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Old 02-26-2013, 09:11 PM   #1
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Tigress' Notebook

This is my brain dump. A place for me to get out all the scenes in my head that might be blocking whatever it is I'm trying to work on that I have no intention of bringing here or anywhere else....Since it's been happening a lot lately. It's mostly all going to be raw and untouched....so in other words, crappy :-P Feel free to stop by, though. Leave notes or comments :-)

Last edited by IvoryTigress : 02-26-2013 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:21 PM   #2
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runs in to leave a hug and kiss.

Hi you.

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Old 02-26-2013, 09:22 PM   #3
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((Possibly titled Wasteland. Intro to SRP maybe...))

“One day soon, you will be ours, little warlock. When that day comes, you will learn the scars on your body are merely art. We will show you the true meaning of slavery.”


“Every inch of you has already been claimed. Your mind. Your cunt. Your heart.”


“You’re broken. You can’t deny us. You want the pain, the mindless existence. We’re going to fuck you, little warlock. While our cocks shove into your filthy holes, we are going to rape your mind. Over and over and…”


With a shake of her head, Jasmine Delamore asserted her will and shoved the voices into the vault inside her mind, locking it down tight. The more powerful she became, the more demons could hear her call. It also meant more could constantly whisper to her. Tempt her, try to possess her. She couldn't afford to be slipping as often as she had.

Her friend and fellow councilman Marcus Rayne set a hand on her shoulder. “It’s getting worse, isn't it? Maybe it’s time to start thinking about a binding.”

Jasmine raised her gaze up to his. She could see the harsh, green demonic taint reflected back at her in his crystal blue depths. He worried for her. She glanced around the table at the other five members of the Council. They shared his concern, but she wasn't about to admit she agreed with them. She wasn’t that far gone quite yet.

“They want to chain you, Mistress. They fear you.”

Jasmine growled and shoved the succubus out. She was the most dangerous of them all. She answered when called without resistance. She whispered truths and insights that had saved Jasmine’s life on many occasions. She never threatened or demanded. She wanted Jasmine’s trust, but Jasmine knew better. The demoness craved her more than the others. She had felt it before, deep inside the creature’s mind. Jasmine wasn't foolish enough to be cocky. The succubus was powerful enough to attempt a possession if Jasmine let her guard down. She always managed to slip past the locked vault.

Jasmine pushed the thoughts aside. She had more important matters to attend to. Distractions now would cost lives. She shrugged off Marcus’ hand without answering him. She didn’t want to lie and knew he would see through it, anyway.
“How long until the Were armies reach our outer villages?” she asked.
The council members looked at each other. Jasmine knew they didn’t want to drop the topic, but they would. Caster territory was being invaded. They needed her power and everyone knew it. Though they were a council and everything was always put to a vote, it was Jasmine who led them. It was Jasmine the people followed.

Luna Martique spoke first, indicating her agreement that the invasion was larger than the never ending battle in Jasmine’s mind. “ They've passed through the fourth set of wards. Something has to be aiding them. We either have a traitor or a severely tortured victim. Assuming they are not slowed by the fifth set of wards, they will reach the fringe villages within the hour.”

Jasmine sighed, shaking her head. “That’s not enough time for us to mobilize our army and drop new wards and defensive spells. We need to get the Casters capable of mass teleportation to those villages to evacuate the people to the inner towns. They are closer together and more easily defended. Send out the orders to get our army to those towns to begin setting up the defenses. We need one mass teleporter per outer village.”

“There are eight outer villages and only seven Casters capable of mass teleport. Andrew Leys was killed in a border skirmish last week,” Terrik Varen replied.

Jasmine swore sharply under her breath. “Fine. The village closest to Vampire territory will be left without a teleporter. The Weres have a loose agreement with the Vampires and will likely avoid their territory if they can. I’m betting a majority of their army is going to be focused on the villages that sit on the central path to the mountain entrances. We can send the eighth village a message and have the people start evacuating by foot. Two squads of soldiers on horseback can be sent to meet them on the road and escort them the rest of the way. I can get there faster than anyone except a teleporter. I’ll go and buy the villagers some time.”

“You can’t! You are the most powerful among us. You lead this Council. You can’t go out alone village to take on an entire portion of an army to save a village that can be sacrificed,” exclaimed Terra Lawrence.

Jasmine turned to the woman, letting her irritation flow through her gaze. Her tone dropped low and dangerous. “What did you just say?”

Terra’s cheeks turned bright pink and she lowered her eyes. “I…I said ‘good luck,’ Jasmine.”

“That’s what I thought you said. I would hate to think one of the most powerful women in Caster territory was a coward who would break her vow to defend those who don’t possess her strength. Because, if that were the case, I’m sure this Council would agree with me when I said that woman had no business being a member of a ruling body.”

Jasmine turned to the other members. “Are there any objections to this course of action?”

“I think it will save the most lives. I don’t like conceding land to the beasts, but it is land that holds relatively little value and we don’t have time to set up proper defenses that far out. I am in agreement with Miss. Delamore,” Marcus said.

The other members nodded and stated their agreement. Jasmine pushed back from the table. “Lets get moving. Time is not on our side. We must hold those central towns. The Weres cannot break through to the mountain passes. The miens and fresh water springs must be defended.”

She turned to head out of the building but Marcus grabbed her wrist, stopping her. She looked up at him and narrowed her gaze. “I don’t have time for this Marcus. I’m barely going to make it there in time, as it is.”

“I’m just telling you to be careful, Jas, more so than usual. I don’t foresee this going well for you. I can’t see it clearly. Anything involving you is always cloudy, at best. I have a really bad feeling about this one. Please, be safe. We need you.”

“It’s too late to play it safe. People are going to die. Casters have no hope of outrunning Weres on foot. I will not sit back and watch it happen just because your vision says I will be injured or killed. I’ve been injured before and I will be again. My life is worth no more than the people who struggle out there for us.”

“I know. You are the best of us. Even with your mind and soul plagued with demonic corruption, you stand for all of us. We know how much you have and will sacrifice for us. We don’t need your magic, Jas. We need your spirit. Come back to us,” Marcus said, a pleading look in his kind eyes.

“I don’t make promises I can’t keep. Please, don’t ask me to,” Jasmine replied softly, lowering her gaze just before she pulled out of his grip.

He let her go and she headed for the exit. She stopped by the table that housed the council members’ weapons. Instruments of violence were not welcome in a room meant for peaceful and intelligent discussions. It was customary to leave all weaponry on the large stone table. She picked up her twin runic short swords and strapped them securely to her back. She had forged them herself, empowering them with her own magic. If anyone other than Jasmine wielded them, the blades would slowly siphon the life force of the person until eventual death was achieved. Then, the blades captured the user’s soul and a small black stone would appear embedded in the hilts. Only one person had ever been foolish enough to try and wield Jasmine’s swords permanently. His soul now added to the power of the weapons.

The black leather that covered her body was soft, worn and tattered in places from constant use. The Caster’s leatherworkers had patched it several times over. She buttoned the jacket and jogged outside. The sky was filled with swirling dark clouds, an omen for the battle on the horizon. The heart of Caster territory was high up in the mountains. Magic had carved buildings and homes into the rock, giving the Casters shelter and highly defendable points. It also gave them access to one of the most plentiful sources of the scarcest resource on the shattered planet; clean, fresh water. The Weres had come to take the springs.

The breeze was cold against what tanned skin was exposed, but Jasmine didn't pause to think about how uncomfortable the trip would be. She looked up to the clouds and her eyes glowed with an unnatural green light as power flowed around her. A large, black portal ripped the sky open and a massive winged demon the size of a dragon flew threw. Jasmine instantly closed the portal behind him, not wanting anything she didn't summon to slip past.

The beast looked more like a bat than a dragon. His wings were hairless and featherless, large and throbbing veins pulsing through them. His fangs and claws were sharp as razors, his features twisted and mangled. His body was covered in armored spikes that dripped with toxic poison. He hovered in the air above her and bowed his head. There was a hint of defiance in his black eyes and Jasmine instantly silenced it, asserting her will forcefully over his.

“You are mine,” she whispered firmly to his mind.

“Yes, Mistress.”

Jasmine melded their minds and senses, allowing for faster communication and a heightened awareness. In battle, when she was mind melded with her minions, Jasmine could see what they saw. She could feel what they felt. Her needs flowed across the connection and the demons acted without the need for voiced orders. It was an invaluable double edged sword, for they drank of her power even as they boosted it. They read her every thought. They saw her every desire, her every fear. Demons knew her better than anyone she had ever called “friend.” Though she was never alone, she was always exceedingly lonely.

The demon saw what she wanted and he swooped down, wrapping her midsection with his massive claws. None of them caused her harm, but they held her firmly as he screeched and took off into the sky. Miles of mountains and dead forest were covered in minutes, the speed sending the cold wind straight through the leather and down into her bones. Her eyes watered and she was shivering by the time she saw the army of animals approaching.

She knew there were no more than seventy-five people in the village, all of whom were weak Casters charged with trying to coax life back into the forests and harvesting whatever fruit they were capable of producing. They were not combat Casters. They wouldn't stand a chance against the two hundred or so Weres knocking on the door.

Having read her thoughts, the winged demon dropped her over the village. She banished him back through a portal even as she summoned others on the ground beneath her. The height of the drop would have killed her, but the succubus caught her. Strong arms kept her safe, cushioned the impact, and then set Jasmine on her feet. But instead of releasing her, the succubus pulled Jasmine’s tiny frame close to her own, the warlock’s back against her chest. Crimson arms encircled Jasmine’s waist and she all but disappeared in the embrace. Seductively whispered words caressed her mind.

“You call and I come, Mistress. You have promised me Were-flesh. It is a fair trade, but when will you reward me with the taste of yours?”

Though the demoness towered over her, Jasmine didn't fear her. She was used to feeling small. She was all of 5’2” and 108 pounds. Casters were a small race, the cost of wielding magic taken from their bodies. Jasmine hadn't been born a Caster, but it hadn't taken long for the cost of magic to take its toll on her physical form. The demons she summoned were never small, but here will and power were greater than theirs. Her physical size didn't matter. She melded her mind with the succubus and the six other demons she had called. The succubus instantly knew her displeasure at being touched and released her, amused laughter sliding through Jasmine’s mind.

Three two-headed hounds the size of the huts the villagers were housed in came and laid down at her feet. Two black, demonic knights stood behind the, their skin a kind of living armor. It changed form and strength to match the knight’s needs. Their hands would change into any weapon they decided, making disarming them impossibly unless their limbs were removed. A cloaked and hooded apparition was last, a soul eater. A single touch from him would rob any creature of their soul. The succubus moved into her field of vision. She was at least seven feet fall, red skinned, and had black, leathery wings. She was enchantingly beautiful, wickedly and sadistically deadly. She had, long ago, tailored her form to match what Jasmine found attractive. She couldn't hide her demonic traits, but she could alter her form and her features to match those she wished to enchant. She wielded two chain link whips with blades for tips, weapons Jasmine was painfully familiar with. She almost cringed at the sight of them, but she refused to show fear or apprehension to demons under her strict control.

Her intent flowed across the mass connection. Protecting the villagers was the top priority. Other than that, the demons were free to cause as much death and destruction as they pleased. The buildings and stock could be replaced, eventually. Lives could not. Any and all souls of Were animals were up for grabs. The demons were more than happy to please her for such a reward.

