Dripping with swamp water and mud, Cyn clenched her fist and extended an orihalcite claw. “My origin story? Surprise, jackass: I lived my origin story. It was shitty. It was painful.” She brandished her claw with a grim expression. “Mind if I demonstrate?”
Talbot smirked, making a point of cracking his knuckles. “Oh there’s that McAllister aggression. Did I hear right? That this little party’s being broadcast globally?” He stepped to the water’s edge and threw his arms out in a grand gesture. “Come on and gut me like a pig then. Show the world that you were never really a hero; just a down south thug pretending to be one.”
Cyn growled and with some effort, withdrew the claw. “You’re really trying to play the moral high ground here? You kidnapped kids! Experimented on them! One of my friends was stuck on the astral plane because of you! You cut on Jun so much… I’ve seen the scars.” Wading through the water, she moved toward him with stony determination.
“So maybe I’m not going to kill you. But I’m going to kick your ass all the same.”
She reach Talbot in a handful more strides, feinted with a left, … Continue reading
“What did you do?” Vorpal demanded from atop the ancient tower she suddenly found herself on.
“Why do you think this was me?” Warrick shot back. He was standing on the wall adjoining said tower—no armor, no armbands he used to summon Isp and Osp, no chain-link belt—No metal at all. He was wearing only the black togs and Zorro-style bandanna over the top half of his face.
Vorpal leapt nimbly down from the tower to the wall. She was wearing her combat outfit, complete with her cowl. “Because this sort of thing is what happens to heroes, not people like me. Do you ever hear of anyone not of your… persuasion running into dragons or giant centipedes,”
“Or metal-bending ninjas who moonlight as—”
She cut him off. “Shut it. From that ‘intro’, we’re being broadcast and I’d rather everyone from Taiwan to Texas knowing my business. Now explain how we ended up here and what this guy expects us to do.” She ran one hand over the orihalcite chainmail that made up part of her suit. “And why is my suit made of… glass?”
Warrick raised an eyebrow as a sudden thought struck him. “You couldn’t have felt that … Continue reading
“Bet our president wouldn’t be part of a super-strike force against magical jackasses,” Tammy mused aloud as she, President Esteban-Vega, and Tink strode toward the main gates of Mara Sangua. “Are you the coolest world leader, or does Queen Charlotte fight aliens in another dimension on the weekends?”
She was practically skipping around her two relatively silent teammates, occasionally checking the shaped iron bars strapped to her wrists to make sure she was able to fight at the moment’s notice. When she got no reply, she huffed in annoyance and started kicking at roots along the path.
The void of conversation she left behind didn’t take long to get to the others and it was the President who cracked first. “I know what we’ve done here isn’t right.” She kept her eyes straight ahead as she walked, not even glancing aside to see if Tink was responding. “Yes, there are some of us who genuinely worry about the dangers we personally present, but you’re right: that was never really the spirit of The Separation Act.”
After a few yards walked in silence, she continued, “The… descendants… of Columbia had spent a generation being abused, treated like weapons and tools instead … Continue reading
Reaching the Mara Sangua was easier said than done. After a decade, the soil treatments inside the plantation still kept the jungle from reclaiming it, but there were no such protections for the road leading to it. Ten miles out, and the APC could carry them no further.
“We need to stay to the road—or what’s left of it,” stated the President, as they followed remnant of the road. It was mostly now marked by a lack of trees and a wealth of low-growing plant life that was wide enough to cause a break in the canopy above. “The jungle out to two miles around Mara Sangua is riddled with traps both to keep interlopers out and the workers in. We didn’t bother to clear them when we shut the place down, so many will still be operational.”
“Isn’t walking right up to the main gates going to make it super-clear to the faeries that we’re coming?” Kura asked.
“Cartel traps are designed to make an example as well as hinder or kill. Imagine a spike that drops out of the trees to impale you through the liver and leave you hanging there, or a pit trap that drops you … Continue reading
A steady rain was pattering down by the time the military APC reached the site of the attack.
An elderly electric bus had run off the road and stuck a tree. It’s rear doors had been left open and the rain was turning the dirt road around it into mud. Bluish blood mixed with it was one of the three soldiers President Esteban-Vega brought with her crouched over the body of one of the small gray-furred creatures—korrigan–that had pursued the Descendants in the Lost World.
“Shot by the bus driver,” explained one of the other soldiers, introduced tot he group as Colonel Song. He was a Chinese man whose face was badly scarred on the right side. It looked like he’d been burned. “According to the tourists, he killed this one and the other one,” he pointed to another body on the other side of the road, which the third soldier was in the process of covering with a tarp, “wounded another of the little ones and the big bastard.”
“The question is why they attacked in the first place,” said Warrick, carefully not looking at the corpses. He covered by focusing on the crud spear lodged in the bus’s … Continue reading
“You have to admit that they’re better than one might expect,” Juniper was saying as she and Melissa were being hustled down hospital corridors by a pair of men in suits.
Melissa glared aside at her. “Are you actually trying to look on the bright side and the best you can come up with is that our hospital gowns are higher quality than normal?”
“Well yeah. All things considered… that they don’t open in the back is the best thing I can come up with.”
One of the suits snorted and therefore earned the full power of Melissa’s glare. “I thought you didn’t understand English.” The man shared a look with his counterpart and stoically set his jaw. “Right. We’re not going to let down our guards and tell our secrets just because there might be a language barrier. Haven’t you heard? Our most important secrets are already out there for everyone to hear.”
“Maybe it’s the opposite,” Juniper offered. “They look like Feds, so maybe they’re not talking to us so they don’t let on about something they don’t want us to know. Like how we got here. We’re not still in Venezuela, you know?”
“Why would you say … Continue reading
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