Everything hurt, almost like he’d been electrocuted over and over again. His muscles spasmed and ached as he slowly regained consciousness. The whole world seemed...fuzzy and spun round in circles...
Why? What had happened..? Was he dreaming..? The pain seemed too...real for a dream...
No...He’d been fighting. Fighting against...
His eyes flew open as he leapt to his feet, the world returning to normal. His balance returned immediately as he woke, and the odd pain and aching sensation began to recede. His hands snapped into position, his legs straightened and he took in the scene before him.
Bones was still in front of him, standing back, hands at his sides. His gaze was just as unmoving as the rest of his body, staring at something near Dustin’s feet. He almost looked...shocked.
Dustin glanced around until he saw what the Skeleton was looking at.
Grim, sprawled on the ground, his scythe at his side, unconscious.
Dustin stepped back, immediately wary. The last thing he remembered was Grim coming for him, about to take his head off, then…what? What on earth had happened?
Perhaps he’d reacted fast enough; his body’s instincts had surprised him before… But…had he really taken out Grim, the Grim, by reflex? He hadn’t thought it possible, but the proof was at his feet.
Silence reigned for a moment, eventually interrupted by Bones clearing his throat.
Bones: “Well…erm…I’ll admit I’m impressed Mr Michaels...You know, I don’t think Grim’s been knocked out in the past decade. He’s gonna be peeved...”
Dustin spun to face the man, hands raised, curiosity dying. Whatever had happened, he had to push it aside. Bones would be coming for him in an instant...although...no, he’d be coming for Ted Michaels.
But he wasn’t Ted Michaels. He never had been.
Dustin: “For the last time Bones, it’s Dustin Vorn.”
Bones: “Look mate, Vorn’s as dead as they come. And if you know about us, then you’d know about him. Always safer to use a dead man’s name as an out.”
Dustin: “Bones, I’m Dustin! I survived the Skarr…”
Bones: “Sure you did. Now, make this easy on yourself and come quietly Michaels.”
Dustin: “I’m not Ted Michaels! I’m Vorn! Surely you can-“
An eyeblink and Bones was there, his fists striking like a pair of cobras. Dustin parried immediately, barely avoiding the strikes. Bones hardly flinched before coming at him again, punching with inhuman speed.
Dustin ducked, weaved and blocked as best he could, but Bones was damn quick. Quicker than anyone he could remember facing in years!
He swept his leg, but Bones saw it coming. The Skeleton leapt into the air and followed through with a kick to Dustin’s sternum. The foot struck the pressure point between his pectorals and Dustin cried in pain. He stepped back, his arms raised, but Bones was already coming for him, hands flying too fast to see.
Dustin managed to get in a strike of his own, using the opening created by taking Bones’ attacks. His palm shuddered as it thwacked against the Skeleton’s helmet. Still, it gave Dustin a slight reprieve to catch his breath, as well as giving Risa more time to run, to get to the Haven.
More time…yeah, right. Bones was toying with him. The skill difference was simply too great.
He had time for one more breath before Bones was on him again, forcing him to cover up. The Skeleton struck with precision every time, and the sheer strength behind his blows was staggering. Dustin did his best, but it was hopeless, useless…
He was a dead man.
Bones: “Got to admit Michaels, you’ve certainly surprised me.”
Dustin dodged sideways, narrowly avoiding a spinning kick.
Bones: “Yes indeed. Been awhile since I’ve fought someone with your level of talent. Most would’ve caved by now.”
The man leapt forward, fists moving like bullets. Dustin snaked between what he could, managing to get in another two punches before he was forced to block again. His body screamed at the onslaught, blood trickling from his lip. Only adrenaline and sheer willpower kept him going.
Wait, what wa-
The wind rushed out of his gut as Dustin was knocked off his feet. He took a moment to register Grim, awake and glowing with silent anger, a leg falling after delivering a kick that would’ve taken out most opponents with ease. His scythe still lay on the ground a few metres away, but it wasn’t like the man needed it.
Agony clanged through Dustin’s body as he hit the ground, covering his head to avoid injury. Grim loomed over him, Bones at his side. Death. That was what the pair of them were. Unconquerable, unbeatable.
Still, it wouldn’t be the first time he’d fought the unbeatable.
Dustin yelled as he flung himself to his feet, hands raised as the pair came at him. Pain descended, but he evaded and zig-zagged for all that he was worth, never letting his defence fall. He thought he felt his shoulder crack at one point, but it didn’t matter. If he was going to die, then what difference would more pain make?