Jasmine turned and watched the villagers scramble around her, trying to assemble supplies and fortify what they could. They recognized her and stayed out of her way, knowing she was there to help. Jasmine ran to the tallest hill in town and shouted. The mere sound of her voice brought all the panicked commotion to a halt.

“Hear me! Take the northern pass through the woods. Two squads of mounted battle Casters are on their way as we speak. Take nothing with you but your lives. This village will be lost and we cannot stop it. Supplies are only going to weigh you down and you have no time to spare. I will hold them off as long as I can. Now, go!”

The villagers dropped everything they had been carrying and fled into the woods, never once second guessing her. After a few moments, the village was empty save for Jasmine and her own small, demonic army. The Were animals were just outside the village and the hounds pounced into the masses. Vicious snarls, pained yelps, and tortured screams marked the start of the battle. Jasmine calmed her mind and called her power. She needed to do large amounts of damage quickly. If she didn't, she and her demons would be over run, despite their strength.

She turned her gaze to the sky and called to the element of fire. The clouds above the Were army transformed into flames and began to rain large molten sphere down upon the enemy. Roars filled the air as animal after animal was caught in the flaming down pour. But they still kept coming. With her hounds, the succubus, and the black knights holding the front line, Jasmine was left with only her magic and her soul eater. He stood at the base of the hill in front of her, his body surrounded by corpses. Every animal that attempted to strike him down ended up in a lifeless heap at the demon’s feet.

Shadow energy began to swirl around her body and Jasmine began to shoot bolts of it into the Weres that were fast approaching her. She flung curses, afflicting animal after animal with debilitating pain and weakness. She let the corruption inside her spread to anyone who came within twenty yards of her, causing violent illness. But keeping up the multiple forms of magic and controlling six powerful demons was causing a heavy drain on Jasmine’s energy stores. She had a higher tolerance for the drains than most, but she was still vulnerable to it. Casting a simple spell could take as much energy and calories as an hour of exercise. The strongest of Casters, including Jasmine, could consume more than six thousand calories a day. But even the best had their limits. The body could only take so much. Jasmine hoped she wasn’t going to have to test hers.

More than half the Weres had dropped in the fifteen minutes of battle, but Jasmine knew she couldn't keep it up. If she didn't banish her demons and stop the firestorm, the spells would drain her too much for an escape. By now, the Weres likely knew who they were up against. Jasmine hoped they would chase her and not her people.

The fire in the sky died and her minions disappeared through black portals. Knowing their advantage had finally come; the Weres all turned on Jasmine and charged. She spun on her heel and jumped off the hill, landing on the back of a large, newly summoned black horse. He took off with the enhance speed of demons, his hooves leaving footprints of fire in the rocky soil. His mane was nothing but pure flame and Jasmine reached one hand into it, magically holding on tight. The fire didn't burn her, as the element was hers to command. She drew a sword off her back in her main hand and glanced behind her.

The Weres had split into two groups. One was chasing her down and the other was headed north. She tried not to feel guilty. She had done all she could. Their numbers were drastically thinned and split. The villagers had a chance. Jasmine could have done no more, but she still didn't think they would make it and guilt weighed heavily on her heart.

A cheetah was gaining on her quickly. She faced front and lowered her body to let the horse go faster, focusing on her goal. She had done what she could. Now she had to live. The horse was a lesser demon, his mind easily manipulated. He followed the path she planned with no resistance. She had to get to Vampire territory. The animals wouldn't follow her there. If they entered the ruins of the once great Human city, their treaty with the Vampires would be broken.

Jasmine had no such treaty. They would kill her on sight. She hoped to stay just beyond the border and be back in her own territory before sunset. If she could get in and out quickly, she could survive. She could feel the urgency of the beast between her thighs and knew the animals were closing in. She could see the great towers of steel and concrete not one hundred yards out. It wasn't that much further. She was so close.

“Behind you and to your left, Mistress!”

Jasmine didn't second guess the succubus, nor did she hesitate. She swung her body and sword around just as the cheetah pounced her. The point of the blade went straight into the mouth of the cat, driving into his throat and out of his back between the shoulders. Teeth sank into her forearm. Claws pushed through the leather and into her abdomen. Slick, liquid heat began to pour down her stomach. Her back hit the ground hard and she heard three distinct cracks. She had had just enough time to tuck her chin to keep the back of her head from slamming into the ground. Pain blossomed through her chest as the full weight of the cat pinned her down.

Her horse stumbled to his feet and kicked the severely injured cheetah off her and into the concrete jungle. Jasmine cried out as teeth and claws were ripped from her flesh, but she had to get up and cross the ten feet into Vampire territory before she was over run. She could barely breathe. Broken ribs and torn organs screamed at her as she fought to stand. The pain was bad, but Jasmine had felt worse. Her body was covered in the evidence of it, hidden beneath the clothing. Ten feet wasn't that far.

She forced herself up and scrambled through the outer most series of Caster wards and into Vampire lands, all those chasing her skidding to a stop. They snarled at her, pacing up and down the line that separated the two territories. She glanced down at the cheetah. He was pinned beneath the powerful hooves of her horse, the stench of burnt skin and fur flooding the air as the fiery hooves sank deeper and deeper into animal flesh. He was choking, gasping with sickening slick and wet sounds. Blood bubbled and spilled out of his mouth and from the hole in his back. She could feel the beast’s soul just barely hanging on. It was ripe for the picking, wouldn't challenge her in the least.

She knew she shouldn't grandstand, but she needed to make a point. The animals growling behind her were debating whether she was worth breaking a treaty. She needed to put fear in their hearts, and maybe even make them second guess their commitment to attack Casters. She put her sword in her non-dominant hand and carefully walked to the feline, showing as little pain as possible. She raised her bloody hand toward the tangible soul. She didn't need the words, but she knew the display would have a greater impact if she used them.

“With blood, I call,” she said and flexed her power. The soul stirred in the broken body. The beasts behind her roared with anger, as if they could feel their pack mate answer her.

“With pain, I call,” she said and the soul mingled with her power. A wolf shifted back into his masculine form.

“You can’t do this!” he yelled.

Jasmine looked back at him and grinned savagely. She knew she was bloody; her eyes alight with green, demonic flame. Her voice echoed with power. She knew she looked like the very creatures she summoned. “Oh, but I can, wolf.”

She turned back to the cheetah. “By will, I call!”

The soul leaped to her, leaving behind a fresh corpse. The black ghost swirled frantically around her body. She flooded it with her power, reined it in and condensed it until it was nothing but a black stone the size of her palm resting in her hand. It became a soul shard, the price most often required for her most powerful spells.

Jasmine turned to face the beasts and held the stone up to them. “This cat will not get your burial rites. He will never rejoin your pack in the after life. His power will never flow in your veins. He is mine now, and I will use his essence to kill more of you. He is now a weapon of my vengeance. Every one of you I kill in my lands from here on out will suffer his fate. You will know the price for invading Caster lands!”

“You have to get out of Vampire territory first, Caster bitch. You’re awfully bloody. I’d wish you luck, but personally, I hope they torture the fuck out of you before they drain you dry,” the man snarled.

Jasmine merely grinned at him and walked to her horse. She sheathed her sword and put the shard into the pack at her belt, adding it to her stock. The horse lied down so she could get on, knowing she didn't have the strength to mount him on her own. He turned and trotted down the concrete roads, diving deeper into the city ruins.

Once the woods and the Were animals were out of sight, Jasmine dismissed the horse. She was too weak to maintain her hold on him. She put a hand over the wound at her stomach and pressed as hard as she was capable, trying to slow the bleeding. It didn’t appear to work. Blood flooded around her small hand, oozing between nimble fingers.

“We can taste your blood, wench. You are so delicious. Just a littlem ore now and we can swallow you…”

She didn’t answer, trying to lock the vault again. But she was exhausted and the whispers kept coming. The silence of the city would have been ominous and disconcerting, had she been able to hear it. The voices in her mind became so many that she almost couldn’t distinguish them. It drowned out her sense of hearing.
She stumbled through the buildings and streets, heading north. She had to get as far as she could before turning west, back in the direction of her lands before sunset. Every movement she made was wracked with pain and her blood flowed freely from her wounds, marking her path with crimson footprints and puddles. She had flexed too much power. Her energy was bottoming out. Fierce hunger and thirst plagued her.
She tripped over a break in the concrete and went down hard. A hole tore in the leather at her shoulder, a fresh scrape breaking her skin. She winced, knowing she didn’t have the strength to get back up. She was going to have to gamble. She reached into her shard pack and pulled out a stone. The spell she was about to cast would either save her life or end it. The energy cost was high. If it saved her, she only hoped she was far enough out in the city limits that the Vampires wouldn’t notice her. She wouldn’t be able to remain conscious once the task was finished. She would be completely defenseless. On the other hand, the spell might take too much of what she had left and demand her life in payment. However, since she knew she would bleed out in the street if she didn’t act, the choice seemed clear cut.

“You won’t die, little cunt. You are our toy. Our plaything. You are our gateway. Here soon, your mind and body will no longer be yours.”

Fear slid through her. It wasn’t death that frightened her, but the whispered words. If she completed the spell, it was possible her mental defenses would falter. She was weak and would only become weaker. If her defenses slipped, a demon would be free to try and possess her. IT would then use her power to summon more of its kind and plague the rest of the world with unbound demons. Humans, Vampires, Casters, and Weres would all die together in waves of death and destruction. Jasmine would return to being a slave. Her memories of it flooded her mind. Every scar she had ever received at demonic hands burned. She contemplated just letting herself die. Everyone would be safe and she would finally be free.
But her people needed her. They had taken her in when everyone believed she was still Human. They had healed her, given her purpose. They fed, housed, and trained her. They were dying at the hands of Were invaders. She couldn't abandon them; even if it meant sacrificing herself to the very thing she feared the most. She was stronger than the demons. She could handle it.

She swallowed and gathered what power she could muster. Focusing intently, she called the soul within the stone. Souls were the essence of life. They could be traded for pure healing energy, if power was also sacrificed. Using her own body as a gateway, she offered the soul to the underworld. As the hand of the demon making the trade reached through her to claim the soul, it drained her of everything she had left. She had to fight to keep her life from following the soul into the darkness. The stone turned green in her hands and pulsed with life. Jasmine was falling quickly over the mystical line. She weakly pressed the stone to the massive claw wound in her stomach, barely hanging on. The stone melted, her torn and tattered skin absorbing the energies directly into the wound. Organs knitted themselves back together and the flow of blood stopped. The wound was still nasty, jagged, and exposed, but she was no longer in danger of bleeding out, even with her arm still seeping painfully.

“It’s time for you to come to me, my little warlock. Come to me….Come to me..” the succubus cooed.

Completely drained, Jasmine gave herself to unconsciousness. The demons in her mind pounced on the opportunity, dragging her down deep into horrific nightmares. Even in unconsciousness, she fought them. Her body twitched and jerked, her face painted with pain and fierce determination.

The air around her grew cold as the sun began its slow descent into the horizon.

Last edited by IvoryTigress : 02-26-2013 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Firmhanded_Daddy View Post
runs in to leave a hug and kiss.

Hi you.

Hugs and kisses FHD back.

Hey yourself, sugar.

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Old 02-27-2013, 01:54 PM   #5
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Wow. If that's crappy, I need to find your polished writing.

