Infinium: Birth of Perpetual Motion
Posted 19 June 2012 - 04:18 PM
Crixus eagerly gazed out the window at the rolling plains of East Africa. He had grown uneasy being on the gondola, and was eager to run the earth once again. The team all met in the lobby as they pulled into the Quinne Airdocks. Vimes was the last to arrive.
Axel slowly puffed on his pipe, wincing from his injuries suffered from Dreadlock. His neck still cracked every time he turned it.
“How is Alanna making out?” He sympathetically asked.
“Not well. She won’t be accompanying us.”
Axel rubbed his neck as he responded, “I’m sorry. We could’ve really used her for this. Her skills in the African jungle could’ve really been used.”
“Just put me in a room with Black and I can end this today!” Max interjected as he strode by with several cases upon his shoulder.
Vimes sized up the large man, but still found it unlikely. He decided not to answer the comment.
“Don’t count us out yet Axel. I am still a detective.”
Minerva then stepped forward.
“While I hate to discredit the great detective known as Alexander Vimes, but maybe we should find a native to help. They would know the area better than any of us, and be able to spot any living dead walking about.”
There was an awkward silence after she pointed out an obvious solution that had escaped them all.
“Shit. I thought ya was the geniuses.” The Cimmerian laughed. The gondola shook as it landed.
Max smirked as the Cimmerian continued to laugh a hearty laugh.
“Good idea.” Vimes said before walking towards the door. Axel wasn’t far behind him.
The fans weren’t doing much. The African heat and humidity was almost unbearable to the Infinium team. Max had brought in the last of the cases and equipment that the team had transported on the gondola. The last piece, of course, was the brass man himself. It was held in a large case and wheeled out by five men.
Saigo was the last to enter the lobby. The team sat, or baked, in a waiting room adjacent to it and were all moving rather slowly, seeming more preoccupied with sustaining some cool rather than move.
“This would seem like a vacation.” Saigo stated plainly.
The comment caught the team off guard.
“Listen here girl, it is hot. Black can wait ‘til the blazin’ sun goes down.” The Cimmerian said as as he laid his head back in the lounge chair.
Axel huffed. “I’m not one to fall for stereotypes, but you do fit the lazy American quite well Cimmerian.” He said wiping sweat from his brow.
“Saigo is right. This is no vacation. Though our bodies may be weak and the heat is unreal there is no question what we should be doing.”
“And what exactly is that?” Vimes interjected.
“Lincoln already showed us where to go. It would only be a little more than a days travel by the of the map.”
“Crazy talk.” This time it was The Cimmerian who interjected. “Black has a damn army. We can’t just run into that without doing some sort of spy work to find out what we’re in for.”
“Sounds like someone’s scared to me.” Max added.
He sneered and placed his hand on his howdah.
Vimes quickly jumped in now. “Hold on now gentlemen, hold on. I sense it’s more than heat that is causing such short tempers at the moment.”
Axel’s eyes opened.
“Black. He knows we’re here.”
“Precisely.” Vimes answered.
There was an awkward silence for a moment as the team watched each other, as if waiting for Black to leap out of the shadows and attack.
Vimes continued, “ We’ll follow Minerva’s plan and go out first thing in the morning to find a helpful native.”
“These jungles actually aren’t very different from the jungles of Khazan. I’m confident it won’t take long to find Black’s hideout.” Victor added.
“Yes, but tonight we rest. Tomorrow we will find Black and we will end this.” Vimes’ words were full of conviction.
The morning seemed to come too quick. It arrived along with a blaring train horn. The heat, however, was abated. The sky was grey with gloom. Clouds swirled in the grey sky, driven by unnatural winds. While the team was grateful for the sun’s leave, without it, the morning was especially eerie.
Rain fell lightly upon Axel’s window sill.
Axel looked up from his work when he heard the noise. He had been working on the Brass man, making it harder to fall to tricks akin to what Dreadlock pulled on the Gondola. He didn’t want any surprises if they were to meet Black today. He could then feel a sudden and familiar presence in the room.
“Vimes, my boy, you certainly must learn to use a door if you plan to stay with the living. This walking through walls act just won’t do.” Axel quipped.
