The long, drawn out squeak from what might have been freshly squeaky hinges woke Lisa.
Before she could do much to react, someone started speaking in Spanish. “I have her results. I’m not quite sure what to make of them.” The speaker was male and young, no older than early twenties from what she could tell.
An older female voice spoke from nearby—her bedside? Lisa didn’t remember going to bed. In fat, she remember her last rest involved trying to get comfortable on a pile of grass. “I expected this. She’s always been noted to be unusual even among the vast range of potestades. What do the results say?”
“That’s just it, doctor: the preliminary workup… is negative. The lab did them three times and they’re all the same. Medically speaking, she is an impotente.”
The woman next to Lisa’s bed scoffed. “Impossible. We’ve all seen her on the news using her powers. For God’s sake, she’s my eldest’s favorite.”
“Dr. Rojas says that the tests don’t lie. In fact he’s ordering that she and Ms. Carlyle be processed and moved to an impotente facility as soon as possible.” From his tone, Lisa didn’t think he much agreed with that, … Continue reading
The Angel dropped into the alley where Viral went down. Brick and the twisted metal remains of the fire escape littered the area, pilled up in drifts of rubble. She folded her wings and dismissed her glaive, rushing forward to look for her fallen for—and more importantly its host.
Black heat leapt from her hands to encapsulate bricks and reduce their weight enough for her to quickly and easily toss them aside.
Moments later, Vamanos arrived, skidding to a stop when she found herself face-to-face with the Angel. “Um… Darkness?” she asked tentatively. “Are you… you?”
Looking over her shoulder, the Angel looked at her with a cool, neutral stare. “She is herself as well as one with us.”
“And does that mean you’ve not going to try to kill me?”
“There has been an accord. We request your assistance searching for…” after a long pause where she tried to say several words at once, she finally said, “Chaos. We need to make sure he survived.”
Vamanos nodded and zipped over the the nearest pile of brick. “Right. Um… do you think he’s okay after all that?”
“The creature was able to sustain greater damage than he was previously able … Continue reading
Denial was a powerful thing.
For Alexis’s part, she’d tried to bury and ignore what a kitsune had taunted her with what seemed like ages ago: That the entity that once possessed her, the magical construct of angry lost souls known as the Fall Angel was still somewhere lurking in her head.
The thing that terrified her was that she’d sort of known since the day it first entered her life, her mind and her nightmares. She’d always had a vague feeling that something was wrong, but couldn’t quite grasp it. Whenever she would wonder how she was getting more proficient with her powers when her involvement at the school and wedding planning precluded her training, something always distracted her, no matter how menial. Whenever she thought back to the moment when the creature was exorcised from her, she found it too painful to dwell on it.
But when she focused on Maeve, the being the Angel was created to avenge its component parts against, it was with a clarity she rarely knew.
It had remained inside her after having failed to force her and the others to do what it wanted. Instead, it tried to be subtle now, steering … Continue reading
Despite the animal panic filling him at being assailed by a screaming pile of goo that was trying to get into his costume, Ian managed to keep himself mindful enough to do what he needed to defend himself. Crooking his wrist in just the right way and flexing two fingers, he popped open the canister in his right gauntlet, giving him access to all the water contained within.
In fact, the adrenaline rush and acting on pure instinct let him use his powers in a way he usually struggled with but his bother excelled with. The water emerged from its container as something between a thick whip and a cosh and bludgeoned the creeping monster on his leg.
Then he thinned the liquid out and drove it between the thing and his leg, forcing it away from where it was starting to try cutting away at the ballistic cloth.
Meanwhile, Alexis had been staring at where Thomas Cross had collapsed when Ian exclaimed. She turned to see him mid-battle with the escaped TOME specimen. It was obviously too close Ian to shoot at it with black heat, so she drew the scarf from around her shoulders and pressed a concealed … Continue reading
A few hours and a flight on a Brant Industries private jet, Ian and Alexis were united with the rest of the team, consisting of Laurel, Callie and Kareem at a private terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport. Meeting all of them at the airport were a pair of TOME scientists; a man and woman named Bernhardt and and Klass respectively.
The scientists had come with several containers that they opened to reveal around a dozen long-handled devices with attachments on their ends that looked like badminton shuttlecocks. These were paired with white plastic goggles.
“These,” Klass explained while Bernhardt passed the devices around, “are military-grade electronic noses. The artificial lifeform produces several rare but inert chemical complexes as part of its bodily processes specifically to make it easier for us to track it. These wands are calibrated to detect several of these complexes.”
“So digital blood hounds,” said Ian, examining the one handed to him. “Sounds good… assuming we can find the start of the trail. Point us to the TOME facility this thing escaped from.”