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Old 02-27-2013, 02:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Khadaji2002 View Post
Wow. If that's crappy, I need to find your polished writing.

scampers off to thread-stalk
Aww you're sweet.Blushes shyly. And I'm not 100 percent happy with that scene. I definitely want to RP it. But there is an aspect that I feel I did not portray well enough. But I'm trying -not- to think about it because I'm not writing it solo. It's a story built for two. Since I don't have a second for it, it's doing nothing but blocking my personal stuff.

And I don't have many threads here. One of those threads, I'm certain I haven't done proper justice to so it stalled.

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Old 02-28-2013, 08:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by IvoryTigress View Post
.....And I'm not 100 percent happy with that scene. I definitely want to RP it. But there is an aspect that I feel I did not portray well enough. But I'm trying -not- to think about it because I'm not writing it solo. It's a story built for two. Since I don't have a second for it, it's doing nothing but blocking my personal stuff.
Interesting. It seems a bit contrivance-heavy, but that's probably because I haven't visited one of your universes before and too much is new to me.

When I write, I tend to use prefab universes; it's quicker, more people understand them at once, and it's fun to turn them inside out. Recently it's mostly been the Tamriel of the Elder Scrolls series of action role-playing games. That series has been going for nearly twenty years now (five main games and nearly a dozen offshoots), the lore is very well developed, and a lot of people follow it. But in many ways it is still bound by convention, and that's where it becomes fun to mess with it a bit. The writers still assume that the hero(s) will be burly men versed in breaking heads with long sharp pieces of iron, so rewriting the story with that hero replaced by a skinny, physically weak, often confused and self-doubting young woman produces interesting results. You cross the border from High Rock into Skyrim with no greater ambition than stealing a horse or two, get caught and nearly executed, and then discover to your dismay that you're stuck with saving the world -- and the world isn't cooperating very much in its own salvation.

What was that aspect you felt wasn't properly developed in your story, by the way? I didn't see any great gaping holes.

Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by heretopraise View Post
Interesting. It seems a bit contrivance-heavy, but that's probably because I haven't visited one of your universes before and too much is new to me.

When I write, I tend to use prefab universes; it's quicker, more people understand them at once, and it's fun to turn them inside out. Recently it's mostly been the Tamriel of the Elder Scrolls series of action role-playing games. That series has been going for nearly twenty years now (five main games and nearly a dozen offshoots), the lore is very well developed, and a lot of people follow it. But in many ways it is still bound by convention, and that's where it becomes fun to mess with it a bit. The writers still assume that the hero(s) will be burly men versed in breaking heads with long sharp pieces of iron, so rewriting the story with that hero replaced by a skinny, physically weak, often confused and self-doubting young woman produces interesting results. You cross the border from High Rock into Skyrim with no greater ambition than stealing a horse or two, get caught and nearly executed, and then discover to your dismay that you're stuck with saving the world -- and the world isn't cooperating very much in its own salvation.

What was that aspect you felt wasn't properly developed in your story, by the way? I didn't see any great gaping holes.

Good luck!
It's nit picky of me. But I'm not sure it flows the way I want it to. And I don't feel I convey the demons well an how noisy Jasmine's mind is all the time. It's never ending for her.

Thanks for having taken the time to look at it

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Old 02-28-2013, 08:57 AM   #9
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This was a response to a writing prompt given to me. I didn't expect to like it, but I do....want to refine it a bit..maybe develop the character....I don't know what...and I'll probably not end up touching it. But it's here now to remind me.

Prompt - Please write a brief scene or poem involving a shadow that's behaving strangely.

The shadow dance. That's what I call it. Every day at 2:45, the shadows come alive in my room. They uncurl and slide away form the objects that bind them. They tip toe oh-so slowly to me. They circle me. Dance with me. They sway to the beat if my heart. Their whispers are carried on a wind only I can hear. Savage things. Cruel things. I fear them. I want to hide, but there is no where to run. They are everywhere. The more they close in, the faster my heart beats. I must dance with them if I am to live. I must hear them. I must obey them. So I dance. I twist and turn. I grab the pen I stole yesterday. The sharp tip presses into the skin of my arm and I draw their desires in my flesh. Five more minutes and my salvation will come. Just five minutes more. I dance with the darkness, even when I pray for the light. My room is almost completely filled with the skittering figures. They are so close now. Too close. I smear my blood along my hand and shove out at them, as if it will hold them at bay. But icy cold hands grab my wrist and hold it steady. Two minutes more. Just two. Dark arms wrap around my shoulders. A tongue licks my fingers, sending sparks of electricity up my arm. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to scream, but the arm around my shoulder moves to my throat and cuts off my air. I know I will drown. Today will be the day I fall. But the door to my room slams open, harsh light flowing in. With a frustrated screech, the shadows fade and I am left sitting in the middle of my room, bloody pen in my hand, frightened tears on my cheeks. The nurse looks at me with pity and sits beside me. She takes my pen and I let her. I didn't want to steal it. They told me I had to. As she presses bandages to my arm, I look over her shoulder. The shadows lurk behind me. They tell me to hurt my friend. To do terrible things. I stiffen, shaking my head. I couldn't hurt her. She was nice to me. Feeling my fear, the nurse quickly hands me the small cup and a glass of water. I wash my salvation down with room temperature water. I am safe for another day.

But there is always tomorrow.
The dance never ends.
The shadow dance.
My shadow dance.

Last edited by IvoryTigress : 02-28-2013 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:22 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by IvoryTigress View Post
This was a response to a writing prompt given to me. I didn't expect to like it, but I do....want to refine it a bit..maybe develop the character....I don't know what...and I'll probably not end up touching it. But it's here now to remind me.

Prompt - Please write a brief scene or poem involving a shadow that's behaving strangely.

The shadow dance. That's what I call it. Every day at 2:45, the shadows come alive in my room. They uncurl and slide away form the objects that bind them. They tip toe oh-so slowly to me. They circle me. Dance with me. They sway to the beat if my heart. Their whispers are carried on a wind only I can hear. Savage things. Cruel things. I fear them. I want to hide, but there is no where to run. They are everywhere. The more they close in, the faster my heart beats. I must dance with them if I am to live. I must hear them. I must obey them. So I dance. I twist and turn. I grab the pen I stole yesterday. The sharp tip presses into the skin of my arm and I draw their desires in my flesh. Five more minutes and my salvation will come. Just five minutes more. I dance with the darkness, even when I pray for the light. My room is almost completely filled with the skittering figures. They are so close now. Too close. I smear my blood along my hand and shove out at them, as if it will hold them at bay. But icy cold hands grab my wrist and hold it steady. Two minutes more. Just two. Dark arms wrap around my shoulders. A tongue licks my fingers, sending sparks of electricity up my arm. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to scream, but the arm around my shoulder moves to my throat and cuts off my air. I know I will drown. Today will be the day I fall. But the door to my room slams open, harsh light flowing in. With a frustrated screech, the shadows fade and I am left sitting in the middle of my room, bloody pen in my hand, frightened tears on my cheeks. The nurse looks at me with pity and sits beside me. She takes my pen and I let her. I didn't want to steal it. They told me I had to. As she presses bandages to my arm, I look over her shoulder. The shadows lurk behind me. They tell me to hurt my friend. To do terrible things. I stiffen, shaking my head. I couldn't hurt her. She was nice to me. Feeling my fear, the nurse quickly hands me the small cup and a glass of water. I wash my salvation down with room temperature water. I am safe for another day.

But there is always tomorrow.
The dance never ends.
The shadow dance.
My shadow dance.
A much shorter piece, but very evocative. That had my heartrate up by the time the nurse came in.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Khadaji2002 View Post
A much shorter piece, but very evocative. That had my heartrate up by the time the nurse came in.
The prompt was asking for short. I'm actually really bad at short. Which is why I may polish this up and add length to it at some point...or turn her into a character...or not lol. I don't feel the need to be rushing to make a decision

Deeply blushes and looks down shyly

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Old 02-28-2013, 11:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by IvoryTigress View Post
The prompt was asking for short. I'm actually really bad at short. Which is why I may polish this up and add length to it at some point...or turn her into a character...or not lol. I don't feel the need to be rushing to make a decision

Deeply blushes and looks down shyly

You have given me a substantial, and mostly undeserved compliment. Thank you
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:52 PM   #13
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The sky was a familiar dark gray, the clouds filled with heavy snow anxious and ready to blanket the land. The temperature was dropping fast and the bitter wind would soon make the air capable of freezing lungs. A storm was brewing, but that wasn’t unusual for the frozen planet Vor. Its extreme temperatures and harsh terrain kept the planet’s population to a minimum.

There were several species of animals scattered around the planet, but civilized life centered mainly in the north eastern quadrant and the mines in the south eastern quadrant. In the north, the population was protected from the elements by a vast black fortress. It spanned ten miles long and just as many wide. The fortress’ tallest tower was twenty-five stories off the ground.

The construction of the mines had begun long before the fortress had been built. In the early stages of gathering, the ore had either been sold for funding or shipped off world to be refined into the building blocks of the fortress. Once it had been completed, refining technologies, as well as forges and storage vaults, had been implemented in the mines.

The massive fortress was designed to sustain between fifteen and twenty five thousand people. The miens could accomidate another eight thousand workers. The fortress contained two dome covered landing pads, three hangers, fully up-to-date medical facilities, schools for children, green houses for growing food, and barns equipped with veterinary care for live stock and working animals. The compound had been built to be self sustaining, should interplanetary trade routes ever be shut down.

The owner of both the fortress and the mines lived in the highest tower of the compound. There was a medium sized balcony carved into the metal, leaving a reasonable space protected from the wind, but not the frigid temperatures. The balcony over looked the compound and the surrounding landscape.

Eve Santir gazed out into the coming storm, leaning her shoulder against the balcony wall. She wore a black, fur-lined hooded cloak for warmth. The fortress, the mine, and all the people occupying them belonged to her. Some said the entire planet was hers, as she seemed to be the only one skilled and crazy enough to be able to keep that many people alive in the climate. But until the Council made that formal, Eve would only claim half of the frozen world.

The population had all been brought in from off world. Ninety percent of them she had purchased at slave auctions for their various skills and talents. The others she had obtained through private sale, force, or other unique forms of negotiation. She gave them protection, shelter, and a chance at a fair life in exchange for their loyalty and skills she needed to keep the mines and fortress running. She didn’t have to give them those things. She knew most people in her position saw her as weak for doing so. But Eve knew happy slaves were efficient, productive, and obedient. She was one of the fastest growing business women in the sector, and she knew it was because her pets wanted her to be successful. She didn’t have to deal with slave rebellions every other week that effected production.

This was not to say that Eve didn’t run a tight ship. She could be mean, ruthless, and even cruel when she needed to be. She had her own security team. Anyone found violating the generic rules that came with her wearing her collar were immediately brought to her for punishment. Her security team handled most of the minor infractions of community law, but all crimes above petty thieving were brought to her. The accused were allowed to present their cases and security presented their evidence. Depending on the nature of the crime, Eve either handled the re-training of the slave personally or she sold the slave. It was the ultimate punishment, as every slave was aware they would probably never find another life as good as the one Eve gave them.

A confident smile touched her lips as her tricolored gaze looked over everything she had built. Her eyes were half emerald and half violet encased in a circle of sapphire. Her skin was pure obsidian, as black as the metal of her fortress. Her shoulder length hair was a mixture of different shades of crimson, orange, and blonde. Large wings were folded against her back beneath her cloak. The wings were covered with soft, black feathers with silver tips. She was 6’7” and possessed more sped, strength, and body durability than most other races around the galaxy. Her wings were not just useless appendages, but gave her actual flight. She was Tarvinian, one of the winged warriors of her home planet Tarvis.

