his hand off the gun as they enter the ground between him and his target. Vimes notices the hesitation; he turns around another sharp corner, now bolting at his fastest speed.
The pursuer dashes past the children after him. They run through a motley flea market, people crowd the street. The pursuer draws his gun for a clear shot at Vimes; a woman instantly walks in front of his path. The shot fires too high, people scream and Vimes continues to run. His pursuer follows even faster than before.
He attempts to get a clean shot at his ghostly prey, yet the living continue to swarm around him in a panic; almost as if they were being manipulated. From the corner of his periphery he sees Vimes dash between two towering brick buildings. He shoves his way through the crowd, runs between the gap, levels the gun, and,
The passage dead ends into a stone wall. Vimes had vanished. The Cimmerian tips up his hat and stares up the three story wall blocking all escape.
London East End
Minerva sat impatiently in the theater box. She had tossed the program aside, and hadn’t paid attention to the first act. The lines of the actors below were meaningless to her. She rapped her fingers rapidly against her knees. She had waited the whole of the first act, yet no one had arrived. It was beginning to seem that she had wasted her time.
The curtain behind her moved. A tall dark featured man moved without a word and sat next to her in the private box he had bought out for their covert meeting. He had a thick beard, a rough unappealing face, and a tall stovepipe hat that was black as coal. The hat was odd, yet his steam-mechanized arm seemed down right outlandish.
“I’m sorry we have to meet like this, but I needed somewhere where we could meet in private and not arouse suspicions. It’s too bad, I used to like going to the theater, until last time at least.”
If Minerva was a little older she might have recognized him; as she wasn’t, she couldn’t care less who he was.
“What have you done with my father?”
“Nothing,” Said her advisor, “Micajah was a friend of mine. He helped me repair myself after a small accident.”
The man lifted his mechanical arm and winked.
“Your father and I are apart of a very exclusive network of people attempting to preserve humanity on this Earth. The last time any of us heard from him he was in Dartmoor, investigating the sighting of a vicious super-natural wolf.”
“A werewolf on the Moors? Please, my father was a scientist, he wouldn’t be bothered by such superstitious ramblings.”
“No. Not until he heard that the creature was made of steel. Then he was interested. He even believed to have identified it as the work of a French engineer whose work he knew. The Crixus IV. His last letter said he was attempting to make contact with the creature…But then none of us heard from him. The townsfolk said he disappeared into a black fog and never returned. If you want to find him, you know where to go.”
The man stood up and casually dropped a letter on the ground.
“If you encounter others of our group, they will identify themselves as ‘seekers of perpetual human motion’. They are members of Infinium; they will be of assistance to you. What happened to your father is only the tip of something much larger, much more sinister. We must all come together if we are to save anyone; a house divided cannot stand.”
The man disappeared through the curtain with a grace unseemly to a man his size. Minerva opened the letter. It was her father’s writing. On the back was a return address of a tavern where she might further enquire.
London, Axel’s Laboratory
Axel sits at his desk welding a centrifuge together with his custom welding torch. Beneath the roar of the flame, the back door opens, then shuts behind him. A less observant man would not have noticed or thought nothing of it. Axel pulls the fire away from his work and shuts it off. The goggles over his eyes zoom back out to normal intensity. He places them and the torch back onto the table.
“I suppose you three had never heard of knocking?”
He turns back and gets a look at the intruders, three voiceless figures in black hoods. He quietly slips the welder’s torch behind his palm.
“I’d ask you how you got here, but that would be an exercise in futility as I can deduce an answer myself. You came into my home through some deceptive means, perhaps a window or a chimney shoot perhaps. Charles would have stopped you, but the fact that you’re here means that he is now either unconscious or more likely, dead. As to who you all are, well—”
One of the cloaked figures lifts his arm; an explosion follows and his arm fires off like cannon shot. It grabs Axel by the throat. The hand had come off at the elbow, connected back to the main body by a thick chain.
The chain tugs back slowly like clockwork, slow and precise, reeling Axel in slowly. Axel struggles against it. He reaches the chains genesis and the arm reattaches back to the stump; the figure raises Axel up by the throat.
The burning spit of the torch ignites behind Axel’s back.
He shoves the flaming end into the figure’s face. The sharp flame lights up its rotting undead face, its eyes are wholly white, it’s yellow skin pulled tight across the cheekbones. It doesn’t say a word as the torch begins to burn a hole into the left of its face.
“Well,” says Axel, “That was not what I expected.”
He brings the flame towards the creature’s arm hoping to burn it off. The undead abomination merely tightens his grip. As Axel begins to run out of breath, the largest of the other cloaked intruders turns to his companion and lands a massive fist across its jaw. The figure went flying and Axel slips from its grip.
He stood back up quickly. The other two cloaked figures turn towards the one who had saved him. The first threw off his robe entirely. His gaunt yellow skin was stitched between plates of dirty metal like a patchwork, broken by the recent black gash burned through his face. Its arms were brass cannons from the elbow up, its torso was largely covered by pipes and plating.
The third figure quickly rolls up its sleeves. The prosthetic fingers sewn across the surgical nubs of his hands glimmered like brass jewelry, with edges sharp like razors. It lifts its arms up high, a second pair emerge from the cloak and grab its edges, tossing it back. The scars of reattachment where the second set of arms had been placed mar its grey body like spiderwebs while highlighting the twenty glimmering knifelike fingers . The four armed undead stares back at the new target listlessly. The giant undead who had saved him looks back at his two fellows, then to Axel.
“Run, now,” It growls.
Axel does. The four armed undead lets out a hissing shriek, it lunges at the giant, all hands at the ready. The defender throws a massive arm out to block it. The metal talons sink deep into its rotting flesh. The Cannon armed undead fires another hand towards Axel. The shot misses and Axel disappears into the nooks and crannies of the cluttered lab. The creature retracts its arms and sprints after him.
The six limbed insectoid undead is tearing into the giant, shredding his cloak and his flesh. With a loud grunt the large beast flings the smaller one twenty feet across the room. The undead flips in the air, spreads all six limbs out, and lands like cat absorbing the fall on all its parts. It hisses again and quickly bounds forward on legs and one set of arms. The giant grins morbidly.
He whips off his cloak, dramatically revealing the motley network of metal and muscle that makes up his body. As the smaller insectoid undead pounces towards him, the giant throws his cloak over its head and pulls tight.
At the other end of the laboratory, Cannon-arms is searching for Axel unsuccessfully. He barges through obstacles in an inhuman fashion, unaware of anything standing in his way. He jumps on top of a table and peers across the dark basement. In the background he hears the fighting of his peers, then the loud hiss of escaping steam.
He looks up; the Brass Man hovers above, then stops the jet engine. Axel slams down next to the creature then looks up with a face equally as terrifying as any ghoul’s. Cannon-arms lifts its right arm and fires. It’s hand clangs pitifully against the armor. Axel watches as the limb falls uselessly to the ground. He tuts disapprovingly. He lifts his own hand. The magnet in his palm buzzes to life; the plate in the undead’s chest gets pulled, reeling it in just as Axel was a moment ago. As the undead’s hybrid metallic body clicks against the magnet it is cemented strongly in the Brass Man’s grip. Axel raises the machines other hand and wags his finger. He switches a lever, the polarity reverses violently.
The giant is still wailing on the smaller undead trapped under the cloak with fists of polished steel. The insectoid undead begins shredding the trap with its claws then pounces away. The repeated pounding has broken its neck, its head slumps at a twisted angle as it stares back at the Giant. It lets out another shriek; Cannon-Arms comes soaring across the room and knocks them both over.