He ducked a kick from Grim, avoided another swing from Bones and managed to get his own foot through Grim’s defence, forcing the man backwards. Dustin grinned through the pain, even as he covered up as Bones attacked again.
Grim spun, cloak whipping through the air, and slammed his hand forward. Dustin saw it coming and tried to fling his arms up, but he was too late.
The hand shot through his guard and struck Dustin’s throat.
All the breath left Dustin’s body as his jugular trembled. He fell back, gasping for air, trying to keep his fists up, but Bones was too fast. The man’s fingers slammed into pressure points all across Dustin’s body, numbing the areas and locking his joints.
He felt his knees give way as he hit the ground, cursing as he finally managed to force air into his lungs. Feebly, he raised his hands and managed to deflect a kick from Grim at the cost of a spasming pain up his arms. He was dead. He was very dead.
Still….at least he’d let Risa get away. At least it was something.
But…he had promised her he’d survive. Damn it…
Grim’s hands shot forward, battering away Dustin’s crumbling defense with barely a thought. Bones’ strikes had done their work well; he’d lost all feeling in his legs and arms. But still… he wouldn’t give in. He couldn’t. Only when the last breath left his body was his fight done.
With a grunt, Grim pulled him up with a strength his lean frame didn’t show. The Reaper growled beneath his mask, emotionless to the core. Dustin struggled as best he could, but it was pointless.
He kept doing it anyway.
Grim: “Well fought Ted Michaels. I might actually be sore tomorrow. Consider it an accomplishment.”
Dustin: “Glad…I didn’t…disappoint.”
Bones: “Not at all, good sir. It’s just, well, very few have faced us together like that. Where did you learn to fight?”
Grim: “Michaels, do not lie to us. We know the Core, knew every member. You were not among them.”
Bones: “Look mate, you’re going to die anyway. We don’t need you alive, not for the bounty. Why not tell a little truth for on-”
Dustin: “MY NAME IS DUSTIN VORN!!”
Dustin had had enough. With a grunt, he straightened his body and pulled in as much air as he could. His hands shook slightly as they gripped Grim’s wrists, feeling slowly returning.
With one last deep breath, he roared at the pair, eyes flying open, showing every gram of emotion that he had left in his aching body.
Dustin: “Dustin Marshal Vorn, Bravo One, Agent Two!! First operation: Firelight!! Trained under Sal, Helina Trent, Trace Hewitt and the rest of them!!
Dustin: “Almost killed in action after Operation Firelight! Was killed in action after Operation Constrict! WHAT MORE OF THE BLASTED TRUTH DO YOU WANT?!”
His breath left him and Dustin slumped against the wall, his throat sore from bellowing his retort. He closed his eyes for a moment, perhaps to try and avoid the fate that was coming.
His well trained hearing began to pick up the hints of the world behind his eyelids. The slight bustle of the city outside, quieter than usual. The small creak of a nearby building, the near-silent breaths of the two men in front of them.
His strength hadn’t quite left him, but it was fading, and blocked by Bones’ nerve locks. There was little hope in escape, but he’d known that going in. He’d known this was a suicide mission…
To his surprise, he found himself okay with that. He’d never really been afraid of death; his faith had done it’s best to keep him grounded. But even more than that, he’d been able to allow Risa, his companion, his friend, time to escape, to flee, to live....
But still, a little voice in his head kept repeating the same little thought. He couldn’t give up. He’d made a promise… and he had to keep it. He had to...
Bones: “His eyes.”
Dustin let his eyelids open slightly, readjusting to the light, and he realised the pair were staring at him, unmoving. Bones spoke again, something like uncertainty in his voice.
Bones: “Open your eyes.”
Reluctantly, Dustin forced his eyes to open, meeting their stares in silent challenge. The pair seemed to analyse them for a moment, flicking between the two pools of colour. One the colour of deep ocean water, the other like new leaves in spring.
Grim dropped him immediately.
Dustin slid down the wall, but managed to stay on his feet. Enough feeling had returned to keep him propped against the building, though it’d be a few moments before he could move fully again. But…the pair didn’t make a move against him. Instead, they stood back, contemplating carefully. Bones was muttering to himself.
Eventually, Grim broke the silence, his voice softer than before, though with Grim it was nearly impossible to tell.
Grim: “So, Dustin Vorn lives?”