“You should come inside, Mistress. The temperature is still dropping. The storm isn’t far now,” a small, sweet voice said from behind her.

Eve smiled and turned to face the small, human woman. She had affection for Nyx. It wasn’t love, but their friendship ran deep. They enjoyed each other in every way. Eve knew she didn’t have to keep a collar around Nyx’s neck to keep her. But that didn’t mean Eve didn’t take satisfaction from seeing it there.

“See, I was thinking you should come out here with me. A storm like this carries a power, a beauty that should be respected.”

“I can respect it just fine from inside,” Nyx replied, her tone playful.

She stepped out into the chill, as Eve knew she would, and immediately began to shiver. Nyx pulled the hood of her white cloak up, wrapping the folds tightly around her, as she walked to Eve’s side. She looked up at Eve, having to arch her neck just slightly, as she was all of 5’4”. Her shivering increased as the snow started to fall, but she didn’t complain.

Eve noticed her shivering and immediately moved behind her, enfolding the small woman in her cloak, pressing her chest to Nyx’s back to share heat.

“I’m tempted to keep you here for the rest of the day. It will be the kind of storm that demands you to stay in a warm bed, until it ends.”

Nyx smiled knowingly and leaned back into Eve. “You’d feel guilty about the people in the infirmary.”

“You’re not the only doctor I have here. I’m sure they would manage.”

“Yeah, but I’m the best in this half of the galaxy,” Nyx replied confidently.

Eve laughed and shook her head. “If I didn’t know it was true, I’d call you a cocky wench.”

Nyx started to reply but movement in the storm caught her sharp, honey brown gaze. “There’s something out there, Mistress.”

Eve raised her head and peered into the storm. She found the rift immediately, as it seemed to be growing by the second. Eve released Nyx and moved defensively in front of her.

“Go inside. Call up to the watch tower. Make sure they see it and are tracking it. Then get down to the infirmary and call in your staff. Set up for potential injuries,” Eve ordered.

“Right away, Mistress,” Nyx answered before running inside.

Satisfied Nyx was safe; she turned back to the growing anomaly that was alarmingly close to her property. She had seen many spontaneous wormholes before, but she had never heard of one forming on an actual planet. There were no warp gates on Vor, so it wasn’t an accident of technology.

Suddenly, something shot out of it. Eve guessed it was about the size of a small ship, but it was moving too fast for the naked eye to catch, even with her amazing vision. The objected crashed into the mountain just north of the fortress. The anomaly began to dissipate and Eve turned and went inside. She passed through her large, luxurious living quarters and out into the halls. She wore the same weather resistant uniform as her slaves. When she wasn’t off world or entertaining, it was more convenient.

Considering Eve had positioned her quarters close to the command center, it took here minutes to reach the watch tower. A guard opened the door for her and she strode in. She scanned the room for Rolan, the man she had set in charge. He wasn’t hard to find. He was taller than even she and had green, scaled reptilian skin.

“Report,” Eve demanded.

Rolan immediately walked over, carrying a portable display screen. He tapped a few buttons and internal projectors activated, pulling date from all the work stations in the center. A 3-D, interactive holographic image of the even appeared.

“We began tracking the anomaly the moment the sensors picked it up, Mistress. It appears to have been the exit side of a planet-locked, spontaneous wormhole.”

“Were long range sensors able to scan its entry side?” Eve asked.

“Negative. The internal structure was too unstable to read. The portal was either completely spontaneous or it was an extremely primitive first attempt at wormhole production.”

“How often do planet-locked, spontaneous wormholes appear in nature?”

“Often enough to have sparring research done, just enough to make it a possibility in describing the event. But I’m not sold on it, Mistress. I’ve been all around this galaxy and I’ve never seen one,” Rolan answered.

“I typically trust your gut feeling, Commander. What else do you have that points to your second theory?” Eve asked, intrigued.

“It’s the object that passed through. It appears to be a small, primitive shuttle. The engine operates through combustion and requires some sort of oil-based fuel,” Rolan said, tapping the display to project an image of the shuttle.

Eve raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Really? How did it even get off the ground using oil? Nevermind. That’s not important at the moment. Did you find any life forms?”

“We’re not entirely sure, Mistress. We had a very brief series of scans while it was in the air that showed something, but the mountain is rich with bertanium. That combined with the growing storm…” Rolan said, trailing off.

“Meaning we will get absolutely nothing from the scans of the crash site,” Eve said, scowling at the data.

“Precicely, Mistress,” Rolan replied, sounding just as irritated.

“I’m loathe to send my people out into this storm, but if there are survivors, they won’t last long. Have security unit twelve get prepped for a mission. They need to be fully outfitted. Get my Ice Divers off standby and have everyone meet in hanger two in fifteen minutes. Tell Xavier to have his ship prepped and ready,” Eve ordered as she turned to leave the tower.

She heard Rolan begin to issue her orders as the doors closed behind her. She ran to one of the transportation pods that were used to carry people and supplies quickly from one end of the fortress to the other. She punched in her destination and provided her access code. Within minutes, she was walking into the locker room of hanger two.

The locker room was unisex. Security personelle from unit twelve and her Ice Divers were suiting up. Ice Divers were Eve’s elite search and rescue squad. They were all medically competent and could handle the dangers of an accident in Vor’s harsh terrains. They worked closely with unit twelve. Ice Divers ensured the safety of the victims and unit twelve, and unit twelve kept them protected from threats that may or may not include the victims.

Eve fell in line next to Nyx and began to suit up. Nyx was the commanding officer of the Ice Divers. Eve stripped out of her clothes, only to get into a thermal regulated cold suit. She strapped several energy weapons and blades, as well as the equipment necessary to navigate the terrain, to her body. Once she was set, she looked up at the others in the room. They were waiting for her.

“Alright, we don’t know if there are any survivors, but scan did indicate possible life signs before the collision. Keep communication tight and work smart. If there are suvivors, we don’t know how hostile they are. Buddy up. One diver to one security at a minimum at all times. Keep your weapons on tranquilize. Are we clear?”

A resounding “Yes, Mistress,” came in unison from the two squads and Eve nodded. “Secure your helmets and let’s get moving.”

She turned and headed for the shuttle, leaving the team commanders to issue their orders. She worried after Nyx, but she knew, despite the woman’s size, she was as tough as any of them and enjoyed the challenge Vor gave her. She walked up to the medical transport and met the pilot.

“Mis…Mis…Mistress. The…um..the ship is armed and ready. Just…well…waiting on the teams.”

Eve knew Xavier well. He was her best pilot. The poor man was nervous everywhere but the pilot’s seat. His stutter would cease the moment his butt touched the pilot’s seat.

“Well done, Xavier. Let’s get loaded. I want to be out and back before it gets any worse out.”

“A..Agreed, Mis..Mistress,” Xavier replied as he opened the bay door.

Eve stepped in and strapped herself to a seat. The two squads came in shortly after. Once everyone was loaded, the bay door closed and Xavier’s voice came over the speakers.

“Lock down tight back there and hang on. The winds have elevated. This isn’t going to be pretty.”

The hanger doors opened and the transport moved out into the storm. Through the ride, no one said a word. The roar of the storm and the constant bumps, dips, and vibrations were more than enough to make communication impossible.

A large red light turned on over the passenger bay exit. Eve and everyone else put their full-head helmets on. The helmet connected to the jump suit and warm, breathable air began to flow inside it. Digital displays began to appear on the sides of the face shield, providing useful information regarding teammates, the terrain, temperature, and wind speeds. Xavier’s voice filled the helmets through the communication system built in.

“Hovering over the crash site. Opening the bay doors for team deployment in three, two, one, release.”

The door opened and a large gust of wind blew inside. Nyx and Jackson from unit twelve both stood up and manned the line guns at either side of the bay door. Both aimed at the mountain.

“Firing line attachments. You’ll be anchored once we do, Xavier,” Nyx said.

“Copy that, Diver One,” Xavier replied.

“Firing in three, two, one,” Nyx said just before she and Jackson pulled the triggers.

Two arrows fired out of the guns, towing a cable with them. The arrows slammed into the rock, self drilling safety screws secured them in place. Nyx and Jackson attacked the tail ends of the cables directly to the ship.

“Tow lines attached,” Nyx said.

“Roger, Roger. I’ll hold it as steady as I can,” Xavier replied.

“Copy that. All units set to deploy,” Nyx said as she and Jackson attached their belay devices to the cable.

Eve moved up behind her, second in line to jump. “No security personnel descends with me. Stay in your pairs.”

“Copy. Do not descend until we’ve established the landing zone can support us,” Nyx replied.

“Affirmative. Deploy,” Eve answered.

Nyx and Jackson jumped out of the transport and belayed down the cables that connected the ship to the mountain. It wasn’t long before Eve lost sight of them. She fastened her device to the cable and waited.

Several minutes later, Nyx’s voice sounded through the comm. “Landing zone secured. Deploy all units.”

Eve jumped out of the ship and relied on the cable to guide her down. She traveled at a safe speed as the wind tossed her around like a toy. She would have preferred to fly, but the wind was too strong and the temperature was too low to expose her wings to. They were still a part of her flesh and could freeze. They were currently contained in a special piece of her suit designed specifically for her.

When she finally landed, she released her device and rolled to the side to give space for the others. She found Nyx and Jackson facing the crashed ship about one hundred yards away.

“Target acquired. Once the Ice Divers secure a path, we will press forward. Aronis and Tigera are with me for ship entry. The rest of the unit, surround the ship and keep your eyes peeled.” Jackson said.

“Ice Divers, front and center. Let’s get this path mapped out and lined,” Nyx commanded.

Everyone had a part to play. Though Eve didn’t like her slaves going ahead of her, she knew her part wasn’t first. She supplemented the security unit and her physical attributes were often useful on missions. She could move boulders by hand, cross deadly ravines, and carry large amounts of weight. Her team could do all of that with the air of technology, but it took them longer and having Eve around had been crucial in many emergencies.

After about half an hour of listening to the Divers’ comm chatter, she heard Nyx’s voice. “Path to the suttle secured. Map of the path is uploading to your visual screens. Do not deviate from the path. We are sitting on top of a series of caverns. There are numerous weak points outside the path that may crumble under weight.”

“Copy that. Unit twelve, proceed. Mistress, if you’ll take up the rear, please,” Jackson said as his team moved forward.

“Got it,” Eve replied and followed, keeping to the map on her screen.

Once everyone got to the shuttle, Jackson and his two squad mates began to search for an entry point. The ship seemed largely intact and they ended up at the cargo bay door.

“Mistress, we could use your help up here.”

“On my way, Jackson,” Eve replied and started forward.

Eve trekked her way up to the shuttle and fell in line beside Jackson. She looked over the ship, studying the bay door. “What do you need?”

“A way in, Mistress. We could have the Divers cut a way in, but I don’t want to risk them if we don’t have to.”

“Understood. I’ll see what I can do,” Eve replied.

She used her helmet to scan the bay door. The metal it was built out of didn’t seem like it was going to hold up against the storm. The hinges on the door were already beginning to freeze. The door was peppered with dents, as if it had been repeatedly struck. Eve reached out and ran her hand over one of the dents.

“The entire ship is covered in those, Mistress. They seem too small to be impacts from space debris, though.” Jackson commented.

“I would agree. They’re shaped like projectile impacts. My guess is something was fired at this ship,” Eve said.