“The rest of the team is up. We will depart in no less than an hour.” He then vanished as quickly as he appeared, not allowing Axel to come back with another quip.
“Very well then.”
The team slowly but surely poured out of the hotel. The seven team members found themselves waiting for Axel last.
“I told him an hour.” Vimes said hastily.
“That you did, my good sir.” Axel’s voice came from up above as he slowly descended in the Brass Man armor.
He landed heavily in the sodden dirt and removed his new face mask.
“Are you sure you won’t rust out here?” Minerva asked playfully as she stood beside Crixus and Victor, who carried her umbrella.
“Quite positive that won’t be a problem.” He answered.
The team walked on until they arrived at the railroad tracks. It separated the small city from the wilds of the jungle and as they neared it a man called out from the office beside it. No doubt he owned the tracks.
“Gentlemen, Ladies! May I help you?” He cried out through the rain.
The Cimmerian answered, “Where can we find some natives around here?”
“Why on God’s green earth would you want a run-in with those savages? Come in, come on out the rain.”
The team filed into the small establishment. They barely fit into the cramped waiting room. There sat a desk across from the door, but no secretary sat there. Mr. Helm gave Brass Man an odd look as the massive metal man ducked to enter the door.
“I’m Mr. Helm. I run the those tracks there, and when I saw you about to cross ‘em. I thought I’d warn you about the devils that ran free on the other side.”
“Devils?” Vimes inquired.
“Those damn natives! They’ve been in my side since we started the tracks! Sabotage every attempt at building upon it.”
“I’m sure you’d do the same if someone started building a train on your home too.” Minerva said with a polite smile.
“No doubt, you would stop at nothing to defeat the intruders.” Victor added with a hiss.
Mr. Helm simply glared at the two before Vimes finally got to the business of the matter.
“Do you know where we can find the natives, or not?”
“A means away beyond the tracks. I’m sure they’ll find you before you find them. Now, if that’s all I do have some business to attend to.”
The team realized they were dismissed and set off beyond the railroad tracks.
Rain fell through the cracks of the thick canopy up above and the team trudged on. Victor and Vimes led the way for the team.
“Wait!” Victor then suddenly bellowed. Everybody halted as Victor brought his face to the ground. A thin wire was raised inches off the floor across the path. “This jungle is boobytrapped.”
Just as the words left his mouth a ring of warriors dropped from the trees and surrounded the team. They immediately put their backs to each other, naturally falling into a defensive formation.
It was hard to see the warriors’ faces through the shade of the trees, but the shadows of their faces were menacing. Their leader then stepped forward. A young warrior, younger than the rest and his face was filled with hatred.
“Why have you entered this land? You are not welcome here. Turn back now.”
“We are not here for trouble. We simply seek a guide to-”
“We will not show you the secrets of our land just for you to steal them away to your own. Leave now.”
“You misunderstand me.” Vimes said in an attempt to convey his meaning.
“No, you misunderstand me. Turn back now, or you’ll be turned back.”
A silence lingered as neither group yielded.
The leader then flipped forward as a torrent of flames flew from his fingertips as he landed. The Infinium team all dodged the blast, but were immediately met with another warrior. Vimes phased as a warrior plunged his spear into what would have been Vimes’ intestines. Vimes returned a kinetic strike of his own, sending the warrior to the floor. The rest of the team, however, were having more difficulty with the militia.
Saigo’s sword met with the warrior’s curved metal blade. They exchanged blows before she summoned a wind to set the warrior aback, leaving space for her charge forward once again.
Max Masters threw a warrior from his back as another leaped at him, which he caught in his large hands. He laughed as he stomped the ground shaking the nearby warriors to the ground.
Victor moved swiftly within the chaos, disarming the warriors with a passing, dodging the sharp ends of their weapons.
Axel was in a standoff with the milita’s leader as their flames met. Sweat matted Axel’s hair to his forehead beneath his metal mask, the temperature in his suit was rising.
The voice bellowed through the jungle and every one of the voiced ceased fighting.
A large African then approached from the shadows of the jungle behind the militia’s leader. The leader turned and seemed to become smaller beside the larger warrior.