Grim: “And he’s a criminal.”
Grim: “You have proof?”
Dustin: “Uek Ferris. That’s all the proof I need.”
Grim turned to face Bones, the Skeleton oddly silent for once.
Grim: “This changes things.”
Bones: “I know…”
Grim: “What do you propose we do?”
Bones: “Hear them out…that’s all we can do, I suppose. If he really is Vorn, I doubt he’s lying, but we’ll need more of his story to be sure.”
Grim: “And the boy?”
Bones: “Tomas will have to get over his revenge addiction, at least for now. Let’s get the other one back-“
Dustin: “If you go after Risa, I swear, you’ll regret it.”
The pair turned back to Dustin, who had forced himself to his feet, despite his protesting legs. All of him hurt, but his only thoughts were of the woman he’d been willing to die for. He couldn’t let the agents get to her, no matter what.
Bones cocked his head slightly, his voice swapping back to his earlier tone as he spoke.
Bones: “Oh, I have no doubt that we would. But we’ve got no reason to hurt her; not now anyway.”
Dustin: “Like I’d trust you.”
Bones: “Doesn’t matter if you do or you don’t. Fact is, I would like to hear from the both of you.”
Grim: “Agreed. Follow us, if you wish. Or stay here, and we’ll return. It makes little difference.”
Dustin growled in response, but forced his body into motion, one step after the other. Despite being thoroughly confused, and thoroughly ruined, there was no way he’d let these two go after Risa without him.
Bones: “Alright then. Let’s go.”
The pair spun and marched out of the alley, leaving Dustin to hobble after them as the numbness in his bones began to seep away. He ached all over, dozens of bruises blossoming, blood leaking from his lips and a cut just above his eye. But he wouldn’t let it stop him, not when Risa and his promise hung in the balance.
He stumbled around the corner of the alley, eyes widening at the view beyond…
Ten Minutes Earlier.
White hot pain blossomed as Risa hit the ground, her legs giving way beneath her. She rolled as she hit the ground, coming up on one knee. She tried to keep moving, but her side was screeching! She pressed her hand against her abdomen, dropping one of her pistols as she did.
The wetness hit her immediately. What had happened? What…
She’d been shot.
As soon as the realisation crossed her mind, the pain intensified. However, her thoughts began to move all on their own. She knew what to do. Keep pressure on the wound. Stop the blood loss. Keep moving.
She holstered her pistol and picked the other up off the ground. Already the lack of blood was having an affect on her mind, though it may have been the shock. Slowly, too slowly, she pulled herself to her feet and began sprinting as fast as she was able. Her side cried out as she moved, but she kept her hand firm.
The Haven. The Haven had what she needed.
She just needed to…
Voice: “Stop moving, or the next one goes in your head.”
Risa’s breath caught in her throat as she forced herself to stop her mad dash and turn around, eyes welling as the pain increased.
The man…he’d…he’d tricked her. He wasn’t nearly as put out as she’d thought. The instant she’d seen his gun fall, she’d run. Why hadn’t she taken it from him? Stupid, stupid, stupid!
The man began to walk forward, looming over her, pistol pointed directly at her face. Every second movement caused a wince; her bullets had done that much, but his gun was worryingly steady.
He spoke again, and the voice finally clicked into place. This man…he was the same one that had been following them, almost a year ago now. The one that worked with…Taze.
She gulped, sweat billowing from all over, her side crying in agony. Was he Alpha 1? No, Dustin had said that he wasn’t a Core agent back when they’d first seen him. So…who was he?
Man: “Risa Donovan, correct?”
She hesitated, then nodded. This was bad. If she didn’t get away, Dustin was done for. That was it. Carefully, she angled her pistol slightly, to retaliate. If she could get the angle just right, then she could get his head and then…then…
Then she’d become a killer all over again. She couldn’t let that happen. Her conscience wouldn’t survive, even if she did.
Man: “Good. I have a question for you, before you die, and I want your honest answer. Were you happy when you killed my brother?”
Risa paused in confusion, her mind struggling to fight through the pain as she dragged her way through memories. Corvin…did he have a brother? Not that she knew off, but…but…why was it so hard to think?! She was losing too much blood, and adrenaline could only keep her going for so long.
Man: “Answer me, you scum! Why did you have to take him from me?! Why?! Did it give you some sick, twisted satisfaction to watch him bleed out in front of you? DID IT?!”