“That was my conclusion, too. All the more reason for us to go in first.”

Eve nodded and returned her attention to the hinges on the bottom of the door. It appeared to open from the top, making the door a ramp in the down position. The hinges were frozen over. Eve stepped up to the door and began to slam her boot down on the hinge as hard as she could. After two strikes, the hinge broke off and she repeated the process with the others until the bottom of the door was free.

“Everyone clear out. I’m going to yank the door off,” Eve said.

“Negative, Mistress. That leave you at point and completely vulnerable,” Jackson said quickly.

“It’s my choice, Jackson. Nyx, can you run a short range scan of the shuttle for biological matter?”

“Scanning now. I see some biological matter, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to constitute a life form,” Nyx replied.

“There could still be weapons set to auto-fire, Mistress. We’ll call the Divers to cut a hole in the side,” Jackson said.

“Negative, Jackson. I don’t ask my people to do things I wouldn’t. You know that. Now, back your team up. This door is coming off,” Eve replied.

Eve knew he wasn’t happy about it, but he called his team back. She was always touched by his loyalty, but it wasn’t the time for sentimentalities. She slid her hands into the holes made by the broken hinges and gripped the door as tightly as she could.

“Pulling the door in three, two, one,” Eve counted off before she began to yank.

The door resisted her, so she slightly strained her muscles and added more power. The door creaked in protest before finally falling to the ground, stirring up a wave of snow. Eve dropped down to one knee as Jackson’s team instantly moved in front of her and entered the ship. After several minutes of strained silence, Jackson’s voice came through the comm.

“The shuttle is clear, Mistress. No life forms, but there is a lot of blood. The front end of the ship also punched through a weak point in the mountain. The windshield is broken out and it leads into a cave. There is a blood trail and heat signatures. You and Nyx need to come take a look so we can decide how to proceed.”

“Roger that. On our way,” Eve replied as Nyx came up beside her.

They walked into the ship and Nyx immediately began her scans. Eve began to wonder around the ship, trying to put together the pieces of the story. The inside of the shuttle was a disaster. There were broken parts and hull fragments scattered across the floor. Snapped electrical wiring hung from the ceiling in places. Primitive looking computer screens flickered, filled with a language Eve didn’t recognize. There was blood everywhere. There were trails of it on the floor, hand prints on the walls and the computer terminals, and periodic pools of it scattered on the floor.

Eve ended her search with Jackson in the cockpit. There was a large pool of blood at the foot of the pilot’s seat, trails of it running down the seat itself. Nyx’s voice suddenly filled the comm.

“The blood is human, mostly. There are so many similar genetic sequences that I can tell you we are looking for a female with skin the color of mine, brown hair, and green eyes. However, there are several large sequences I’ve never seen before. The creature we seek is definitely human, but she is also something more. However, we may be looking for a corpse, considering the huge amount of blood in here. I’ve also found animal fur. Its genetics are not in any of my data bases. I’ve identified at least two different codes. I think we are dealing with two of the same species of animal. None of the blood is theirs.”

“Come to the cockpit, Nyx. If the human and animals are alive, which not finding corpses indicate it’s a strong possibility, they’ve tried to find shelter in the cave,” Eve replied.

It wasn’t long before Nyx came and she crawled up onto the instrument panel below the shattered windshield. She looked into the cavern for several moments before crawling back down.

“The cave appears to be stable. The blood trail matches the blood in here. She’s definitely down there. If she’s even conscious, she’ll be in no condition to fight. I’m more worried about the animals. There is no evidence to indicate they are injured. I suggest a group of six, three Divers and three security.”

“The team will have seven members. I’m going, too. Pick your two members, Nyx. Then we’ll go in,” Eve replied.

Nyx called her team and when they got there, the seven crawled through the windshield and into the cavern. Jackson took point and they slowly moved into the darkness, following the trail of blood. Lights from their weapons and suits illuminated the cave. About one hundred and fifty yards in, Jackson gave the signal to hold.

“Mistress. Nyx. Get up here. I’ve sighted the animals and they’ve sighted me. They are not engaging, but I don’t want to provoke them. Move slowly.”

“On our way,” Eve answered as she and Nyx moved to the front of the line.

Eve took in the scene first. There was a small lantern, a device pumping off heat, and what appeared to be medical supplies scattered around the area. Two massive animals were laying around the body of a woman, as if they were trying to keep her warm. They had white fur with black stripes. A pair of green eyes and a pair of blue starred intently at her. Eve swore she could see intelligence in their depths.

“They’re massive. They average seven hundred pounds. They are carnivorous and feline. Both are male and they are displaying brain waves as if they are sentient. They are beautiful,” Nyx stated as she scanned them.

“Perhaps they are. It looks like they are trying to keep her warm. Let’s try treating them as if they are. Is the woman alive, Nyx?” Eve asked.

“Yes, but she’s critical. She has severe head trauma, numerous deep lacerations, three broken ribs, and what looks like seven pieces of metal embedded deep within her body. She’s in shock. I’m seeing a line pumping her with fluid. I think she put it in herself with shaky hands. The device itself seems to be nothing more than a needle and tubing. It’s not stable. We need to get her out of here as fast as possible.”

“Okay, let’s assume the animals will protect her. We need to show them we don’t mean her harm. If they don’t let us pass in five minutes or they turn hostile, we tranquilize them. I’ll carry them back to the ship,” Eve said.

“It may be safest and quickest to tranquilize them anyway,” Jackson said.

“I’d rather not treat them like animals if they are sentient. Just follow my lead,” Eve said as she pulled off her helmet.

The cave protected them from the wind and the snow. She set her helmet down by her feet. Jackson and Nyx did the same. Eve took a slow step forward. One of the animals stood up with a majestic grace. He sat down between Eve and the injured woman. The other animal extended his massive paw over the woman’s body, a clear demonstration of protection and possession. Both of their coats were sticky with the woman’s blood.

Eve focused on the sitting, green-eyed animal in front of her. She bowed at the waist to him. The animal surprised her by rising and bowing his head low to the ground in return.

“Wow,” Nyx whispered softly.

Eve extended her hand and took another step forward, offering it to the animal. He walked forward and carefully sniffed her hand. He then looked around her at Jackson. A very low warning growl sounded from the beast.

“Jackson, put your weapon away. Nyx, come here,” Eve said.

Jackson hesitated but put his gun across his back and Nyx stepped forward and offered the animal her hand. The animal sniffed it and Nyx grinned.

“He’s amazing, Mistress.”

“Show him your trauma pack. Let’s see if he recognizes medical supplies,” Eve replied.

Nyx shrugged out of her backpack and opened it. She laid it flat on the ground in front of the animal. He tilted his head and sniffed the supplies in the pack. Claws extended from his massive paw and he used them to scoot some of the supplies around. He looked back up at Nyx, then looked to Eve. He moved out of the way, giving them a path to the woman. They didn’t hesitate to move forward. When Jackson tried to follow, the animal stepped in his way and growled.

“Stay put, Jackson,” Eve said quickly, turning around to make sure the animal didn’t attack.

“Hurry, Mistress,” Jackson said, staring at the creature.

Eve nodded and walked to Nyx’s side. She was offering her hand to the blue-eyed animal. She seemed to pass the inspection, as the animal pulled his arm off the woman. Nyx got right to work.

“She doesn’t have any spinal or nervous system injuries. It’s safe to roll her on her back. I could use your help, Mistress.”

Eve knelt beside Nyx and helped roll the woman over. Eve’s heart stopped in her chest when she saw the woman’s face. Even bloody, broken, and bruised, she was the most beautiful human Eve had ever seen. She swallowed, reminded her self to breathe, and refocused. She could admire the girl another time, like when she was in her fortress and stable.

Nyx was putting monitors on the woman and attempting to slow the flow of blood from the more serious injuries. “It looks like the fluid is a highly concentrated nutrient solution. Her body is healing itself at a pace one thousand times that of normal human healing, but its burning an insane amount of calories to do it. I think that’s why she put the nutrient line in before she passed out. If we don’t get her to the infirmary quickly, she’s going to starve to death trying to heal her injuries. I need to prep her for transport, but I need help,” Nyx said as she worked.

“We’re not going to let that happen. Get the rest of the Divers up here and get them past the animals. I want to be out of here in fifteen minutes,” Eve said.

Her people began to scramble as Eve stood up, looking down over the woman. Something about her stirred Eve’s protective nature. She didn’t believe a majority of the woman’s wound had come from the crash. They looked like combat wounds. For some reason, someone had intentionally hurt her, likely tried to kill her. Eve wasn’t sure why, but the idea of anyone hurting the woman to this extent inexplicably angered her. Unsettled by her reaction, she turned and walked toward the exit of the cave, leaving her team to do what they do best.

Last edited by IvoryTigress : 03-08-2013 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:29 PM   #14
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Another writing prompt given to me a bit ago.

The four classical elements are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The Chinese version is Earth, Fire, Wood, Water, and Metal. Which one of these elements do you most identify with? Pick one and then, since you're open to writing prompts, perhaps you wouldn't mind writing from the point of view of that element?

I am crystal clear, but I am murky. I am endlessly deep, and yet, I am shallow. Without me, life would not be possible. I nurture it, feed it. It grows within my body. I -am- life. But still, I am death. I take that which I give just as readily. If not treated with the respect I deserve, I will savagely destroy anything in my path. I will not be denied. My rage is just as strikingly powerful as my patience. I am pushed. I am pulled. An endless game of balance and change. My Mistress's lunar power commands me. I hear her call, even in the light of day. I am silent. Being within me is endlessly peaceful. And yet I thrash. I crash,. I shatter against anything in my path. You are a part of me. I am a part of you. Forever are we bound. All of your strength, your weakness.....your desires for peace and your storms.....We are one.

I am water.
She is me.
As I will, so mote it be.

I'm toying around with a character that is a surfer. A magical concept I think I want to call a wave caller. Or a tide caller. Vast cities hidden from humanity beneath the sea. Wave/Tide callers are the gate keepers and defenders of said cities....they can call the sea and it will answer them. Ride waves without boards. The animals am life within the sea will answer them...My surfer wouldn't know she was caller....raises by humans....still need to flesh out such an idea, but I wanted to write it down somewhere so I wouldn't forget it...as well as the prompt that got me thinking about it.

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Old 03-15-2013, 06:04 PM   #15
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Eve Ch: 2

Consciousness returned to Mikayla Jones in waves. She had flashes of wind and now, of strange ships and languages. The images were mixed with the nightmares she always had when her body was severely damaged and she’d lost consciousness. She hadn’t been able to tell whether she was awake or dreaming. She still wasn’t sure. All she knew was that she was warm and she was in no pain.

She opened her eyes and starred at a gently lit ceiling. She licked her lips and found her mouth to be bone dry. Thirst and hunger slammed their way into her mind, snapping her into focus. She looked down at her body, searching for her injuries. She narrowed her gaze when she found no signs of her wounds. She had no memory of eating, and considering her stomach was demanding food the way it did when it wanted to heal rapidly, she assumed she hadn’t. However, her body was in flawless shape. It didn’t make sense. She should still be mending.

As she moved her head, something rubbed against the skin of her neck. She reached up and felt a patch attached to some form of tubing. More curious than worried, she tugged at the patch. It resisted her at first, forcing her to endure the annoying sting of rapidly tugging off a band aid. She brought it into her field of view to study. It almost looked like an EKG pad used to monitor heart function, but there were hundreds of tiny bumps on the side that had been stuck to her neck. She ran her thumb across the bumps, and when she pulled her thumb away, the pad was coated in a thin layer of clear, viscous fluid.