“Issa-” He was cut off with a raise of his hand.
“You are Infinium, yes?”
“Yes.” Vimes answered.
Issa’s face then softened. “Then come, we have much to discuss.”
“But Issa!” The young warrior cried.
The Infinium team was then led by the very warriors that moments ago were attempting to take their life. Issa explained how he knew of them on the way.
“Your leader, Lincoln, had sent me a letter some time ago, asking me to join your group but foolishly I declined. I felt that leaving Africa would leave it wide open to the very evils that has befallen it now. He warned me that you would be coming here.”
“So he told you what we intend to do?” Axel asked.
“Yes, and I intend to use all my resources to ensure that you defeat Black.”
Issa stepped through a veil of foliage that led to his modest village. Outside of the village was a group of sentries every so yards along with a tent. Issa pulled the flap aside inviting the team in. Senzi entered, but the remainder of the warriors stood guard outside.
“You must excuse Senzi. We have grown very protective of our land over the years. There are men who try to steal it from us with every chance they get.”
“No ill feelings held.” The Cimmerian said, speaking for the team.
Inside the crimson tent was an array of African blades, blunt weapons, and armor. There was even a stray pistol. A large oak table sat in the middle of the tent and upon it was a map of the area. It was circled and X’d out in many areas along with battle plans scribbled on the side of it. None of the team understood the characters, however.
“Good. I assume Lincoln has told you where Black now resides?”
“Yes. Hami-Miji.” Axel quoted.
“Yes, it is still a wonder to my people how he even came upon the city, let alone seized it. His army must have grown.”
“You have seen his army?” Victor asked.
“Yes, but only small bands that wandered too close to the village. We were barely able to hold them off before we recruited help from various neighboring tribes to form the larger group of men you see throughout the village. They shift between villages periodically.”
The rain becomes heavier as it pelts the crimson linen of the tent. Inside the team continues to discuss with Issa the logistics of his plan and is quite surprised by his tactical knowhow. After a few adjustments the team is pleased with the plan, the plan to retake Hami-Miji.
Issa rounds up a band of his finest warriors to accompany them, but leaves Senzi behind to protect the village. They waste no time plunging themselves deep into the jungles to find Black and the City of Hami-Miji.
“Please, tell me, how has this city been able to avoid the eye of other civilizations ‘till now?” Axel inquired as he walked behind Issa who slashed their way through the wet jungle.
“Hami-Miji holds many secrets that even the Queen, my close friend, is not told of. The ones who do find the city usually do not make it back to inform others.” He said with a chuckle.
Nobody talked for the rest of the walk. It was a long journey, but the team was moving fast. It was impossible to judge the time by the sun with all the clouds that gloomed the sky, but it had to be about four hours after noon when they reached the large ivory walls.
“Breathtaking.” Victor said as they admired the wall.
“Yes, it is a wonder, but we must keep moving.”
“Okay the things pretty, now how the hell do we get over the damned thing?” The Cimmerian said, ready to get to the matter.
“I believe this is Mister Vimes play.” Issa said stepping aside. He allowed Vimes to enter first.
“Very well.” Vimes said as his ghostly figure floated between the no man’s land that separated the wall from the jungles foliage cover. He stood against the wall and Issa quickly sprinted the the distance to the wall.
“And you’re sure you can do this?” Issa asked as he offered his hand.
Issa closed his eyes as he and Vimes floated through the ivory walls.
The warrior’s heart sunk when his eyes opened and leveled upon the destruction of the once great city. Hot embers still kindled softly upon the homes that were closest to the great wall.
“I’m- I’m so sorry.” Vimes begins.
“...We must get to the gate.” Issa said, regaining his composure.
They moved quickly through the side streets. They had not seen any of Black’s army until they neared the gate. The various abominations lingered about the gate controls. It was different from the pulley system he was used, when Issa was last in the city. They stood behind the cover of what was left of a home. No doubt, the home housed multiple families and it sickened Issa to wonder where they might be at the moment. His eyes fell upon the group of undead that guarded the gate.