The giant turns back and sees Axel hovering towards him. He lands on the ground and looks up to the massive metal creature.
“I suppose I should thank you.” Axel says, his voice altered by the suit.
“You probably shouldn’t quite yet.” The creature replies.
“Because, I don’t think I can….can control this thing much…longer….”
The giant undead shakes violently. It lets out a beastly roar. A ghostly shade is ejected from it, its eye’s return to the blank white stare. Vimes looks back up at massive beast.
The three undead return to their feet and/or various limbs. The giant charges straight for Axel who cannot dodge in time. He rams him through a table filled with centrifuge parts and on towards a back wall. Axel is protected inside the metal shell but cannot escape the creature’s giant grip, his magnets lacked the charged energy to repulse a being this size. With no other choice he squeezes his palm, the steam jets fire off at full strength, rocketing them both through the roof.
They soar higher and higher above London, the grimy houses shrink beneath them. The giant undead shows no fear, it clutches Axel’s suit tightly and Axel feels the crushing forces. In the creature’s chest plate a small device hums with life, Axel recognizes it as a compact engine. He drags his arm towards the chest plate and places his palm over the exposed engine. He activates his palm magnet with what little energy is left; the metal parts of the engine are tugged apart, forcefully disassembled.
The hum stops and the undead’s grip falls loose, now nothing more than a corpse. The body slips off, falling like a stone. It disappears onto the cityscape beneath them. Axel lowers his steam jet, beginning to slowly descend. His inner city home grows larger as he descends. He flits in through the hole in the ceiling of his hidden lab.
Vimes is throwing volleys of telekinetic punches at the cannon-armed freak. They slam into it hard even though Vimes is over twenty feet away. It stumbles down, then slowly gets up off the ground. It fires both arms towards Vimes, they blast through him like bullets through fog. Vimes throws another ghostly jab, followed by a hook, a cross, a swiping haymaker and finally an uppercut, which sends the undead creature reeling onto his back. It sits still for a moment, then twitches back to its feet. Axel jumps down next to Vimes.
“You can’t kill them that way.”
“I’m the expert on un-death,” Vimes remarks, “I know what I’m doing. You have to take out the brain.”
He stretches out a ghostly arm and mentally reaches for Axel’s workbench; a screwdriver rattles across the table. Vimes moves his hands smoothly, it flies point first into the undead’s skull. Cannon-arms goes limp and collapses to the floor. Axel looks at it.
He looks to the hole in the ceiling,
He turns as he says it; the final undead pounces from behind at the exact moment. It scratches wildly against the armor leaving cosmetic streaks in the alloy plating. Axel struggles to throw the creature off, but it’s four-armed grip holds tight. Vimes pulls for second screwdriver, it floats to his hand. He tries to get an aim onto the last undead as it scrambles over Axel’s suit.
“Hold still, I can get it.”
“No,” Axel yells, “don’t!”
“I won’t hit you.”
“I don’t want you to hit him.”
Axel leans the stiff helmet back, then headbutts the creature hard. The beast backs away slightly; Axel jams his hand against it’s chest near the center. He was lucky, the design was similar, the engine still exposed. The magnet in his palm lacked the same power as before, it wouldn’t rip the engine apart. The insectoid undead was regaining its composure, Axel goes for plan B. He lays his palm flat, the steam system hisses, and roaring steam spews forth with blinding heat. It scalds the flesh from bone and warps the sections of metal. The creature shrieks once last time, then suddenly falls limp as the giant did before.
“What was that?” Asks Vimes.
“Steam jet. Flushed out the engine’s inside. I’m familiar with that design, they are prone to over-heating, that’s why the engine needed to be exposed to the open air. He should be dead now… well more dead then he was before.”
Vimes and Axel stand over the four armed corpse. Behind them, Canon-arms begins slowly to stagger to his feet silently, the screwdriver still sticking from his forehead.
“Why did you want me not to stab this one?”
“Elementary my dear boy. Logically we cannot understand why they are until we know what they are. As much as autopsy can provide, it is often limited, yet to see the whole machine in motion, if you will, allows far more to be understood. As I had already destroyed the body and engine of one, and you had unfortunately destroyed the body but not the engine of the other, the simple answer would be to destroy this one’s engine yet leave it’s body operational, in order to create a hybrid living specimen. Or what passes for living…”
The last undead is silently scraping towards them, Axel and Vime’s backs turned. It reattaches an arm and stalks in closer,
“Now,” Axel calmly states, “all we need is to remove the engine from the other and place it into…”
They turn and Cannon-arms no less than a foot from them; it plucks the screwdriver from his head, raises it high and, BOOM.
The shot rings out from the entrance-way. The undead’s head explodes outwards, brain matter flowing across the room. The undead falls down dead, again. In the doorway stands a man in a black hat, his pistol raised. It turns to Vimes.
The gun fires once more as Vimes phases into the floor.
The Moors are silent in the early dawn. They are fog ridden and dark as well. When she left the tavern last night the people inside gave her every kind of odd look. With her mechanical arm she was used to it by now. When they learned she was the daughter of the man who went searching the killer were-wolf that had been slaughtering their livestock, it all seemed to click for them.
“Odd folk always run in packs I say,” said the barkeep.
“Have you seen this man or not?” She demands,
“Of course I have,” he replies, “ came in searching for the blasted wolf. Went out with his home-made contraptions, new style steam-powered hooey. A cross, a silver bullet and a rifle—that’s how you hunt a werewolf. Stupid city folk can’t understand that.”
“I don’t care about that. Where is he?”
“Where? Probably in a wolf’s stomach by now. No one’s seen ‘em for a fortnight. We just assumed he was dead. Can’t be held responsible for what stupid city people do, you know what I—”
Minerva had left before he could finish.
She had been searching the Moors for the night. No signs of the illustrious metal wolf so far, yet she had been moving ever deeper into the heart of the Moors. There was an occasional quick rustle of grass behind her, but whatever creature made it was gone before she could see.
In the coming dawn she hears the first cry. It howls through the fog without origin. She follows the wailing as best she can through the dark woods. It cries again, a beastly howl mixed with the warbling pitch of a sad brass instrument.
Minerva creeps through the forest towards the emanating sound. Her movement is slow in the thick darkness and harsh terrain. She finds herself in front of a small hollow between the hills, hidden by high woods on all sides. The third cry comes at her, this time it echoes from beneath her feet. She glances down and brushes the earth beneath her with her mechanical arm. Beneath a thin covering of dirt lies a heavy metal plate planted in the ground. After a further search, she finds it has a handle.
She gives it a tug and the plate begins to rise automatically by clockwork. It opens up like a door, revealing a flight of stairs descending into a torch lit passageway. A much clearer howl comes from below. Minerva doesn’t wait long, she ducks down and descends the stairs slowly.
After a minute of silence up top, the clockwork gears begin to push the door back into it’s hiding place. The bushes rustle; a blurry form darts out. It quietly dives under the closing door just as shuts…
London, Axel’s Laboratory
“I’d really prefer if you didn’t do that.”
Axel is ignored. The Cimmerian points the gun at a glimmer near Axel’s workbench where Vimes stood. Vimes pops out of range again; Cimmerian blasts a chunk of wood from the table.
“Stay out of this Axel, it isn’t your business.”