She immediately reached up with her other hand and touched the spot on her neck. It was slick with the same clear substance. She sat up and followed the tubing connected to the pad back to a port on the side of the bed. There was a display along side the tubing, different symbols that constantly changed flashing across it. They made no sense to her. She looked over the rest of the bed and found it to be covered in similar displays, all containing more of the same language. She raised her gaze and studied the rest of the room.

It was filled with technology she had never seen before. It was ore advanced than anything in the laboratories she had grown up in. All the displays appeared to be touch screen activated and they were filled with dynamic, holographic images. One had a three dimensional image of her body on it. Despite the language being momentarily beyond her grasp, she recognized the waveforms that traveled across the screen. The device was monitoring her vital signs. She looked down at the rest of her body, searching for any more of the mysterious pads. Finding none, she determined the machine was monitoring her through some other means.

Mikayla ultimately concluded she was in a medical facility of some kind. Someone must have hauled her out of the cave and treated her wounds. It was the only solution that made all the pieces fit. She scanned the room for her clothing. She didn’t see it, but she hadn’t expected to. They likely had to have been cut off to treat her wounds. She was comfortable with her body. She was toned, lean, and agile. However, the lack of clothing left her vulnerable to injury, which she did not care for.

She rolled off the table and the moment when no part of her body was still in contact with the table, something that sounded like an alarm went off. She looked up at the display that had once contained her vitals. It had flat lined. Apparently, the bed had somehow been holding a reading on her. Not sure what to do about the alarm, Mikayla turned to look for clothing of any kind. Instead, she found herself face to face with a strange man.

Mikayla was aware she looked strange to other people. She had purple runes that sometimes glowed scattered across her body. So, she accepted that the man was just staring at her. She returned the favor, looking him over from head to toe. He wasn’t dressed like any medical professional she had seen, or imagined. In fact, he looked more like security. The strange gun resting at his hip added weight to her theory. He looked nervous, and Mikayla’s senses and awareness instantly sharpened. Nervous people with weapons tended to use them without thinking first.

He spoke to her and she didn’t understand one word he said. When she only raised a questioning eyebrow, his voice got louder and he dropped his hand to the butt of his gun. Mikayla knew he would draw and his nerves would make him trigger happy. She didn’t want to hurt him, but she wasn’t about to let him point a weapon at her either.

When he started to do just that, Mikayla let her instinct to take over. She was faster than him, faster than any other human she’d encountered. Her body had been born in a lab, the first genetic experiment in human weaponry. She swung her fist at his weapon, knocking it away. In three quick blows, the man was unconscious at her feet. She knelt down and checked his pulse and pupils. Once she determined he would be okay, she stripped him and put his body on the table. His weight didn’t burden her and the alarm stopped beeping.

She dressed in his clothes. They were too big for her, but if she rolled the sleeves and pant legs up, wore his belt, and tucked in the shirt, she could make do. His boots were way too big, and she knew if she wore them, she’d end up with blisters. She opted to stay barefoot. She was tempted to take his weapon, but she didn’t know how it worked or how much damage it caused. Instead, she picked it up and put it in a supply drawer, out of sight.

It was then she realized Tyrion and Atrian were not in the room with her. She opened her mind to their mental connection and found it to be quiet. She could feel her tigers and knew they were alive, but they were not conscious. Worried for them, she ran out the way the guard had come. Hearing urgent sounding conversations, she ducked low behind some equipment. She peaked out and watched several people dressed in what looked like white scrubs flock around two beds. Their hands were busy, but she couldn’t see what they were occupied with.

She located the exit and silently slipped through while everyone’s attention was diverted. She had to pass through several more rooms before she found herself in a wide, busy hallway. Her eyes widened as she took in what she saw. Humans and many different kinds of people who were definitely not human hurried about their business. They all wore similar clothing and had some kind of metal collar wrapped around their throats. Some were getting into and out of spheres that shot down tubes and ran parallel to the hallway.

She heard shouting and she turned to see four more people dressed in the same security uniform she was in. She didn’t exactly fear death or pain, but she did have a deep respect for both. She had no intentions of ever visiting the first and only enjoyed the second in controlled, consensual environments. She didn’t think the guards would follow those guidelines, so she turned and ran.

The hallways were endless. She had been running for ten minutes, taking turns by random and she had yet to find the end of one. On top of that, guards seemed to appear out of no where every direction she chose. All of them screamed at her and pointed their weapons. She had jumped, dodged, and ducked in attempt to never give them a clear shot.

She shouldered her way through a set of double doors and found herself in a two level cafeteria. The upper level was more like a balcony that ran around the edge of the large, rectangular room. It was filed with tables that rested behind a railing that over looked the lower floor, which was also filed with tables and people enjoying a meal.

She ran to the railing to judge how far a drop it was before something caught her attention. Sitting directly across the room from her was the strangest creature she had seen yet. The woman’s skin was black as night, her hair the color of fire. She had large, black feathered wings that were sprinkled with silver, like stars on a clear night. She was, easily, the most beautiful thing Mikayla had ever seen. When the creature rose from her seat and starred directly into Mickayla’s eyes, time seemed to stop. She shivered as the intensity of the connection threatened to shift her world. She knew the other woman felt it, too.

Time came rushing back when something large and extremely heavy slammed into her back and broke the eye contact. She realized it was a man when they both went tumbling over the railing. His skin was a deep blue color and his body literally felt like bricks. She had evaded him several times before now. Having no desire to see anyone genuinely hurt; she twisted and struggled with him in the air until his body was over hers when they broke through a table, taking the brunt of the impact. His substantial mass knocked the wind out of her and pain blossomed across her chest as she felt three familiar ribs snap. She coughed out blood and spat it to the side. When she looked back at him, she saw his massive fist coming straight toward her face. She moved her head to the side and slammed her elbow into his throat. She almost cried out when her bone cracked against his skin, but took some satisfaction in the fact that he was at least choking a bit. She was about to move him off her when his weight was suddenly flung from her.

She coughed a bit more, spat out some more thick blood and looked up to see the winged woman standing over her. She had tossed his weight as if he were made of feathers. She didn’t believe the woman meant her harm, but she was cautious none the less. The creature reached down, offering a large hand to Mikayla. She hesitated, looking around the room. Where it had once been filled with fearful screams, it was now eerily silent. Even the toddler in the high chair behind her wasn’t crying anymore. Mikayla turned back to the woman. She looked up into her eyes again, searching for any signs of malevolence. Finding none, she slowly slid her hand into the other woman’s, her knuckles bloody from having punched several guards.

The woman smiled beautifully at her and gently pulled Mikayla to her feet. Confused, Mikayla studied her closely. She seemed about to say something, but movement flickered in the corner of Mickayla’s gaze. She shifted her attention to the blue man. He had recovered and looked unreasonably angry. He was drawing his gun and all Mikayla could think about was the little girl behind her. If she moved, whatever the weapon fired would hit the child.

There was no second thought in Mickayla’s mind. She turned around and picked up the child from the seat, hugging her close to her chest. She didn’t know the kind of ammunition the weapon took, or if it had a spray radius. She whispered words of power, called to her magic and threw all her energy into a circle of protection around the girl. She heard three shots fired just as the runes on her body began to glow.

Pain exploded through her back and she cried out, falling to one knee. It was a thousand times worse than any amount of bullets she had ever taken. It felt like the flesh of her body was being eaten, ripped away from her bones. She had an abnormally large pain tolerance, an attribute that had been bred into her and one she had been forced to train frequently. Whatever had impacted her was more than she had ever experienced and she felt the grip of death try to latch onto her. The only thing that kept her fighting was the knowledge that the girl in her arms wasn’t safe.

Suddenly, a small woman with honey brown eyes was in her field of vision, talking to her. Mikayla couldn’t even hear her, but she was wearing the same white scrubs Mikayla had seen in the medical facility. She was holding her arms out to the wiggling toddler. The little girl was crying and reaching for the woman. Assuming the child knew her, Mikayla happily gave her up.

After being freed of her burden, Mikayla looked down at her chest. Her shirt was saturated in blood, a substantial pool already forming at her feet. She was suddenly extremely light headed and she fell backwards into strong arms. The winged woman was cradling her. Mikayla saw her lips move as she looked at other people in the room, but she heard nothing of what she said. She knew she would die. Her body was too badly damaged so soon. She hadn’t had a chance to properly refuel it, and with no fuel, there would be no healing. Mikayla relaxed in the woman’s arms, staring up at her. The sudden release of tension had the woman looking back down at her. She was speaking, but Mikayla didn’t really care what she was saying. She was just grateful to be able to look at her. As her vision went black, Mikayla couldn’t help but think if she were going to die, at least she’d go out with the image of a beautiful woman burned on her retinas. She whispered one last spell, sending a message of apology to Tyrion and Atrian for when, if ever, they awoke.

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Old 03-19-2013, 08:39 PM   #16
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Eve: Chapter Three

“Nyx! Get over here!” Eve yelled, holding the woman’s limp body in her arms as a surge of desperation snatched her heart.

“Right here, Mistress. You have to set her down. I need room and she’s fading fast. I have no idea how she’s even still alive after three plasma shots. I need to try and stabilize her before we can even think about moving her,” Nyx said, already pulling equipment from her trauma kit.

Eve set the woman on the ground and, as much as she didn’t want to leave her, she got up and out of Nyx’s way. A medical team swarmed her like ants. Even had no skill in medicine and would only make the team’s job more difficult. So, she backed up several paces and looked away from the scene, searching for rationality as her heart raced.

Hundreds of questions burned through her mind and she took the time to prioritize them. Her people were frightened and prone to panic. She needed to take control of the situation and give them a sense of comfort and order. The process would give her something to do and chase away the irrational sense of panic and loss connected to the fate of the human currently bleeding out in her mess hall.

She first walked to Telane, watching her cradle Angela to her chest. The child appeared to be fine and Nyx wouldn’t have given her to Telane if it were otherwise. Still, the mother need to know Eve cared and would handle the situation appropriately.

“Is Angela alright, Telane?”

“Thankfully, yes. My child could have died, Mistress! Why are you letting Nyx heal that monster?” Telane demanded, tears streaming down her cheeks as she maintained her death grip on the wiggling little girl.

“Telane, find your kindness. That woman is not at fault. She actually saved your baby. I watched it in her eyes. She had seen Darlit raise his weapon. She had time to move, but she knew Angela was behind her. She chose to take the shots to ensure Angela wouldn’t be harmed. A complete stranger has given her blood, possibly her life, to save your baby. If you want someone to blame, blame Darlit. That’s where I’m starting. It is never my will to have weapons on hot inside this fortress.”

Telane looked down at the woman on the ground, Nyz elbow deep in the holes in her chest. Telane was a good woman and Eve watched the sympathy form fresh tears in her eyes. She sniffled and looked back up at Eve. “Do you think they can save her?”

“I’m not sure. Her body has demonstrated some remarkable abilities, but she was not fully recovered from the injuries she sustained in the crash and three plasma shots is more than I’ve seen any human take. I hope she will live, but I’m not counting on it. Take Angela to the infirmary and have her checked out again, just in case,” Eve replied somberly.

“Yes, Mistress. Thank you,” Telane said before she hurried out of the hall.