“And how do you suppose we go about this?” Vimes asked as he surveyed the situation.
“I suggest a directive stratagem.” Issa said lifting his spear.
The air swirled unnaturally as thunder crackled in the sky. He charged with a warrior’s bellow and immediately caught the abominations attention. He rocketed his spear forward and it plowed into the first of the group. He leaped forward, pulling the spear free from the rotten flesh as stinking viscera poured onto the dirt floor. The spear twirled in his hand, striking down all his enemies. As he neared the gate the zombified creatures were flung out of his path of destruction. He turned to see Vimes shadow boxing. He grinned as he flipped over the final creature and turned midflight, stabbing the creatures jugular with the tip of his spear before landing. He then eyed the control panel, completely lost in the technology.
Vimes soon approached from behind.
“I would be quick Issa. No doubt that was not all of Black’s army.” He said anxiously.
Issa shook his head before answering, “This is not the pulley system that was previously here.”
Vimes took a closer look at the panel, following the large chains that and screws.
He then turned a knob or two and then flipped a switch. There was a terrible thunk, before the walls slowly rose from the floor. Outside the door, the rest of the team stood with similar creatures at their feet.
“What took you pansies so long?” Cimmerian said as he strode by, his howdah smoking from use.
“It is not important. We must keep moving.” Issa answered.
“Now where’s that Black bloke?” Max said smashing his fist in his other palm.
“No doubt the palace.” Vimes answered looking to towards the center of the city. The destruction witnessed at the first wall spread to the second much higher and thicker wall. According to Issa’s intelligence, turrets are placed on the second wall and is specifically used for when the first wall is breached. The city was built to protect the loyalists and royalty that lived in the palace, sacrificing the peasants and laborers that were placed outside the walls. If the wall was approached you would undoubtedly find fire and arrows falling upon you along with anything else the defenders could get their hands on. Luckily for the team, Issa had spent many a days in the city as a boy. There were, however, secret pathways burrowed deep beneath the city. These tunnels were a labyrinth created for the event of the city being taken over from the inside out, so the warrior will still be able to reach the palace without breaching the second wall which would be quite a task. Issa was confident that Black was not aware of the tunnels as for they were created and abandoned so long ago they aren’t heard of.
The tunnels were dark and the walls were covered in a thick, wet slime with lichen hanging from the ceiling of the tunnel. Issa led the way as the group managed through the smell and darkness. Eventually a wavering light could be seen at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel opened to the smell of burning flesh and what could only be described as an assembly line of the living dead. The creatures dragged limp limbs behind as they hauled the body parts of the mangled Africans, which is what Black’s army what most consistent of at the moment. The sight was nauseous, but the team could not look away.
“Oh my god.” Minerva said, gasping as she covered her mouth.
Victor Beckett stepped forward to break the trance of disbelief that had struck the group. “What do we do?”
“We destroy it. We destroy it all.” Issa said with flames in his eyes.
“Well, well... Look what we have here!”
The whole assembly line paused at the booming and cold voice. It was none other than Lord Black himself. He looked down upon the team from above as he leaned on his staff.
“Detective Vimes, old chap, how are you and what the hell are you doing in Africa?”
“You know full well why we are here Black! End this now before it has to go any further so no more innocent lives have to be lost!”
“If it’s one thing I’ve learned in Africa is none of these mongrels are innocent! They are forever to be pawns to those greater than them! Though, I must say this is not the only thing I have learned as you can see. I have found the true machine of Perpetual Motion in my new army, something I know you can appreciate my old friend. Through my profound intellect and years of studying I have created an unliving, unstoppable army will forever grow! And whatmore, it is created of a people that will not be missed. I have done the world a favor, most certainly.”
Issa stepped forward menacing, but stopped, feeling the Cimmerians heavy hand upon his chest.
“In due time son.” He whispered.
“But enough of these pleasantries… Make sure these old friends feel welcomed.” He ordered as he turned, his black cape flapping dramatically.
The crazed army of undead turned instantly from a well coordinated assembly line to a feral pack as it charged the Infinium team.
“Don’t let Black get away!” Vimes yelled as he phased through one of the clockwork zombies, pulling out a ticking heart and tossing it to the ground.