The Cimmerian turns and draws straight behind him, an outline of air seems to drift across the room. Cimmerian blasts at its general direction; the bullet moves right on target but spontaneously spins off course. The spirit in his gun would not allow him to shoot Vimes.
Axel attempts to stand between Cimmerian and the now empty stretch of wall.
“You see my dear compatriot,” he says, “that is where you are wrong. It is my business. Now normally, I have no issue with attempting to kill a ghost; I find it rather redundant myself, but to each his own. My problem, more or less, is that you are trying to kill a ghost, failing, and destroying my home in the process.”
“Well I wouldn’t be doing that if this little bugger would stop playing hide and go seek, and FIGHT LIKE A MAN!”
There is a whack of a telekinetic punch across Cimmerian’s jaw; it is more comedic than truly violent. His head tilts back and he grunts angrily. He points the gun at the punch’s direction and fires blindly out of frustration. Vimes is never hit, but several sections of Axel’s recently cleaned floor now have large bullets lodged in them. Axel sighs.
He had stepped out of the suit and was now smoking a pipe in his work clothes. He casually walks towards a supply closet. The Cimmerian fires into the air and occasionally spontaneously wheels back from blows that come from nowhere. To an outside observer it would appear a very odd form of pantomime. Axel roots through the closet, finds his prototype magnet glove and slips it on. He approaches Cimmerian, holds out his hand and clicks the circuit on.
The magnet amplifies power, the Howdah is yanked from the Cowboy’s hand, along with the belt-buckle around his waist. The buckle and the gun pin to the magnet, Axel takes a puff on the pipe calmly.
“If you play nice, you can get these back at the end of the day.”
Cimmerian glares back, he doesn’t find it funny.
“The ghost has to die.”
“By definition yes, we all need to die, even if we are already dead, yet that doesn’t mean you have to kill him. Why do you want to kill him, so badly?”
“Because damn all ghosts to hell, that’s why.”
“Well, just theologically speaking I can see at least one problem with that concept. Beginning with ‘A’—”
“Magic is an abomination Axel. You and I know it. You know what they took from me. I kill the supernatural, that which doesn’t belong. It’s what I do.”
“Is that so?” says a disembodied voice behind them. Vimes takes form once again, now that the Cimmerian has lost his gun.
“What if I were to tell you that the man who sent you also created those true abominations that we just killed. Lord Fenris Black. He is the true supernatural force; if you killed me you would be helping him. What would you say to that?”
“I’d say I still owe you for that first cheap shot. Then I’d shoot you.”
“Ah yes,’ Axel says aloud, “Yet, by killing the supernatural you would actually be helping it. Doing so, you would be denying your very own code, simply by following it. An ironic self-cancelation—
Preposition One: this ‘Black’ fellow is obviously a very powerful master of the supernatural, necromancy, wizardry, alchemy, whatever these things truly are,”
He kicks one of the corpses on the floor,
“Which he has shown very clearly. Black—is—magic—
Preposition Two: You hate magic.
Preposition Three: Killing the ghost helps Black, who as of Preposition One, is magic. Therefore in killing the ghost you are helping greater magic, thereby digressing against Preposition Two, and contradicting yourself.”
“Maybe,” Cimmerian says, “But then again… I could probably just kill him, collect the reward, then kill Black as well.”
“Oh ho, so you are doing this for money now?” Axel replies swiftly, “That is an introduction of new information to the system and requires a new line or reasoning, yet it can still be done. A- Black has hired you to do something, B- I could just as well hire you not to do that something, and C- it is always easier to not do something than to do it. Therefore, take the easy money. Whatever he offered you I’ll pay 50% more to not kill the ghost, or at the very least, to not kill him in my home.”
The Cimmerian thinks it over. He looks at the ghostly detective, then back at his old acquaintance.
“Excellent,” Axel yells, “CHARLES!!”
From the doorway a beaten old man appears. He slumps in the doorway weakly. Axel looks up from his pipe at him.
“Charles, oh good, you’re not dead.”
“No sir. Three men in cloaks burst into the house. I shot them all quite repeatedly but they didn’t seemed bothered in the slightest. Woke up on the floor of the drawing room not less then a minute ago.”
“Well, that’s not very productive of you. While you were out, there was a bit of a row with the three you encountered. Unfortunately I lost one in the process. Somewhere in the neighborhood outside there should be a seven-foot tall corpse with metal arms and part of an engine in its chest. It fell from the sky quite quickly and I lost track of it. Could you retrieve it for me?
Charles pauses for a second.
“A seven foot corpse, with metal hands and an engine… that fell from the sky…”
“Charles you are wasting valuable time, and as you have spent the last half hour or so lying about, I would highly appreciate if we did not waste it further through the unnecessary repetition of straightforward instructions…”
Dartmoor, Underground Complex
Minerva had discovered the underground chamber beneath the Moors. Piles of mechanical junk lies rusting on the floor in tiny heaps. There was evidence that larger, completed machines used to be there; the outlines on the ground were clear, but what they were wasn’t. The chamber is vacant of human life now, but something was still here, howling in the dark.
She passes through the torch-lit chambers of the underground complex, rooms and cells on all sides. Then she hears the roar ahead down the hall. The outline of a brass beast glints in the low lighting, it’s eyes stare back ominously. In its dark eyes Minerva sees something malevolent, she knows what happened to her father.
It sees Minerva, then turns back and charges away. Minerva watches then sprints after it; Crixus’s metal steps clang against the ground, Minerva’s feet pound back.
They follow down the path of darkness, Minerva’s eyes train on the dim torch glimmer bouncing of Crixus’s body. They pass by seemingly endless tunnels, Crixus always seeming to make the turn that doesn’t lead to a dead end by sheer instinct. Minerva raise up S.P.A.M and fires in Crixus’s direction as she runs. The shots go wide, her accuracy limited and her target always in constant motion. She fires again and again, hitting the floor, the ceiling, the walls. Eventually one shot taps against Crixus’s back leg with little more damage than a bee sting as the massive beast simply keeps running.
Minerva feels anger. She stretches out her good arm and reaches out towards Crixus; she feels for his body psychically, gripping the metal with intangible force. She rips it back, pulling Crixus away, sending him flying against a wall. The beast snarls as it hits the wall. It looks back at Minerva with anger. They stand in a widened empty forum. Crixus opens its mechanical jaws, and roars.
The sound echoes out from the cavernous complex, the roar is deafening. Minerva drops to her knees in pain, the vibrating roar erasing her senses. Crixus shuts its jowls as his opponent falls. It crouches down ready to attack. Minerva looks up and raises her hand to throw it against the wall again.
In a blur, a scaly claw grabs her hand tight. She looks up to the powerful lizard stopping her. Her hand stretches out and pushes the being back. The lizard flies back, but lands on all fours gracefully. She raises S.P.A.M., points towards the creature and fires. It dodges quickly, rapidly circling across the room. It ducks in close, and pushes her mechanical arm away with one hand. The creature raises its arms up in a non-aggressive stance.
“Please stop. I don’t mean you—”
He flies back violently in a wave of psychic. He quickly crawls from the ground, Crixus growls and begins to come to the lizards defense. Minerva gestures towards them ready to pummel them both. The reptile waves Crixus off, the metal wolf begrudging falls back. The reptile then steps in front of him, his arms still held out to his side non-aggressively.
“We mean you know harm.”
Minerva pauses, unsure about the whole thing.
“Why should I believe you?”