Eve glanced over and watched Nyx work while she begged the unconscious woman’s body to respond. Not wanting to see the woman pass, she turned and walked over to where her Captain of the Guard had Darlit restrained. Eve let the reigns on her anger free as she grabbed his collar and picked him straight off the ground.

“What was going on in your pathetic excuse of a mind when you decided it was a great idea to switch your weapon to hot in a mess hall filled with innocent people?” she demanded.

“That bitch was a threat! Do you know how many of our people she took down? She even stole the clothes off her door guard. She needed to be put down like the rabid bitch she is,” he growled through clenched teeth.

Eve looked at her Captain. “Report the status of your men, Boran.”

“Seventeen of my men are being treated for non-critical injuries. My initial conclusions are that someone frightened our guest. Whatever it was, she reacted like a soldier. She chose hallways that were low on civilian traffic, and whenever she felt forced to fight, her goal was to incapacitate her opponents by dealing as little punishment as possible. The medical staff supports this conclusion. The total numbers are seventeen security officers, two civilians who were attempting to aid security, and possibly the toddler here,” he replied efficiently.

Eve returned her attention to Darlit. “You’re one of my stronger, faster security members. You also have one of the largest egos and bad attitudes. How many times had she evaded you before she rammed her elbow into your throat?”

Darlit growled in response, his jaw setting defiantly. When he didn’t respond, Eve kneed him in the groin. When his eyes widened with pain, she tightened her grip on his collar and restricted his air flow. His blue skin was armored, so the strike had hurt her knee, but it was no where near the amount necessary to pierce her own hardened skin or cause her to slow down.

“How many?” she snarled at him.

“Seven, Mistress,” Darlit finally replied.

“I’ve had to re-train you several times, Darlit. Your hatred for women, blatant disregard for my laws, and your willingness to place the safety of this community at risk to sate your personal frustrations have no place here.”

She released him and looked back to Boran. “Captain. I want this slave stripped and included in the next shipment of inventory we are auctioning.”

Darlit instantly perked up. “You can’t do that!”

Eve looked down at him. “You have forgotten your place for the last time. You are my property, slave. The life I have given you needs to be earned. You have not proven yourself to be anything more than a broken piece of equipment. As such, you will be sold as inventory I no longer require. I warned you after your third time coming to me in chains. Now, you are finished,” she said before looking back to Boran. “Get it out of my sight.”

Several security members helped the Captain remove the struggling slave as Eve glanced back at Nyx. A little bit of hope streamed through her as she saw Nyx was prepping the woman for travel. They had gotten her stable enough to get he to the infirmary alive. It was something.

She turned away and addressed the rest of the mess hall. “All of you, go back to your meals. Keep out of the way of the medical crew. You will be sent updates on the situation through the news screen in your quarters. Thank you for doing all the right things in an emergency situation.”

She nodded to them and walked out, making her way to the watch tower. Once inside, she saw Rolan already walking toward her. “I have what happened analyzed, Mistress. Shall we go to my office?”

“Yes. I want to know how in the hell she got out of the infirmary in the first place,” Eve replied angrily.

“Both luck and skill, Mistress. Here, I’ll show you,” he said as they walked into his office.

He sat down at his desk and began to pull up a series of display screens. He began to roll the security footage from the infirmary. “She’s waking up here, faster than Nyx anticipated, I’m assuming. She doesn’t appear to be afraid, more curious and confused. She pulled herself free of whatever line Nyz had her attached to and got up.”

“It was a nutrient line. Nyx says her body needs two and a half times the calories than that of a standard human. If she’s not able to eat, she needs that line to survive, “Eve commented.

“She seemed to do just fine without it, Mistress.”

“I’m aware. Nyx and I are going to have to talk about why that is so. She knows this woman has a subtly different genetic structure than any other human she’s seen. I don’t think Nyx knows exactly what sh is, or what she's capable of.”

“Whatever she is, she’s smart. She figures out the bed itself was monitoring her system. When the guard comes in to investigate, she doesn’t seem to understand him, but she doesn’t panic. The guard, a Mister Robert Tain, is brand new. He freaks out and tries to draw his gun. She reacts with the skill and precision of a trained assassin or soldier. It’s like she went on auto-pilot. She renders him unconscious, strips him, and puts his body on the bed to get the monitor to stop beeping. She takes the clothes that are useful to her. However, she leaves the gun. I’m not quite sure why she would do that,” Rolan said thoughtfully.

“If we are going to assume she’s some kind of soldier, perhaps she didn’t want to carry a weapon she doesn’t know how to use. What I saw of her ship was primitive, at best. I have a feeling our technology far exceeds what she's used to. So, she hides the gun to lessen the chances it will be used against her in the future. From what I’ve been able to piece together, she went out of her way to injure people as little as possible. She’s even manually checking Tain’s vitals there and I watched her fall off the railing with Darlit. She spun her body so she would take the brunt of the fall, not him. Why did no medical personnel respond to the monitor with the guard?”

“That’s where the luck comes in. Two other patients had coded when our guest got up. All medical personnel in the unit were working to stabilize them. She took advantage of that and slipped out while no one was looking.”

Eve sighed. “Alright. Let's keep going through this. I need to know who is responsible for what so I can decide how to handle it. This should never have happened.”

“Agreed, Mistress. There are holes in our procedure somewhere,” Rolan replied.

For the next six hours, Eve and Rolan poured through the video footage. They made notes, speculated, and outlined possible areas for improvement. Eve leaned back in her chair and rubbed her eyes. Many of the mistakes they had pinpointed stemmed from the fact that the mysterious woman seemed to be better trained than her responding security staff. It was a serious problem. A woman in unfamiliar territory made accurate and correct decisions about how to best evade her forces. It had been flawless on her part, up until the cafeteria.

The memory made her smile. The woman had been on the move, obviously thinking two and three steps ahead, until she realized Eve was watching her. Eve had been able to almost feel the girl’s mind work, just as she had felt the moment when everything had fallen out of it. Once Eve had made contact with those soft, violet eyes, Eve knew everything around her had faded away. She knew because it had been the same for her. Even though it had gotten her injured, Eve couldn’t help feeling a little satisfaction at the strength of the woman’s reaction, the intensity that had passed between them.

Eve’s personal communicator began to beep. She fished around in her pocket and pulled it out, activating the view screen. Nyx’s face filled it and she looked exhausted, still adorned in bloody surgical attire.

“She’s alive and stable, Mistress. But she is displaying sign
s of severe starvation. I’ve got five nutrient lines running in her and it's not enough. She’s still fading. She needs actual food.”

“Can’t we feed her?” Eve asked.

“That’s where it gets complicated. She is currently in a coma. Now, I can bring her out of it with medication, but I don’t know what state her mind will be in when she wakes. She must have been terrified earlier, so I don’t think waking her up to being restrained on an operating table with a lot of unfamiliar faces around her will be the best option. It would likely trigger another flight or fight response, which will only send her nutrient level plummeting further. I need her as relaxed as possible when she wakes.”

Eve pondered the situation for a moment or two. “Is she in a condition where she can be moved?”

Nyx looked skeptical. “Yes, but I wouldn’t want to take her far.”

“What if we moved some medical equipment to my quarters? We can have food brought to us. You and I will stay with her. She needs you as a medical professional and she accepted my hand in the mess hall. I can protect you without her feeling threatened,” Eve suggested.

“She may not remember you, Mistress,” Nyx pointed out.

“While that is true, I won’t have a security uniform on and I won’t be armed. From watching the security footage, I know she takes in those small details instantly.”

Nyx leaned back and thoughtfully looked over at something out side of Eve’s display field. “It’s not an option I like. She will be weak, her mind likely fuzzy. She may not react the same way she did this afternoon. However, I can’t think of a better solution. I’ll get everything together and meet you at your quarters with her in half an hour.”

“Stop by your quarters and pick up several days worth of clothing. Until she’s at a point where you feel comfortable taking her back to the infirmary, you’ll be bunking down with me.”

“Yes, Mistress,” Nyx replied before Eve shut her communicator off.

“I would prefer it if you let me post two of our top officers at your door for the duration of this, Mistress,” Rolan said carefully.

Eve instantly wanted to deny him, but she saw the wisdom in his words. The woman was unpredictable and dangerous, despite Eve genuinely believing she meant no harm. Trouble seemed to follow her around. They desperately needed to get past the language barrier, but the woman had yet to speak. They didn’t even have a sample of her language to plug into the computer for analyzing. A thought suddenly occurred to her.

“Alright. You can post two guards. I also want her ship recovered. If the engineers can get the systems running, we may be able to get samples of her language. We need to communicate with this woman before anymore misunderstandings happen,” Eve said as she stood up and stretched her cramped muscles.

“Good idea, Mistress. I’ll see to it personally,” Rolan said.

“No, you won’t, Commander. You’ll issue your orders and then you’ll go rest. You’ve been at this for longer than me.”

“Mistress…” Rolan started to say before trailing off as he watched Eve’s face harden and her eyebrow raise.

“Yes, Rolan?”

“I…” he sighed and looked down, “As you say, Mistress.”

Eve stepped up to him, placing a finger beneath his chin to raise his gaze to hers. “You’re a good man, Rolan. You work hard and well for me. One of the problems we just finished discussing was sloppiness. You can’t perform your best if you’re exhausted. I need you at your best, okay? We have no idea what kind of attention might be chasing this girl.”

“I see your point. I’ll finish it according to your requests,” he said.

“Good. Rest well, Commander,” she replied before turning and walking out of his office.

With her administrative duties temporarily finished, Eve headed back to her quarters. She had to go prepare them. She was about to tuck a gorgeous, dangerous woman into her bed, and the thought brought an immediate smile to her lips.

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Old 03-24-2013, 06:40 PM   #17
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Eve: Chapter 4

Mikayla groaned as she realized she was waking up. Her entire body ached, throbbed from the abuse it had taken. Her stomach burned with hunger so badly that she wondered how she was still alive. She almost wishes she wasn’t. Almost. She heard soft voices around her, so she forced her eyes open.

The first thing she saw was the winged woman’s face. They stared at each other for several long moments. Mikayla’s head hurt too much to try and rationalize why the woman was still there. A snapping sound came from too close to her head. She jerked her head to the side out of instinct and immediately regretted it. Her vision swirled. She thought she was going to pass out again, but a small, gentle hand cupped her cheek. It helped steady her and she found herself looking into familiar kind, soft eyes. They were the eyes of the woman who had been dressed in white scrubs in the cafeteria. She softly tapped Mikayla’s chest, pointed to her eyes, and then tapped her own chest A questioning expression painted her pretty features.

Believing the woman was asking if she could see her, Mikayla nodded her head in the affirmative. Still adorning the white scrubs, Mikayla deduced her to be a doctor. She pulled her gaze away and looked around the room. It looked like the nicest hotel room she had ever seen. The style and design was unique and foreign, but it hurt to think too much past noticing its features. Plus, it really hurt to move her head. Since she didn’t see anyone else and saw only one door and a balcony, she returned her attention back to the women sitting with her on the massive bed.

They were watching her carefully. Neither of the women was armed and Mikayla began to believe they just wanted to help her. Not wanting to be flat on her back anymore, she tried to sit up. Her vision swirled again and her strength failed her. The winged woman moved instantly, helping her to sit up and lean against the headboard. Her touch was gentle, but she lifted Mikayla as though she weighed nothing. She even sat beside her, offering her black form as support. Mikayla’s pride didn’t keep her from accepting the offer.