At hearing this Beckett was off, slicing through the army and adroitly using his speed and agility to catch up to Black.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team was cornered by the army. Crixus pounced on one of the oncoming, tearing at its throat with its powerful metal fangs, allowing the black puss to bleed from its neck. The hot whistle of released steam could also be heard nearby followed by the coarse cries of the undead.
“We need to regroup!” Axel cried as he stopped the release of the steam and then lifted off into the air as two of the clockwork monstrosities clawed at his feet.
“What we need to do is get outta her’. There’s no end to these demons!” Cimmerian responded as the howdah fired. “Who we need to be getting’ is Black!”
“I agree!” Issa answered strained. A heavy body slid gingerly off of his spear, smearing black goo behind.
The team pummeled through the crazed army and it seemed for every monstrosity that dropped another rose. However, the team, in time, bee lined a path through the army in the direction after Black and Beckett and eventually found themselves at palace doors.
Beckett sniffed the warm air. He had followed Black through a secret door and now was well into the palace and was close onto his scent. He sniffed the air. Black’s scent strangely seemed to be coming from all directions.
“You should have stayed in the wild where you belonged!” Black bellowed as he swiped at him with his staff. Beckett easily dodged before growling and returning the favor with his claws, but the staff was quickly raised to deflect the attack.
“They should have known better than to send an animal after a gentleman.” He said as he stamped his staff into the ground.
Max Masters strained against the heavy doors as his manliness was put to the test against them. The doors slowly crept open for the team to slip through one by one as the large army of undead was quickly falling upon them. Once on the other side, the team pushed the doors shut, hoping to buy themselves some time. Just then, a pained cry could be heard throughout the warm palace hall ways.
“Beckett…” Minerva said woefully.
The team was off once again in the direction of the scream and eventually found themselves in the throne room. The palace walls were stone white and the room was filled with tinted light from a sun that had reached its zenith. Black sat arrogantly upon the throne chair of marble and ivory with his staff in his lap. An abnormally large clockwork creature stood to his left and Dreadlock leaned against the throne on his right. The large creature smiled a toothless and gruesome smile at the team as they slowly filed into the room.
Minerva was the first to speak.
“What have you done with Beckett!?”
“He lives… for now.”
“You are not fit for that throne, Black.” Issa then interjected.
“Am I not? Look at what I have created? I have created life! I am a GOD.”
“Enough of this shit.” The Cimmerian cursed as he raised and fired the howdah, but with a swift motion Black raised his staff and the bold of energy was reflected, aimed right at the Cimmerian’s shooting arm. He cried out as the gun fell from his crippled hand. Minerva immediately came to his aid, attempting to stop the bleeding.
Black then snickered as he looked upon the team. “The future you say? A pity. Finish them.”
“Gladly, mon!” Dreadlock said as his black dreadlocks swarmed the team. The large creature also wasted no time, moving swiftly towards the team. He collided with Max Masters in a head on collision and immediately they fell into a contest of strengths.
Saigo sliced at the black tendrils as they tried to entice her and leaped at the throne, swiftly bringing her blade down upon Black’s head, but she was quickly knocked aside.
Vimes caught her telekinetically before attacking black himself.
“I have killed you before Alexander, I can do it again.”
“We will see.”
Vimes immediately telekinetically tried to pull the staff from Black’s grip, but was unsuccessful and black countered with energy attack from his staff. Alex wisely dives out
of the way.
He slowly rose from his throne.
Max ducked as the large pieced together fist flew inches over his head. The large creature proved that its strength was more than formidable. Max was having trouble with the abomination, but knew he had to finish it off quickly for the rest of the team was in trouble. Dangling mid-air and being crushed to death would be a closer description.
Dreadlock held the team helpless in the air by his dreaded locks and his grip was slowly tightening.
He could tell by the scream of pain.
Max quickly stomped his foot upon the white tiled floor, shaking the palace’s very foundation. The creature before him stumbled and this gave him the opening he needed. He glided across the floor and tackled the creature into the stone wall, cracking its very neck. He then moved quickly back to the team.