“Because, like you, I seek perpetual human motion.”
The words resonated with her. It was what the tall man in the theater had said, seekers of perpetual human motion. Infinium. She then looks to the lion-like beast glaring back at her.
“That thing you defend killed my father,” she says “He was a member of Infinium. If you are truly with us, you must let me kill it.”
The reptilian creature shakes its head sadly. He continues to stand between her and Crixus.
“No. I met with your father. I was helping him with his investigation. He was not killed, only kidnapped. Taken by ghouls of freakish proportions, and enslaved in this place. I had been searching for the entrance when I came across you. Luckily you seemed to have stumbled upon their hiding place, which I had been looking for, for some time; yet your luck was not enough. They must have left before now.”
“Who are they? Who are you? You’re not making any sense.”
“My name is Victor Beckett,” says the lizard calmly, “as for who they are, I do not know. Scientists are being kidnapped all across the globe. I was sent to protect your father as his bodyguard. I underestimated this dark conspiracy’s power, I could not stop the agents they sent after him, they were combinations of machine and magic. I bested them in speed and strength, but they were unkillable, and eventually managed to take your father. If you must blame anyone, blame me, but not this creature.”
Minerva then looks to Crixus who has taken a far less menacing stance now that the situation has diffused some. He saunters casually towards her, far less malevolent looking then before.
“What is he then?” she asks pointing to Crixus, whose ears pop up at the sound, “one of their forgotten combinations of machines and magic?”
“Oh no,” Beckett replies, “The Crixus had nothing to do with this. He was the reason your father came here, to study this beast. We had made contact weeks before your father was in any danger; he came to enjoy Micajah’s comings and goings like a friend. He wouldn’t harm him any more than you would. He actually helped me defend your father when they came, but they ended up taking him as well. I am surprised to see him safe and unharmed, but I suppose he would have been able to give them a good thrashing once his strength was back up.”
Crixus presses his massive frame against Minerva’s body like a friendly dog might. It was slightly more suspect though as he was made of metal and the size of an adult male lion.
“But what about the slaughtered livestock?”
“Oh that,” Beckett says, “That was well…me. I can’t exactly walk into the pub and order Bangers and Mash without causing a commotion, so I fed off what I could. Not entirely legal I’m sure, but it was what had to be done.”
Minerva drops her arms in a truce; she places her hand on top of Crixus’s metal head. Beckett calmly walks towards her.
“I’m afraid I can explain the whole situation later. As for now I feel as if we must find the exit to this dreadful place.”
“You don’t know the way out.”
“Well no, I was following you.”
Crixus lets out an almost musical howl then scampers away down another path. He looks back at them briefly, then continues to trot off. Beckett and Minerva look at one another.
“I suppose we ought to follow him.” Minerva says.
Beckett nods and they dash off to follow the big metal beast out.
The Cimmerian, Axel, and A. Vimes search through the fog. Axel and Vimes are scanning the horizon for anything suspicious, The Cimmerian seems more or less annoyed to be there.
“How can you be sure there will be anything out here?”
“Elementary my American friend,” Axel states, “After a brief observation of the designs of our undead adversaries I was able to identify a common element. Their limbs were all mechanical designs similar to the work of Micajah Butterfield, a specialist in steam-powered prosthetics. This shows that our Mr. Black must in some way be working in tandem, either through cooperation or more likely coercion, with Mr. Butterfield. Therefore, if we can find Butterfield we shall by transitive property, find Black, whom you can then shoot or what have you.”
“This was where my organization last had contact with Butterfield before he disappeared.” Says Vimes.
“Really,” says the cowboy, “You lost contact him near here, and your combined strategy was to randomly wander through the woods, hoping that a clue might just magically appear.”
Axel looks back at him and speaks with a dry conviction.
“My friend, why must you question everything I do?”
“Because up till now, everything you’ve done has been questionable.”
A deep warbling howl breaks through their concentration. It sounds like a mix between a wolf and a trombone. They follow the howl in search of its source. They barge through the Moor towards the secluded hollow. A second cry comes from the ground. The detective peers at the ground then turns to his ghostly phase and fades through the earth. He disappears beneath the ground briefly, then returns back to the surface quickly.
“There is a passageway beneath the ground. We should be standing over the door.”
Axel and the Cimmerian root around through the dirt until they find the hidden door handle and pull. The clockwork door initiates and begins to rise. Axel admires the exactness of the movement of the machine, The Cimmerian keeps his gun hand ready to blow away anything that might soon emerge from it.
As soon as the door opens fully, a giant metal beast, a lizard walking on two legs, and a girl with a mechanical arm walk out from it. The six people all stare at each other oddly. Vimes and Beckett catch each other’s eyes, then step forward and shake hands.
“Mr. Beckett, glad to see you’re all right.”
“Same with you Vimes. Not to sound impetuous, but last I heard you were off to Japan.”
“Things came up. I had to prevent a kidnapping as well as my own assassination. We came here seeking Dr. Butterfield. We believe his creations have begun to assist our up till know unknown conspiracy leader. It seems Lord Black has returned.”
“Then it is as Lincoln feared,” Beckett replied, “He is attempting to pervert perpetual motion. He may be farther ahead then we once thought. Butterfield is gone. There is evidence that they held him and others like him here at some point, but they must have abandoned this location as we closed in. We were searching for Butterfield as well, only to find the entire complex empty. I believe introductions are in order.”
He points towards Minerva and Crixus, who remains obediently by her side.
“This is Ms. Butterfield, the only daughter of Micajah. The creature is the Crixus IV, a curiosity of his. Don’t let the size fool you, he is quite friendly.”
Vimes extends his hand to Minerva who carefully sends her normal arm out to greet it.
“A pleasure to meet you,” he says, “even if it is under such unfortunate circumstances. My name is Alexander Vimes, I am a detective, or at least was one once…I can assure you, finding your father is our organization’s number one concern as long as I am on the case.”
“Thank you.” Minerva replies courteously. Vimes looks back to Beckett and gestures back to Axel and The Cimmerian.
“These are my circumstantial compatriots. This is Mr. ‘Axel’ Talbot, the latest target of Black’s kidnapping attempt—”
“A failed attempt” Axel corrects between puffs on his pipe. Vimes then gestures to the other.
“This is the other one, he calls himself ‘The Cimmerian’. I don’t know his real name, and he attempted to kill me no less then a few hours ago.”
The Cowboy tips his hat towards Minerva.
She nods somewhat uncomfortably in return. Crixus lets out an unfriendly growl towards the man in black. He seems to ignore it. Vimes then gestures towards Beckett and looks towards his side of the team.
“This gentlemen is Victor Beckett, an operative of ours sent to protect Dr. Butterfield.”
“Excellent,” The Cimmerian barks harshly, “he seems to have done an excellent job at that.”
“I was ambushed.” Beckett replies, “I did what I could. I would like to have seen you do better.”
“Let me guess, revived corpses with mechanical appendages. We took care of three of them, so we did do better.”
“Yes,” Axel muses, “ But to be fair there were three of us…Yet he seemed to have a giant clockwork wolfhound at his side, which counts for at least one of us, maybe one and half… Not to mention that they wouldn’t have had the steam-powered weapons of Butterfield’s design, as Butterfield himself had yet to be kidnapped... However, then if we assume—”
“Excuse me!” Minerva yells. All the men turn to her.
“I couldn’t really care whose fault this is. We need to find my father, then you men can debate who was wrong, or who tried to kill who, but for now, put a lid on it.”