No, it hadn’t. When she’d killed Corvin…it had broken her. Sure, she’d managed to work through it, but the memories, the anguish…no, there had been no satisfaction.
Risa: “I…No…I’m sorry about him, but he was going… to kill billions of people…I couldn’t do nothing…”
Man: “I’ve never heard such bull! My brother was a damn patriot, a good man! He dedicated his life to the Imperium! And what did he get?! A knife between the shoulder blades, a body that couldn’t be found! He didn’t deserve that! Nobody does!”
The Imperium…backstabbing? What was this man talking about? She raised her gaze to meet his eyes, thoroughly confused as tears of pain rolled down her cheeks.
Risa: “Who…who are you?”
The man straightened, gathering himself. His eyes seemed to burn from within, but his voice was ice cold when he spoke.
Tomas: “My name is Tomas Brock, younger brother of Lachlan Brock, the man you betrayed, the man you murdered. And for him, I’m ending you.”
Her mind flashed back to a white room, mercenaries all around her, Almas Havok with a smug grin...
And Lieutenant Lachlan Brock, a man she’d served under since the Shift, dying in her arms.
She couldn’t help it as a quiet laugh split her lips, a manic chuckle that shocked the man in front of her.
Tomas: “You…you think this is funny?!”
Risa: “No…it’s just…ha ha…this all started with that betrayal…all of this. And now, I’m going to die because of it…it’s like the ultimate kick in the face.”
Tomas: “Betrayal? What are you talking about?!”
Risa: “I didn’t kill your brother Tomas… but it doesn’t matter. Why would you believe the criminal everyone thinks I am?”
Tomas stepped back slightly, his eyes widening in confusion. No, he didn’t believe her, but the words still shook him. Risa saw it now, through the screaming cries of her wound. His entire goal had been revenge, but with those few words…it’d created a worm of doubt. A momentary distraction.
She could use that.
As quick as she could, she leapt from her crouching position and rammed her own gun to the man’s head, yanking aside his pistol with a single fluid motion.
Her side flared as she let go to divert his weapon, but she pushed through it, even as the blood began to flow again. To his credit, Tomas didn’t show anything close to fear. Surprise, definitely, but not fear.
Tomas: “So that’s it? I’m as dead as he is?”
Risa: “I am not your enemy Tomas. Uek Ferris is. He’s the man that ultimately killed your brother.”
Tomas: “Sure, like I’m going to believe that.”
Risa: “I…Brock was like an uncle to me. And a part of me died the day he did. I just…I want you to know that much…”
Tomas: “Like I care Donovan! Even if you kill me, Grim and Bones won’t be stopped so easily. You’re dead either way…and his soul will finally be avenged.”
The man, Tomas, closed his eyes, lips twisted into a snarl.
Risa let her arm fall.
Granted, part of it was because she was too dizzy to hold it straight, but mostly it was because of Tomas. He’d been so sure of himself as he’d said those words, so lost in vengeance, so consumed by rage and anger that he didn’t even fear his own death.
And in that moment…she saw herself. Saw who’d she’d been…before everything. Before Dustin, before the Shift. So much had changed.
No. She’d changed. Dustin had helped bring out the light inside of her again, as she had helped quell the demons inside him…a partnership thicker than blood.
Risa: “There. Tomas, if I really was the monster you think I am, why would I let you go. Please…just…think about that…please.”
Tomas stood, dumbfounded, like a drowning man rescued at the last possible moment. He’d been so ready to die, that he hadn’t considered mercy…especially not from the murderer he thought she was…
Risa took the chance, moving as fast as she could back down the path. She was almost to the shuttle park. The Haven, salvation for both her and Dustin, was within her reach.
Risa turned around, looking towards the source of the voice. Her thoughts were foggy and her eyes swam to the point where she couldn’t focus properly but….
Voice: “RISA DONOVAN!”
She blinked, a moment of clarity filling her mind as she took in the scene. The pedestrians had long since scattered, leaving only…
A sea of police officers.
There had to be at least a dozen of them, all with rifles trained her way. Had they been waiting for her to act? Had they thought she’d been holding a hostage? It mattered little now. They were everywhere.
A man strode forward, an older officer with a pair of grey mutton chops and thinning hair. She recognised him after a moment’s thought.
Risa: “Sergeant Thompson, right? Been a long time.”
St. Thompson: “Can’t say I’ve missed you, scum. You know how this works, hands in the air!”