Vimes, meanwhile, was kept very busy with Black. The dark magician volleyed bolts of energy that crashed into the palace pillars which Vimes was forced to find refuge behind.
“You can’t hide all day Alex!”
Vimes would not answer but peek slowly around the damaged pillar. He had to make a move and quickly.
Dreadlock’s teeth gritted as he tightened his grip further on the Infinium team. Axel’s propulsion system was failing him and soon, if he wasn’t careful, the whole suit would cease to function. It didn’t have much left to give.
Suddenly, as the ground shook, the grip of the black tendrils lessened. Dreadlock turned to see a Max Masters charging toward him. He sidestepped him but could not hold on to the team. They fell to the floor, catching their breath as fast as they could before returning to the offensive.
Issa landed first and fell right into a stride as leaped at Dread. Dread dodged effortlessly before volleying Issa’s midsection with jabs. A familiar whistle then forced him to contort his body as a torrent of steam bypassed him, but dodging the hot blast caused him to fall right into Master’s hands. He clutched the Caribbean. The manly veins in his arms bulged as he choked the life out of his body. He fell limp to the stone floor.
The pillar crumbled and the thick white dust flew up into the air. When the dust settled however Vimes was nowhere to be found. Black grimaced.
“Still playing the hiding game I see.”
The voice came from directly behind Black. He swiveled and struck with his staff but it simply sliced through Vimes’ ghostly form. Vimes then plunged his arm into Black’s chest.
“No…” Black cried weakly as he could feel his body go numb. He fought not to lose consciousness.
“It’s over Black. You’ve lost.” Vimes said as Axel, Masters, and Issa joined him.
“No, it is you who have lost. Mankind is on a downward spiral into an abyss and now thanks to you I cannot save it.”
“No, you’re wrong. You think you’re created this engine perpetual motion in the undead, but it is the living that truly carry this trait. Mankind will always be moving forward as long as men like you are not a part of it. I may not be able to kill you, but I will try like bloody hell.”
Issa then stepped forward and punted the man in the head, knocking him out cold.
The team then freed the Palace guards together flushed out the rest of the clockwork zombies. Without the direction of Black they were easily rounded up and laid down.
Queen Asilil was later found in the underground dungeons of the palace. She was held under a trance, but with time Vimes broke it. She immediately thanked the team and celebration was held shortly after.
The velvet curtains hung from the white walls of dining room as music filled the scented room. Flutes and drums played just under the volume of the numerous conversations being held across the table. Asilil spared no expense for the saviors of Hami-Miji and potentially the world.
“Here here! This dinner is held is honor of our saviors and guests!” She announced lifting her golden goblet. The crowd of nobles and the like cheered and clapped showing their appreciation. “Without their courage and teamwork no doubt Hami-Miji would have been the launching point for unimaginable evils at the hands of Fenris Black! I must ask what do you call yourselves?”
The team all shared a smile as they looked to Alexander Vimes.
“We are the Infinium, the protectors of humanity in the changing era.”
The moon was large tonight, larger than usually. It felt as if, if she wanted to, all Asilil had to do was simply reach for the silver orb and she could have it. She could not sleep, no matter how much wine she had downed during the celebration of the Infinium. She had tired all of the usual tricks and even the peacefulness of the stars could not by her rest.
For some reason she was uneasy, something was wrong. She could feel it… But, the feeling was suddenly dismissed and she returned to her dark room from the balcony. She snuggled underneath her silk covers as she turned back and forth. Her mind danced along the lines of consciousness and unconsciousness as a being moved in the shadows. Slowly, its white faced peered into the reach of the moonlight.
“Say my name child…”
“...Master… Master Carcaros.”
Posted 20 June 2012 - 03:38 PM
Bravo. Very nice. When this thing got stalled for so long I was afraid the ending would be rushed, but this worked out very nicely. I thought you did a good job handling the dialogue, it can be tough to show everyone equally when there are so many characters but there seemed to be a fair balance. If I had any criticism I suppose I could have enjoyed a little more visual details, but thats nit-picky, and there's a tradeoff between details and pacing the story.
All and all a fitting end for the Infinium experiment.
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