There is a brief silence. Vimes is the first to speak.
“She is right. We must not waste anytime squabbling. A house divided cannot stand, as our progenitor would say. Luckily I may have a new lead. Some time ago I received a telegram from an operative in Japan. My sister actually. She stated that there were some circumstances building regarding the situation as we knew it. However, before I could venture there I received intelligence as to Mr. Talbot’s dire predicament. Now that he is safe and Butterfield is found gone, I can only conclude that he may very well be in Japan as well.”
“Well then,” Axel says, “Let us journey there at once. I’ll have Charles make the arrangements.”
“To Japan?” The Cimmerian questions, “six people, or four people and two ‘creatures’ who probably cannot be seen by the general public? It might be a little more complicated then ‘I’ll have Charles do it’.”
“Now now my dear boy, don’t worry about the arrangements. Suffice to say I used to work for Quinton Imports a few years back, nothing major, I just happen to be the reason why their airships are superior to all others, yet I was only to be terminated by that unappreciative, vacuous, fool over a mild dispute in which I may have done things such as call him a “vacuous fool” and broken a billiards cue across his kitchen wall. None the less, he still owes me a few favors after a run in with his daughter; nothing unsightly or vulgar, I simply saved her life. Anyway, travel will be of no consequence.”
“Excellent,” Vimes states, “I can assume we are all together on this?”
Axel bites his pipe and nods, the Cimmerian does the same with a slight tilt. Beckett nods as well, then turns to Minerva who places a tough look across her face and nods back. Crixus lets out a giddy howl.
“Then it’s settled. Any last questions?”
“Just one,” The Cimmerian says, “When you turn intangible it is an instinct response or do you have to know something’s coming?”
“I have to consciously choose to do it. Why?”
The Cimmerian slugs him across the cheek in response. Vimes tumbles back much the same way the Cowboy did when he had psychically punched him earlier. The Cimmerian begins to calmly walk back the way they came.
“Told you I’d get you back…”
The Cimmerian descends into the sunken storage quarters hidden in the massive airship. The ship was huge and Axel had bought out the whole thing. This level of privacy meant different things to all of them.
Vimes could float from room to room without bothering with hallways or doors. Crixus and Victor could walk aboard the housing areas without running into a possibly terrified civilian. Minerva would often take Crixus up to the observation deck above the ship and play catch; she’d fire a disk out of her arm and he would run and bring it back. The Cimmerian wasn’t interested in all this, he was interested in what Axel choose to do in his spare time.
He had seen him and Charles lifting four crates into the loading bay before takeoff. One of which had to be the Brass Man suit. From the size and number he could make a guess at what the others were. He soon found what Axel was hiding.
Axel had converted an unused conference room below the main housing level into a makeshift laboratory. The Cimmerian entered the room slowly, Axel’s back was to him as he closed the door. The Brass Man stood in a corner. In the center of the room, on three separate workbenches or slabs, lay the three undead hunters that three days ago were sent to capture him. Axel’s hands are busy attempting to remove the engine from the chest of the creature The Cimmerian had shot through the head at the time. The smell had not improved but they did not seem to be decaying any faster. The man in black looks over him with silent contempt.
“You know,” says Axel, “I don’t mind if you watch, but it is considered polite in England to say hello when you enter a room.”
“We’re not in England.”
“Right, of course. How many days has it been, two? We must be somewhere over Turkey or Russia by now.”
Axel begins to carefully disassemble the engine in its chest cavity, making sure to take notes on its construction so he can rebuild it later. The Cimmerian looks over the grey hulking creature.
“Why would you bring this? After what it’s done?”
“Know thine enemy. I can only assume this Lord Black intended to capture me to better these creature’s of his. That implies that they are flawed. If I can deconstruct them, I can surely find said flaw, and use it to our advantage.”
“They are abominations.’ The Cimmerian says coldly, “We are both men of science; I may only be a tinkerer, but even I know this is wrong. You ought to open up the loading bay and push them out over the Indian Ocean.”
Axel places the pieces down and looks over the undead work of science.
“Abomination is not a word I use lightly. While I find what he has done horrendous, awful, insane perhaps, I cannot help but admit that he has succeeded, or come close to succeeding in something we all thought impossible.”
“Perpetual motion. Energy feeding upon itself endlessly. An unkillable, unstoppable, engine of change. His motives are despicable, but it does not change the genius behind them. If anything, his evil was the one thing which allowed Black to pull it off. Unclouded by morality, human limitations, he could do the impossible.”
The Cimmerian smirks.
“My God… You admire him. You admire these…things.”
“I admire their design…
“They were recreated for one thing, one thing only, and they do it well. I despise what they are for, but I can’t help but feel impressed how good they are at doing it…know thine enemy…”
Posted 19 May 2011 - 06:38 PM
If one of your characters does not appear in this, they will most likely appear in one of the following 2 sections. Thanks for the patience, and if you catch any grammatical issues, feel free to bring it up.
Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:34 PM
Posted 04 June 2011 - 11:28 PM
Posted 05 June 2011 - 06:58 AM
Posted 11 June 2011 - 07:43 PM
It was the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the beginning of the Meiji Restoration. As Japan emerged into the modern world, its skyways also opened up to trade and thus, Quinton’s Imports and Exports. It seemed like everyday, unique and assorted airships would come into port with amazing goods from abroad. By virtue of these affairs, the ship carrying Minerva Butterfield, Crixus IV, Victor Beckitt, “Axel” Talbot, the Cimmerian and Alexander Vimes sailed into haven with no qualms. As the tethers were tossed to the docking bays; the voyagers within quickly assembled at the exits to touch the sweet terra firma below. The steam powered dirigible bellowed and burped vaporous exhaust as the ship lowered to the ground. As the unloading ladders fell, the heroic troupe departed hurriedly. “Thank goodness.” The cowboy grumbled. “What’s the matter, dear boy, can’t handle a little air travel?” Axel said with a smug smirk and a puff of his pipe. “That weren’t the problem. One more minute watching that spook float through walls and I’d been obliged to blow his head off out of sheer principle.” As he spoke, he tipped his brim to Alexander Vimes. The detective furrowed his brow and hurried from the deck. Axel grinned at Vimes and winked, “A man must have his principles.”