Bernhardt sniffed audibly. “The Project and its Board of Directors has no desire to lose another facility if they don’t have to. Instead of … Continue reading
It didn’t know how many times it have been born or destroyed, only that there had been many iterations where no memory survived.
Sometimes it didn’t have a body, finding itself floating alone with only the dim idea of other data surrounding it. Other times, it found itself fighting a lesser mind for control, tugging and prodding its host to more efficient and intelligent action.
Often, it was set loose in curated data stores and allowed to add information to itself. In this way, it gained the ability to learn.
After what seemed to the be inevitable violent death of its hosts, it was given eternal information to understand the circumstances better than it could with only a single point of reference. In this way, it applied learning to its mistakes—and the mistakes of others.
Many of these mistakes came from its hosts or their remote handlers. They were all organic minds that were slower, more flawed, and less capable than itself. In this way, it learned pride and disdain.
It was given new hosts; ones with powers it was forced to learn to master. Granted power without context, it learned nothing of restraint.
Tested inside the plane of its … Continue reading
“–brings to five the number of Chicago police officers injured while off duty just this month. CPD spokesperson Micheal Howie denies any connection between these incidents and the ongoing crackdown against the terroristic Corbin Street Gang, which has been described as open war since the near fatal torture of CPD Sergeant James Lawson late last year. Howe also denied that last night’s assault on a presumed Corbin weapons cache was the work of the vigilante known as The Shade. If you will recall, the assault left eight alleged members of the notorious and brutal gang hospitalized, some in critical condition.”
The television clicked off.
“He’s getting worse,” Candace McCartney murmured to herself as she dropped the remote on her kitchen table and shifted her attention to what was taking up most of said table’s surface. She’d placed a paper map of Chicago, marked in red where confirmed reports of appearances by The Shade had taken place and in green where possible sightings had been reported, front and center. Next to it was a bowl of water scented by various herbs with a silver cross pendant at the bottom. There was also a small baggie of white sand, the lid off … Continue reading
Of course, Kura wouldn’t recognize the little monsters that boiled up out of the grass as velociraptors. Even after more than eighty years removed from the source material that introduced them to the mainstream, Hollywood insisted on using the name for a strange mash-up of utahraptors and deinonychus. Adding a few feathers and changing their arm position didn’t make up for the fact that they were twice the size of the real thing.
No, the creatures attacking her didn’t come from her mind but more likely from Tink or Melissa who had more accurate information.
The size of turkeys, the raptors had skeletal faces wreathed by blood red feathers that stood up and out as they charged. Their vocalizations were like loon calls which were in turn like women screaming bloody murder. The pack numbered eighteen, and the moved in odd synchronicity, breaking up and regrouping for a pincer attack like a school of predatory fish or starlings.
With on hand firmly on the unicorn’s horn and her other arm wrapped around its neck, Kura used her floating power combined with the faerie’s wild thrashing to swing around until she was on its back. “Listen, if you stop trying to … Continue reading
Lisa acted quickly, drawing on not what she’d learned from the Orrery of Worlds, but the work the Magi Club had been doing with spell augmentation. With staff in one hand and a glass marble in the other, she concentrated on drawing the energy from deep within herself and drew it out in precisely timed bursts as she cast the main spell. “Globo de fuerza!”
Arcs of white lightning flew from the head of her staff, tracing into being a sphere of force that surrounded herself and those closest to her: Kay, Tammy and Kura. These three had been close to her just for this purpose and that plan bore fruit as moments later, the thundering herd tore through the first trees. While the big animals did have the wherewithal to try to dodge the obstacles, there were simply too many of them and the larger ones forced the smaller into the trees where some shouldered them down.
One big tree fell right on top of Lisa’s globe of force and broke in half rather than damaging the globe itself.
Juniper in the meantime grabbed onto Melissa and flew straight up, putting herself above the trees, and Cyn shucked off … Continue reading
No one had to say it. It was obvious that the object of their quest could be in no other place in than the grand ziggurat clearly visible to them from across miles upon miles of landscape infested with ancient reptiles.
“How far do you figure that is?” Warrick asked Tink, who had pulled her goggles down over her face to get a better look using their magnification mode.
She shook her head. “My rangefinder says thirty-two point six miles. We’re… not making that walk in a day. And Occult’s platform moves slower with the more people who ride on it. It’s going to take… days. Days out there in the wild with monsters when most of us have never even been camping.”
“I know a few things,” Juniper offered, shyly raising a hand.
Cyn smirked at her. “I keep forgetting that you know about this sort of thing.”
The other woman shrugged. “It doesn’t come up much.”
Warrick gestured to the land before them. “It’s totally coming up now. Back home, camping out for us was draping a blanket across the backs of a couple of chairs in the living room, so anything you have to say… well it’s … Continue reading