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
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