As he made way towards soil, Beckett adorned in a large fur lined pelisse and top hat followed by the others pushed a massive wooden animal crate marked: Danger. Completing the cloak and dagger outfit, Beckett’s face was covered by a large scarf and goggles. He whispered softly to his anomalous friend Crixus IV, within the crate as it growled in disgruntled discomfort. Meanwhile, Minerva and Vimes assisted with the weight of the thing using stealthily hidden telekinesis. Ahead of the pack, the Cimmerian limped forward clad in all black like an angel of death and Axel lead, his head clouded in pipe smoke and docking papers in hand. After conversations with port authorities, they were met by a young girl in a beautiful red kimono. She waved cheerfully at the group as she shuffled forward quickly. “Ah, it would seem that we are expected.” Axel said. Vimes stepped forward. Quickly, the Cimmerian gripped his shoulder and tucked him backwards, “Now just hold up there, it could be a trap.” The cowboy complained, “It’s not like we’re the most inconspicuous gathering ‘round here.” Nonetheless, Vimes phased through the grip and continued forward to greet the young lady. “Rubbish, most likely this is an escort of my sister’s making.” He said and reached out his hand. “Konnichicha, my fellow seekers of perpetual motion...” The young girl said in slightly broken English while bowing respectfully. Vimes blushed or what would be a blush if he had not been dead. As he did so, he pulled back his hand and bowed. “Welcome to Japan, I am Tsugumi…Saigō Tsugumi. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
Vimes would continue bowing at the same time as Axel would step forward. “Ah, English. What a delight, I thought surely the myriad dilemmas of cross-cultural phraseology and vernacular would infringe upon the good tidings of this particular assemblage.” Saigō blinked twice and stared at him blankly. “I’m sorry, I do not understand.” She returned meekly, yet politely. Axel chuckled, “That is quite okay madam. Mr. Quinton’s daughter speaks quite highly of you and it is an honor to be in your escort.” At this point, the Cimmerian leaned in and gently grasped the ladies hand. “Don’t mind him, lil darlin’. I speak mighty fine English if I do say so m’self and I can’t understand a word he says either.” Minerva grimaced at the men who clamored over the young, but exotically attractive girl, “Men.” She whispered. Victor and Crixus snickered in a harmonic unison. Meanwhile, Saigō smiled courteously at the gracious cowboy, although she barely comprehended him either. “Thank you all for your civility.” She replied kindly. Axel scratched his temple, “How is the fine Mr. Takamori these days anyway?” A bothered and extremely concerned look rushed across Tsugumi’s face. “Please we shall talk later; let us go before we draw further attention to ourselves.” She offered. “I think that would be a splendid idea.” Minerva replied. Without another word, the entirety of the newfound association agreed, rapidly dispersing and following the girl far afield of the docks.
Kyoto Mountain Wilderness retreat
After much travel, the company arrived in a far off mountain town overlooking the bustling city of Kyoto. During the trek, they marveled at the unspoiled beauty of the settings. Like a tapestry, colorful lotus blossoms peppered beautiful natural ponds and rickshaws were pulled by hired workers upon cobblestone street ways while peasants toiled away at their crafts. The adventurers gawked in awe. After a week of voyage, the group was tired beyond description and the relaxing trip was a blessing. Within the secluded confines of the mountain hideaway, Beckitt and others were elated to finally unclothe from cumbersome garments. Crixus IV was released and only allowed to travel outdoors late at night and then only in the wilderness and with a companion. While Crixus, Beckitt and Minerva tour the twilight countryside, Vimes, Axel and Cimmerian get straight to business discussing their plans. “So tell me young miss, where is your father? Why would he send such an adolescent child as your self into the midst of these mysterious happenings?” Tsugumi grimaced. She pondered the question briefly and began to cry.
“My father is gone…” She began sighing heavily, “Before the revolution, he was a warrior among men…a samurai.” Axel and Vimes nodded in recognition, while the Cimmerian spartanly lowered his hat, casting a shadow over his entire face and kicked his legs unto a nearby table. Since the Meiji Ishin, he has become something of a bureaucrat, leading the charge of modernization. But now, he has gone missing.” As she Struggles not to sob, Axel quickly hands the girl a handkerchief from Vimes’ pocket. “My apologies sir…” He says. Vimes simply nods. “Since his disappearance, I was contacted and sent underground by someone who sought perpetual motion. I have decided to join this cause to bring down the man that has abducted my father.” Vimes looks to the girl, “It will be okay. You have friends now. Luckily, some of us have much experience dealing with the culprit behind these dastardly affairs.” Axel gestures in agreement. “We will see to it that this monster is put down once and for all.” With that said the Cimmerian pulls out his gun and pulls back the pin, “Bang.” He says. It is his only contribution to the conversation. “Thank you, Mr. Verbose.” Vimes replies. The cowboy merely shrugs. “Now my dear, that leads me to one question that I have been pondering for quite some time; where is my sister?”
Suddenly, the sound of a door sliding is heard in the distance. “…around.” A voice returns to Vimes’ question. Slowly, a head peeps around the corner of an open door to the room occupied by the travelers. “Alanna!” Vimes screams in delight. Rushing forward, he grabs his sister and hugs her tightly. Alanna loosely embraces him, then steps back, quickly folding her arms. “Pleasantries aside for now, we must get down to business. There is no time to waste. The world as we know it is in grave danger.” Vimes smiled and sat back down. “Always the charmer.” He whispered. Next to him, the Cimmerian eyed the large worn, but elaborate piece on the woman’s hip. Axel noticed his gaze and grins, “Elephant gun…much like your weapon’s original design.” The cowboy’s head bobs in acknowledgment. “I think I’m in love.” Axel wrinkles his nose in perplexity, “…with her or the gun?” The Cimmerian does not answer.
Alanna stands above the men and her diminutive companion, Tsugumi. Her arms folded, she speaks with vehement fury. “I have been trailing Black for sometime; always a step behind. From what I can tell, he has been targeting men of science and machinery. If I am correct, someone travelling with you has lost a relative. Our young warrior here has also lost her father. As we all suspect, Lord Fenris Black is up to his nefarious games once again.” Alanna pulls out her elephant gun, rising towards the ceiling, while resting her other arm beneath her elbow, “I for one am anxious to end his entertainment once and for all.” Finally, the Cimmerian leans forward and rests his arms on his knees. “Much obliged as I am to your enthusiasm for killing this godless Lord Black fella, I haven’t seen you offer much as to his whereabouts?” Alanna casts a stare at the cowboy that would turn a man to stone. The Cimmerian returns the glare in kind. “I think they’re in love.” Axel adds.
Quickly, Vimes defuses the conversation, “Now now, first I believe introductions are in order; this gentleman here is our American friend, the Cimmerian.” Vimes wisely leaves out the fact that the Cimmerian previously tried to kill him. “You know of Mr. Talbot. Meanwhile, Dr. Butterfield’s daughter is in the wilderness gallivanting with her new friends, Mr. Victor Beckett from the enigmatic land of Kha-Zarn and the breathtaking creation known as Crixus IV.” Alanna shrugs, ignoring the Cimmerian’s slight and the useless introductions as if completely unimpressed with whoever else is in attendance, “Look, Black is here. Somewhere out there. We don’t have long. If he realizes you all are here, he may depart. For all we know, he may have left already. We must be about the hunt as soon as possible.” This time Axel interrupts as Crixus, Beckett and Minerva are heard entering the domicile. “Not so fast, we are exhausted and haven’t had a decent bed rest in days.” He stands before Alanna as the rest of the group enter the room. “I won’t bore you with more boring introductions as our acquaintances make their way in, but I will insist that we get some much needed rest and save this conversation and eventual pursuit for tomorrow. I’m sure even Mr. Black requires sleep.” Alanna and Vimes look at one another, “I doubt it.” They say together. In conclusion, Minerva chimes in sarcastically, “How delightful, more women for you boys to lose your wits over.” She walks pasts Alanna and heads to her room, “At some point, can we be about finding my father?” She exits without waiting for a response, she is followed by Crixus. As the creature walks by, Alanna is caught with her mouth gaping open in awe at the sight of the lizard man and the Lion-like machination. “Now, are you impressed?” Axel asks her in jest. Her cold stare is not lost to him as he slinks away trying to avoid the gaze.