Risa: “I’d love to Sergeant, but if I take my hand off my side, I’m going to pass out…”
St. Thompson: “Does it look like I give a damn?! Hands up! NOW DONOV-“
Risa couldn’t hear the rest of what he said. She slowly pulled her hands away, letting more blood cascade from the bullet wounds. It hurt worse than anything she’d ever experienced, even through the numbness that was spreading. She’d been stabbed before, during Wheatview, and beaten senseless by her father, but never before had she lost this much blood.
Her head spun as she felt her legs buckle. She barely felt the impact as she hit the ground once more, could scarcely make out the officers that crowded around her. What had happened to Tomas? What about….
She’d failed him.
And there was nothing she could do.
Tears began to stream down her face as the officers cried for a medic, handcuffing her hands behind her back and pulling her up. She struggled briefly as Thompson wrestled her un-holstered pistol from her stupid, numb hands. If she’d had the strength she would’ve fought him off. Her pistols, perhaps her most treasured possessions, were suddenly gone. Her tears began flowing freely then, her usual hardened exterior cracking at the sheer unfairness of it all.
Two of the officers grabbed her then and carried her in between them, letting her feet drag along the ground.
She barely registered it.
Dustin was going to die. He was going to be beaten until he couldn’t move and then he would die. All because she’d been careless, all because of her...all because-
The word shot through her head faster than the bullets that’d torn through her gut. Dustin wouldn’t allow himself to be beaten by those agents, much less killed! After all they’d been through, she had to have faith in him. He’d be alright, and he’d find her.
He’d promised her that he’d find her.
She held onto that thought as the blood loss finally came to a head and everything went dark.
11 January, 2098
The Conduit Building, Knightborn
Night had descended upon the slowly healing city of Knightborn, but in the underground rooms beneath his headquarters, Uek Ferris didn’t care. All above him the world moved and swirled, but he’d shut it out for the best part of the day. This was too important.
Before him sat his last chance, the one last hope of his project’s success.
Havok stood at his side, wringing his hands nervously. The surgeons Karol and Andrew were rushing about the room, checking readings and vitals, but Uek could tell they were just as nervous as he was.
The subject was strapped to the central table, the neural device already attached, implanted and tested. The technicians and engineers under his wing had been able to re-work it to get it as small as possible, eventually ending up with a wrap-around helmet to fully encompass the brain. It gave Uek total control of the subject, completely and utterly.
A miracle of medical technology.
However, despite said miracles under their belt, the room felt eerily empty. Indeed, most of the equipment had already been removed from the room, but the emptiness was more…philosophical than that. If this failed, it would’ve all been for nothing.
Uek’s Ossillium supply was nearly empty, so he’d decided to risk it all on his last subject.
They’d fill 312 with almost triple what they’d given all the others, all the Ossillium he had left, and hope that the X-17 would be enough to keep the body together.
Karol eventually stepped forward, her eyes tired behind her mask. When she spoke, her voice wavered with uncertainty.
Karol: “Commander…are you sure about this?”
Uek: “No, but it’s the only option we’ve got left. It’ll take months to get more Ossillium and subjects, not to mention the setbacks to my plan. It has to work.”
Karol: “And if it doesn’t?”
Uek: “Karol, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Let’s just get this done.”
Karol nodded and strode over to Andrew. The man had gone strangely quiet at the thought of the project ending without a success. They’d made so many advances and discoveries that to finish empty-handed would be catastrophic.
Karol: “Ok…so we will be injecting 8.57 parts X-17, the desired level based on previous experimentation. This will be added with 5 parts of Epinephrine and Nonepinephrine each, along with the other standardized chemicals. Finally, the Ossillium. Subject 312 will receive…um… 36 parts Ossillium. Permission to go ahead sir?”
Uek nodded at the pair, and they went about their business, grabbing the needed vials from their workstations. Beside him, Havok’s twiddling had grown to extraordinary levels. His eyes were all over the place, constantly flicking from vital reading to vital reading.
Uek knew what must’ve been going through the man’s mind. He’d placed Havok in charge of running his project. A lack of results would Havok him the hardest.
Apart from Uek himself, of course.
The doctors retrieved their needles. Andrew gingerly held the X-17, mixed with the other chemicals, but it was Karol who carried the two behemoths of glowing blue liquid, each syringe almost as long as her forearm.
For a full five seconds, the room stood still, but eventually the surgeons stepped forward, shaking with anticipation, and drove the needles through the subject’s flesh. The syringes hissed as they injected their liquids into the bloodstream, before the surgeon’s removed them; empty.