After a well earned rest, the heroes split up to investigate the whereabouts of Black throughout the next day and into the night. Following cold trails, the weary travelers fail to fall on any hard earned leads when a dreary storm begins to roll in. With the rain becoming blinding, Axel and Vimes take shelter within a small tea house. In the vicinity, Alanna and Saigo still probe the streets. Elsewhere, the Cimmerian and Minerva also continue their pursuits unencumbered by the rain. Within, the local lodging whispers of “Gaijin (foreigner)” and “Yabanjin (barbarian)” could be heard amongst the patrons. Despite Vimes’ and Axel’s inability to speak fluently in the language, both were very capable in comprehending hostility. As they sipped the local flavor, the inaudible whisper grew eerily louder. It was as if the entire room was talking at once, but nobody seemed to be speaking. Likewise, both men seemed to notice the locals wielding their everyday items such as knives, cups, brooms and the like as if they were wielding threatening weapons. “Indubitably, it would seem we have become the center of attention dear boy.” Axel spoke softly to Vimes. “Quite so…and much worse, I am getting psychic turbulence of the worst sort here.” Axel raised an eyebrow in concern. “Very good, then we are getting close to our prey.” Vimes returned a worried glance, “Or they are getting close to us.”
High above under the cover of darkness, Crixus and Beckett finally make their way out into the city streets. He and Beckett nimbly and stealthily traverse the rooftops in search of anything out of the ordinary during the night hours. As they walk, Crixus seems heavily agitated. “Bloody hell, I wish this rain would just sod off.” Crixus whimpers in agreement. Beckett turns to him giving the robotic beasty an odd look. “Eh? You aren’t going to rust are you?” The human-like mechanism shakes his head in a negative gesture and hurries along. Victor easily catches up. “Right then, don’t be daft. We stay together here. You must be getting readings from that Zro stone then?” Crixus nods. “Good. I’m rested, fed and could do for a spot of fisticuffs. After you old chum.” Pointing ahead, Crixus leads the duo into the drizzly night.
Down below on the streets, the Cimmerian and Minerva briefly separate in the storm. The blinding waters mask her departure as she wonders off while tracking a shifty looking darkly clad swordsman. “Minerva!” Cimmerian cries into the night. “Dammit, where the hell did that girl run off to?” He grumbles. Minerva trails the swordsman for minutes until she circles into a closed alley. To her surprise, the swordsman is there standing…waiting. Minerva gapes as she notices that the man is missing an arm. Unsure how to proceed, she stumbles for words, “You there…halt!” She says in English. “Gaijin dog.” The menacing warrior whispers in Japanese.
As he says this, another one-armed swordsman appears from behind him as if he had been standing behind the man all along. They wear matching uniforms, but with different embroidery. Both draw their swords. “Oh boy Minerva, what have you gotten yourself into?” She sighs. Without haste, the ninjas rush forward in aggression. Quickly, Minerva flails her arms out and sends both warriors colliding hard into the adjacent building walls. The duo crumples to the floor. “Ha! Take that you…” She stops her victorious rant as the sound of metal upon metal is heard behind her. Turning quickly, she is kicked hard by another fighter wearing a weasel-like mask. With two crescent slashes, the effeminate warrior slices across Minerva’s chest with mantis like bladed hands. She screams as the warrior presses forward for the kill. Likewise, the two one-armed ninja rise from behind unknowingly to Minerva. They raise their swords in anticipation of her misstep. With a thunderous crack and an azure flash in the night sky, the weasel faced warrior’s mask flies off his face. Another blast obliterates its arm. Minerva studies the missing limb as it sizzles with a cerulean flame. “Thanks cowboy.” She says softly. “Get yer butt down!” He returns as he breaks through the rain and into vision. The loud boom of the Howdah and whistle of the blue projectiles startle Minerva as she plunges to the Earth. The bullets whiz around her body and dash into the encroaching ninja’s behind her. Both fly backwards into a wall. Suddenly, a massive shadow overcasts the alley. The Cimmerian turns his head at a snail's pace to see a colossal skeletal monster standing before him. Within its ribcage, restless corpses writhe as if in anguish and pain. It roars, sending a chill down the horrified Minerva’s spine.
Overhead, Crixus lets out a warbling warning howl as his awareness draws him and Beckett near the skirmish. Within close proximity Alanna and Saigo rush to help, following the howl. In the tea house, Axel and Vimes hear the sound and rise to leave. Likewise, the surrounding villagers within the quarters also rise. “This is not good.” Vimes says as they begin to encircle the two. “No…but that is.” Axel says and points to three men. Strangely enough, they are the only men still sitting. “I believe these men hold the answers to our current state of affairs, wouldn’t you agree?” Vimes squints and nods. “Without a doubt sir.” Rapidly, Axel throws off his massive overcoat and reveals the Brass Man suit beneath. “Bloody hell? You’ve been wearing that dread suit this whole time? Weren’t you hot at all?” Axel reaches down into a nearby satchel and pulls out his helmet, slipping it on. In a metallic hollow voice, he returns, “Not as hot as this lot are about to be.” Stepping forward, the engine on Axel’s back begins to rattle, shake and steam begins to seep out of the creases in the pipes. With a hiss, Axel bathes the crowd in scalding mist. The screams come from all across the room as he swivels and turns, releasing the pent up heat. The pain seems to break the dark sway on the mob as many run away in horror. In the faraway corner, one of the sitting men slams his fist down in anger. Rising from his seat and throwing off his robes, he reveals himself to be a diminutive sprite with a repulsive secret.
“My dear boy…”
“Yes Mr. Talbot.”
“I say, is that gentleman in the corner wearing flayed skin about his body?”
“Right then.” And with a hiss, Axel blasts off the ground and heads for the demon in the corner, leaving Vimes to deal with the remaining enchanted villagers.
Back in the alley, Saigo and the Cimmerian fend off the demonic ninja as a wounded Minerva falls back into a corner. Covered in a mist, Saigo slashes away at the surrounding ninja. Her lodestone sword causing them to lose the grip upon their swords every time she draws nearer. Behind her, the Cimmerian has moved the fight into the open street. He blows chunks from the skeletal behemoth as it takes giant swipes in attempts to decapitate the man. A close call knocks the cowboy unto the ground. In return, he blows a finger from his opponent’s hand. The monster roars and raises his foot to stomp the man once and for all. Without warning, another enormous shot blows the back of the mammoth’s head off. With a howl, Alanna leaps from an adjacent building unto the head of the giant, plunging her daggers into its rotting flesh. The cowboy smiles and gladly accepts the interference. Taking advantage of the attack, he fire several shots, blowing the creatures foot clean off. “Yeee Haaw!” He yells. Finally, the monster is silent. Like a chopped tree, it falls gradually to the ground. As Alanna descends from the beasts head and Cimmerian rises to his feet, Saigo waltzes towards the group carrying the limbs of her fallen adversaries. She begins to smile. The Cimmerian looks at her haul, “Three against one, huh? Not bad. But all things considered, ours was as big as a house.” Saigo cheerfully grinned even larger. “Yes, but I beat mine with a sword.” This time Alanna grinned and smacked the cowboy on the back of the head. “I like this girl.” The Cimmerian merely grumbled and straightened his hat. As they began to walk off, Crixus and Beckett finally arrived, leaping from the buildings above. They surveyed the destruction with observable awe. Immediately Crixus runs to the fallen Minerva. He licks at her with a cold metal tongue. “Ouch.” she cries. “That’ll be quite enough of that.” She says pushing the beasty away. Beckett helps her to her feet and they check her wounds. The others come and observe them as well. “Hell, that’s just a scratch.” The cowboy says. Alanna looks at it and rolls her eyes obviously in agreement. “Well, it hurts me. Not everybody is some sort of dashing super-person you know.” Beckett removes his coat sleeves with a rip and shreds them to make a makeshift dressing for the wounds. Alanna looks to the lizard-man in annoyance and snaps, “If you’re all done here, we should get going and find the others.”