Andrew and Karol exhaled and stepped back, joining the others in their silence.
Uek’s eyes were locked on the subject before them. Ever since the implant, there hadn’t been any screaming, but even so it felt oddly still this time. Like the entire planet was holding its breath.
The only movement in the room was the subject’s chest as it rose and fell, hidden beneath the vital-monitoring suit they wore. The suit…another incredible advancement…worthless if this failed.
Minutes passed that could’ve been hours. No words were said, not even from Uek. If this didn’t work…if this one wasn’t the one…then it was over. Finished, as surely as if Kendall had succeeded in her mission and ousted him. It would take too long to recover.
The subject quivered slightly, as the chemicals fought over the battlefield that was 312’s body. Had the Ossillium been too much? Had Uek been foolish to rush into it, pouring everything into one last ditch effort to-
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!
One of the monitors flared to live, one of the few remaining in the room. The subject’s heart rate was going crazy, just like every other time.
Karol and Andrew hung their heads low. They knew what would happen next.
Uek swore under his breath. No! It couldn’t be true! He’d…he’d failed? He never failed! Setbacks, definitely, but out-right total failure? Never….NEVER!
Uek’s eyes went to the subject’s arms, revealing the truth that he’d refused to admit. The bicep muscles on both arms had burst apart, tearing the suit and sending a river of blood and chemicals cascading onto the floor.
It was what they’d expected, but Uek still smacked his hand against the bed frame. The rupturing was the first thing to come. Then, the organs failed, the blood boiled, the brain melted.
Then, finally, the subject would look at him with a look that captured just how much they despised and hated him. He knew it was coming, even though the new implant design obscured the subject’s faces. He knew the body language too well, and…and…
And was that blood glowing?
Uek stepped forward, disregarding the protests of the others. He lent down and tapped a puddle of the blood that had spewed from 312’s arms. It was hot to the touch, almost boiling, but…yes…it was glowing brightly.
It was also vaguely purple. What the…
He spun back towards the patient, eyes widening in shock as he took in what he saw.
The ruptures on the arms…had healed.
The subject was shaking violently, but other than that…nothing. The marks on the arms, visible through the tears in the suit, had clotted with wads of that glowing blood, scarring almost immediately. Even as he watched, the scars faded as new, fresh skin reknit itself over the wound, until barely a blemish was left.
Uek spun to his companions, taking in the dropped jaws and wide eyes. It…it…
It was working.
Several minutes passed, where not a word was spoken. The subject shook and was clearly in agony, but with the implant there was barely any noise. Uek watched intently from the subject’s side, his grin going wider as time ticked on.
He was so close now, so damn close!
The monitor flashed once as the subject’s heart rate began to die down, slowly returning to normal levels. Karol and Andrew stumbled forward, almost unsure of themselves. They’d never been in this position before, when the subject’s body had actually accepted the Ossillium.
Nevertheless, they slowly began to unstrap 312, removing the few cables that had been attached to the suit as they went. Uek paid them little heed as he stood at the subject’s side, gazing at it like a relieved parent.
Once the last cable fell, the subject slowly forced itself to sit up. Because it was an it now. That was the only word that could be used to describe the creature. With the implant and the altered blood… well, it was hardly human anymore.
Uek spoke, his voice laced with anticipation, the cogs that made up his mind whirring faster than ever.
Uek: “Subject 312. How do you feel?”
The subject turned to face Uek, an almost quizzical expression beneath the dark faceplate. When it spoke, it’s voice gave away none of the torment it’d just been through. It was near-silent, monotone and strangely robotic. The modulator within the implant, no doubt.
312: “…Dead…I...I fe-e-el…. dead.”
Uek: “Hm, interesting. Now, get up.”
Slowly, as if every movement brought a fresh wave of discomfort, 312 swung its legs over the bed and stood up. Karol and Andrew crowded around excitedly, analysing the subject like curious insects. Still, with the amount of effort they’d put into this project, it was understandable.
Uek: “Good, now stay there 312. Karol, Andrew, what do you think?”
Andrew: “Well….simply put Commander, it worked! I…I can’t believe it!”
Uek: “And your theory?”
Karol nodded once and drew a line down 312’s arm using one of her scalpels, uncaring about the damage to the suit. A small line of glowing blood appeared briefly, before clotting and hardening, sealing the wound. She scribbled onto a notepad and turned back to Uek.
Karol: “Turns out we were right! The X-17 and re-engineered Ossillium combination has increased the rate of natural healing dramatically! Not to mention the strength, speed and stamina! We were right to test out the X-17 before hand.”
Andrew: “Honestly, I’m amazed Commander! This shouldn’t be possible! The sheer amount of Ossillium…well…I didn’t think it would work!”
Karol: “Andrew, if the Union could see us now…self-healing, total neural control…they’d practically beg us to take our licences back!”
Andrew: “Heck yeah! Thank you again Commander, thank you! The medical potential here…it’s just too much to take in!”
Uek smiled gently at the pair.
Uek: “Both of you are very welcome, and you have my thanks for all that you have done. 312? Kill them both.”
The surgeons had just enough time to lose their smiles before 312 jolted to life. It snapped out its hands, grabbing the pair by their necks and hauling them upwards like dolls. It hesitated briefly, as the last dregs of humanity left its body, before squeezing.
The crack of shattering bone echoed around the small room and the two doctors slipped from 312’s grip, dead before they hit the ground. Their necks had been crushed so completely that the skin had actually torn in places, blood and powdered gristle oozing from the now dead bodies.
Havok: “Damn…was that really necessary? I mean…I thought you said they were loyal?”
Uek stepped forward, careful to avoid the corpses of the two surgeons that had made his project a reality. He spoke almost absent-mindedly, his focus on the subject before him. The sheer strength of the creature… remarkable.
Uek: “Almas, loyalty is a funny thing, something you should know more than most. These two were loyal to me, I’ve got no doubt about that. But this discovery was something truly profound, and people like those two have a tendency to…let things slip.”
“Don’t you remember the rumours after the implant’s success? The rumours about the Imperium working on androids? If word got out about ‘self-healing and total neural control’…it just raises too many questions, and leaves behind quite a messy trail. Besides, I needed to test its capabilities, see if it’d follow everything. Two birds, one stone, yada yada. Turns out it does.”
Havok: “I thought you hated death.”
Uek: “I hate pointless death Havok. Death without purpose. Without these two, the true secret of what’s been done here dies with them. Can’t spread rumours if you can’t breathe. Hence, a purpose. Besides, look on the bright side! We’ve succeeded! The project, your project, my project, it’s a reality.”
312 lowered its faceplate to meet Uek’s gaze, blood dripping off its fingers. Uek smiled at it, his mind a hive of activity. Finally, after so very long, after going through so much, it was done.
And everything, the Imperium, the Governors, the war, the System…
It was all within his grasp.
Welp...it’s been over a year since my last episode. Sorry for keeping all of you waiting, but I hope you enjoy!
Quoting --R.K. Blast--
I've waited so long for this episode! I was genuinely excited when I saw you'd uploaded it! haha! It was a brilliant episode though, of that there is no doubt. But... was that the end? It feels like there should have been another scene of Dustin. Euk was rounded off Risa was rounded off. But last we saw of Dustin was him seeing whatever was round that corner. Presumably either the wake of Risa's capture or perhaps her being taken away. WHAT HAPPENED?!?! I need answers! Haha!
Either way - whatever form it comes in, I can't wait for more.
Full points, as always.
Thanks RK! But not to worry... in actuality I had a whole other section planned out for Dustin, but over this past year I’ve reflected quite a bit over where I want this story to go. Because of this, I decided that this isn’t the finale. I have one more episode in the works (a rather large one, due to be posted in August) that wraps up Dustin’s character arc, Risa’s new life and opens up the next stage of Uek’s plan (plus a few other surprises).
After I finished writing this final episode, I realised that the section I had for Dustin (basically him watching Risa get shoved into a police cruiser) was sort of...unneeded. Rest assured though, he will be getting a conclusion, as will the others.
As alway, I appreciate the comments mate! I promise the next one won’t take so long (provides the Pages doesn’t quite on us in the mean time :D)
I've waited so long for this episode! I was genuinely excited when I saw you'd uploaded it! haha! It was a brilliant episode though, of that there is no doubt. But... was that the end? It feels like there should have been another scene of Dustin. Euk was rounded off. Risa was rounded off. But last we saw of Dustin was him seeing whatever was round that corner. Presumably either the wake of Risa's capture or perhaps her being taken away. WHAT HAPPENED?!?! I need answers! Haha!
Either way - whatever form it comes in, I can't wait for more.
Full points, as always.