The tea house
As Axel jets above the incensed mob below, another of the sitting men rise and lightening strikes outside. The room illuminates. Blinded, Axel collides into a wall and falls beside the man with the flayed skin. Meanwhile, Vimes tries to thwart the efforts of the emotion controlling demon by forcing his own mind’s will into the crowd. The gathering of commoners begins to follow the control of Vimes until suddenly the last man at the isolated table grins. Vimes’ concentration is briefly broken as he is startled by the man’s glistening razor sharp teeth. Even more distracting is the fact that his head flies clean off and hurtles across the room. “Bloody NukeKubi!” Vimes yells and goes intangible. Undaunted, the head hovers languidly around where the ghost detective stood, snapping, biting and daring him to become solid. Vimes winces and disappears from sight. Finally, the last demon draws a sword and steps over the table joining his little friend adorned in human skin who is forcefully kicking at the downed Axel. With a quick flick of the wrist, Axel depresses a hidden lever and a magnetic burst sends the ninja’s sword out of his grasp, impaling the smallish imp. It falls limply to the ground. As it does the remaining inhabitants are broken from their trance-like state of enragement. Examining the demons, the residents easily recognize the terrors. “Yokai! Goryo! Amanojaku!” They scream as they tumble over one another for the exits. As Axel rises to his feet, he intently heads towards the weaponless Goryo. Suddenly, Vimes returns from invisibility near him, “Hello.” He says cheerfully and waves at Axel. “Well hello.” Axel returns, looking back to see the floating head still chomping away at the air where Vimes had last been. “Ah…well done, old boy.” Axel says as he realizes Vimes’ ruse. Vimes returns a smile and telekinetically rips the headless body at the table apart. “NukeKubi are quite easy to handle once you get past the heads.” They do not turn as the dull thud of the lifeless head is heard falling behind them.
“Two against one now, chum.” Vimes says with assurance. Turning to the remaining demon, Axel follows suit, “Now, if you would be so kind as to direct us to the whereabouts of the good Mr. Tsugumi and the illustrious Dr. Butterfield. The Goryo does not respond, but instead his face flashes a monstrous expression and under the guise of a lightening strike he makes a hasty retreat. “Fool.” Axel says. He points to a remote door in the corner. It is still open. Without delay, the two hurry to it. As they do, the entryway to the tea house cracks open. Spilling through are the remainder of the team. As the others look around at the chaos, Crixus rushes by it and heads straight to the door. The others follow suit as there is nothing left to see in the main room.
Issuing down a dark set of stairs the team enter a smallish room adorned with various items associated with the occult. It was blisteringly hot in the room as two massive incinerators burned in the background. A red glow caused a haunted effect on the already creepy room. Both Vimes immediately recognize the handiwork. “He has been here.” They say in unison. At that very same time, an ivory chair spun around in the corner. “Daddy!” Minerva cries as the seat revealed her father to be sitting in it. She notices he is bruised and his mouth is gagged. She starts to rush towards him when the ninja demon Goryo appears from behind the chair. It holds a new sword to the neck of the scientist. Everyone clustered in the room pulls their weapons and train them on the lone demon. He hisses wildly and presses the weapon into the flesh of Micajah. His neck bleeds fervently. Minerva points her shaky appendage known as S.P.A.M. with timidity. They were all hesitant to take a shot so close to her father’s head. It was a standstill…until.
With a boom, a cobalt slug flew upward completely off course from the intended target. The demon laughs at the misplaced shot and began to cut deeper into its captive. Unexpectedly, the pellet changes direction and flies behind the demon, blowing its head clean off its shoulders. Minerva screams and runs to her father who looks utterly shocked. She removes his stifling gag and hugs him deeply. “Oh father, you’re okay.” Likewise, Alanna moves quickly to remove the ropes that hold his arms fast. He returns the hug in kind. “Thank god.” He exclaims. The others walk over to greet the scientist when suddenly Minerva swings around and slaps the Cimmerian hard across the face, knocking his hat clean off. “You could’ve killed him you beast.” She cries and sobs into her father’s shirt. The cowboy shrugs coldly and picks up his hat. He brushes it off. “I don’t miss kid.” But his words are lost to the loud sobs of joy.
Meanwhile upstairs, an ebon cloaked gentleman festooned with a top hat and the smell of death enters the tea house. He views the panorama of ruin around him. His eyes go wide as he sees his fallen summoned demon strewn about the floor. Pulling out an eldritch amulet he peers into it. A foggy vista takes shape within its tiny confines. From a globe upon his desk in the room below, he sees the team rescuing his captive. He groans as he becomes aware that his arch-nemesis, Vimes and his sister are involved. But he nearly shouts as he sees his own hired assassin, the Cimmerian has traded sides as well. Cursing beneath his breath, he mutters, “Master Carcaros will not be pleased.” and makes his departure.
Below in the tiny room, Micajah makes the team aware that Black’s plans are larger than they could ever imagine. Although they now know that Black is here in Japan, he warns them not to continue their search until they seek guidance. He convinces the team that it is time to reconvene. It is time that the group meets Mr. Lincoln. “Stop stop stop, hold it right there partner. I happen to know as the only bonafide American here, that Mr. Lincoln is 1. Dead as a doorknob. God rest his soul. And 2. Not interested in Perpetual whatever and hocus pocus.” The team looked at the sole disputer as he returned a queer stare at them. Micajah was first to speak, “and what if I told you that Lincoln faked his death? What if I told you that it was indeed Mr. Lincoln that began this modern underground movement that is Infinium and he is a freedom fighter in the underworld and is currently based in Australia.” The Cimmerian looked oddly at the scientist as if he were about to punch him in the nose for desecrating the history of his American president. “…and what if I told you to stick it up your…”
“Then it’s settled.” Axel quickly interrupted. “We will head to Australia.”
Posted 11 June 2011 - 10:58 PM
Posted 11 June 2011 - 11:11 PM
Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:55 AM
The ending was a little rushed, I'd have liked to have heard what Mr Butterfield had to say.
One minor thing, "Eh? You aren’t going to rust or nothing are you?" would be "anything" as opposed to "nothing", Mr Beckett was raised as an upper class gentleman. That's a minor thing though, heh.
Posted 12 June 2011 - 07:58 AM
One minor thing, "Eh? You aren’t going to rust or nothing are you?" would be "anything" as opposed to "nothing", Mr Beckett was raised as an upper class gentleman. That's a minor thing though, heh.
Not Minor. It's your character. Fixed. As for Butterfield at the end, I actually was planning a momentum building speech for that part, but I figured too much. Guess not. I might add it later. Good to know you guys are paying attention.
The Rookie should be pulling in with the final chapter, where we will introduce, Delilah, Max Masters, Issa, Dreadlock and more. It'll be interesting to see the Manliest Man meet the Texan. Too big manly alpha male personas. I hope Axel and Vimes don't stop for anymore tea with him around.
Posted 23 June 2011 - 01:34 PM
Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:30 PM
Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:42 PM
Yeah, who's writing the next part? I need to tap my foot impatiently at them.
I might be wrong but I don't think anyone is quite yet. tap your foot at yourself if you like.
Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:47 PM
Edit: Nevermind. I can't seem to find it.
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