The doctor was speaking to her again and Mikayla looked back at her. She was opening and closing her fists. Recognizing that the doctor might be trying to test her neurological or cognitive function, she raised her hands to do the same. Confusion swamped her when she found her wrists to be bound together by metal cuffs three inches in width. There was a soft material on the inside against her skin, likely to keep them from injuring her. She looked back and forth between the two women, raised her bound wrists and put a questioning look on her face.

The doctor looked to the winged woman, who picked up a small screen like the ones Mikayla had seen in the medical facility. She tapped her fingers on the screen several times and a movie of Mikayla fighting the security officers began to move across the screen. It had to be security footage and Mikayla instantly knew why she had been cuffed. She looked away and sat her hands in her lap, nodding in understanding. She didn’t like the cuffs, but she was in no condition to do anything about it. She barely had the strength to hold her wrists up in the first place. She also understood that it was possible they saw her as a potential threat. She sighed in acceptance.

The winged woman set the display screen back down on the bed. She reached over and pressed her thumb against the metal bar between the cuffs. The cuffs snapped open and Mikayla looked up at her, confused. The woman smiled at her and took the cuffs away. Surprised, Mikayla bowed her head just a bit in gratitude.

“Thank you,” she said softly, running her tongue over her dry lips.

The woman’s smile brightened and she began to talk to the doctor. They spoke quickly and Mikayla tried to pay close attention, to listen to words or phrases often repeated. But it was becoming harder and harder to focus. The burn in her stomach was making the pain in her head worse. All she wanted to do was go back to sleep. Her eyes started to close and she felt a warm hand cup her cheek. Her head was turning and she heard the winged woman’s voice take on a stern tone.

Mikayla opened her eyes and found herself staring into the woman’s eyes. She thought itw as odd that they were three different colors, but they were so beautiful that it didn’t matter. She began to wonder if she was delirious and decided it was a distinct possibility. All of it could easily be a fabrication of her mind. As far as dream worlds went, it wasn’t half bad.

Suddenly, the doctor’s face was in front of her. She wasn’t sure how or when she stopped looking at the winged woman. She was losing track of time. When the doctor pressed a straw to her lips, it didn’t even cross her mind that it could be dangerous. She was so hungry that pure instinct took over and she just drank. A fruity flavor she didn’t recognize exploded across her tongue and she groaned in relief as the thick fluid slid down her throat. Her eyes fell closed and she just kept drinking, even when she started to shiver because whatever she was consuming was cold. All that mattered was the fire in her stomach was just a little bit less than it had been before. With the pain easing, exhaustion began to take hold of her. She didn’t even notice as her body leaned into the winged woman’s and consciousness slipped from her.


Eve sighed as she laid the woman’s body back down on the bed. She covered her back up and looked to Nyx.

“Did she finish the smoothie, at least?”

“Enough of it to satisfy me. We are going to have to wake her up every three hours to feed her, but her vitals are a bit more stable. She’s not out of the woods yet, but this is a significant improvement. I’m finding myself constantly surprised by her resiliency. Even starved almost to the point of death, she managed to hold herself together enough to get some form of dialog across. At least we know she’s willing to try,” Nyx said as she adjusted one of the five nutrient lines she had running into the girl.

“Indeed. Her willingness to remain bound without a struggle is why I released her. If we continue to pose no threat to her, she won’t feel the need to defend herself and she’ll cooperate,” Eve commented.

“How do we know what she considers threatening?” Nyx asked.

“We don’t, but I think we’ve made good progress so far. Let’s keep going on the same path and see where it goes. If it does go south, in her weakened state, I should be more than capable of handling her.”

Nyx nodded and ran her fingers through her hair. “I need to shower. I’ve been elbow deep in this woman’s body since this morning. As much as her body seemed to help me, it was still a lot of damage.”

“Did you ever figure out what these markings are?” Eve asked, running her fingertip over the violet rune on the woman’s chest above her heart.

Nyx shook her head. “Not really. They are not tattoos. We checked for dye in the skin cells. On top of that, some of the markings on her back had been destroyed by the plasma bolts. When we repaired the damage, the markings returned exactly as they had been before. The best guess I have is that they are a property of her skin, like the different skin pigmentation found in humans.”

Eve nodded just as her communicator started to beep. She sighed and mumbled, “This day couldn’t possibly get longer.”

She activated the display and when the face of her lead veterinarian emerged, she would guess the problem and exhaustion pressed at the back of her mind.

“Good evening, Mistress. I apologize for bothering you at this hour, but the situation has grown urgent.”

“It’s the two felines, isn’t it, Lisa?”

“Yes. They have woken from sedation and are displaying threatening behavior to anyone who comes close. I don’t want to sedate them again because we need to feed them. I’ve scanned them and have found meat akin to their typical diet. We’ve thrown the meat into the pens we are keeping them in, but they haven’t touched it. Instead, they’ve been systematically testing the pens for weaknesses in security, I think. It’s very unusual behavior for animals,” Lisa replied.

“They are not typical animals. They are sentient and need to be treated as such. They’ve responded positively to me before. I’m on my way,” Eve said.

“Thank you, Mistress,” Lisa answered before ending the transmission.

Nyx smiled sympathetically. “I guess the day can get longer, after all. Don’t worry, Mistress. I’ll see to our guest and have a bath waiting for you when you return.”

Eve leaned over and pressed her lips sweetly to Nyx’s. “You’ve always been too good to me.”

Nyx smiled and returned the kiss. “It’s the other way around, my lady. Now, go. I have a feeling the felines won’t be satisfied until they see this woman.”

“Unfortunately, I think you’re right. I’ll return as soon as I can. Since I will likely have two large felines in tow, so be prepared.”

“I will, Mistress.”

Eve nodded and headed out of her quarters. She got in a transport sphere and set her destination for the agricultural block. It was about a ten minuet walk to where the livestock was kept. When she was five minutes out, she heard Lisa’s authoritative voice snapping out orders and loud, deep growls from what could only be the two felines.

Eve covered the rest of the distance at a sprint, skidding to as top beside Lisa. She was a tall, broad woman accustomed to tangling with all different types of animals. Her hands were hardened by calluses. Her face and uniform were covered in dirt and blood from raw meat.

“What’s going on?” Eve asked quickly.

“They figured out how the bloody gate works, Mistress. I don’t know how, but all of the sudden, they charged through it and knocked two of my men on their asses.”

“Any injuries?”

“None yet. We have them surrounded with shock bars, but all of us know they can break through my line of guys if they really wanted to. I don’t want to injure them, Mistress. We don’t have enough information on their anatomy to ensure accurate treatment.”

“Take me to them and then find me a display screen that’s reasonably large, not pocket sized. We could be here a while,” Eve replied, her mind already working.

“This way, then,” Lisa said, already on the move.

Eve followed her to the scene, weaving in and out of different pens until coming to an open, grassy field, an artificial sun setting across the ceiling. The two felines were surrounded by a circle of ten men and women. Each of them held a metallic staff that Eve knew could electrify anything the tip touched. As she ran forward, the animals caught sight of her and watched her every move.

“Everyone turn your bars off and back up twenty feet. Once there, put the bars on the ground and hold your hands where the felines can see them,” Eve commanded.

None of them hesitated to do as she asked. Eve took several steps toward the felines. Once she was a respectable distance, she bowed to them, lowered herself to one knee and offered her hand to them. The beasts stopped growling and cautiously approached her. Eve did her best not to stiffen as they both sniffed her hand. After several moments, they both gracefully bowed their heads and sat down, looking at her expectantly.

“Lisa, do we have that screen yet?” Eve asked calmly so she didn’t put the animals back on edge.

“Yes, Mistress. May I bring it to you?” Lisa asked, matching Eve’s tone as if she understood exactly what Eve was doing.

“Yes, but approach slowly. When you reach me, bow and then kneel to offer your hand. I’ve noticed if they don’t approve of you, they will give a warning growl. If that happens, you leave the display with me and back up.”

“Understood, Mistress. I see what you’re doing. If they hadn’t woken in a rage, I would have tried this earlier,” Lisa said as she slowly began her approach.

“It’s okay. I think they are worried about their human friend.”

“That would explain their reaction,” Lisa said as she bowed.

Twin pairs of blue and green eyes shifted to Lisa as he offered her hand. The felines took longer to establish their opinion of Lisa, but they eventually bowed in return and Lisa let out a breath she hadn’t been aware she was holding.

“Hold up the screen so they can see it,” Eve said.

When Lisa complied, Eve tapped in her security codes and pulled up the footage of the day’s events, starting with the woman waking up in the infirmary. Once they saw their friend on screen, the felines moved closer and watched with interest. They growled angrily when the woman was shot and Eve quickly forwarded to the footage of Nyx treating the woman in the infirmary. She then uploaded a live stream from the cameras in her quarters. Nyx was sitting by the unconscious woman, refilling the nutrient lines.

The blue-eyed feline purred and raised her massive paw, awkwardly pointing to the woman on the screen.

“Lisa, will you get the meat you tried to feed them? I’m going to try and see if they’ll eat if I tell them I’ll take them to her.”

“Good idea, Mistress. I know they’re hungry,” Lisa said as she handed Eve the display and slowly rose to get the food.

When the beasts only continued to watch the screen, Lisa backed away and Eve took the time to study them closely. They were some of the most beautiful predators Eve had ever encountered. Their black and white fur was full and thick. Their paws were massive, their eyes sharp and intelligent. Knowing they had come with the exotic woman currently in her bed, Eve wondered what world they could have come from.

Lisa walked back up and set the massive slabs of meat in front of the animals. They looked away from the screen and sniffed the meat. Though Eve could see the hunger in their faces, the green-eyed one raised his paw back to the screen, pointing to the woman. In response, Eve pointed back at each of them, then to the meat, and then to the woman on the screen. Both of them tilted their heads curiously at her before looking at each other.

After a moment or two of silence, the felines began to tear into the slabs of meat. Eve closed her eyes and nodded, sitting down to wait for them to finish.

“They’re incredible, Mistress. I ran some tests and found they are genetically similar to lyrats on the jungle planet Myrion. They are close enough to be cousins, but these are smaller, don’t have horns, and have fur instead of hard skin. However, they are definitely smarter than the lyrats. The differences in their genetics might be the reason,” Lisa commented as she sat beside Eve.

“Nyx said she couldn’t locate genetic markers that matched these two,” Eve replied.

“Nyx is medical, Mistress. I have access to a lot more veterinary data than she does. Myrion is still being explored. Information on the lyrats is recent enough that it’s only found in the veterinary databases.”

“Have you found anything else interesting about them?” Eve asked.

“Yes, actually. Beneath all that fur on the skin are some odd violet markings. You’ll never be able to see them unless you shave off the fur. I found them with a deep tissue scanner.”

Eve immediately turned her attention to Lisa. “Do you have images of these markings?”

“Of course, Mistress. They’re right here,” Lisa said as she pulled a pocked sided display screen from her uniform.

Eve took one look at the images and raised a curious eyebrow. “That can’t be coincidence. The woman they came with ahs similar markings of the same color all over her body.”

Surprised, Lisa looked over to the feeding felines. “Perhaps Nyx will have better luck than I did with them. From my very brief analysis, there is no biological purpose for them. However, they are not brands or tattoos, either. I have a hard time believing they were put there for identification purposes, especially if a human is displaying the same marks.”

“Nyx says some of the markings on the woman’s back were destroyed by the shots, and when the skin was repaired, the marks returned,” Eve commented.

“I’m betting it would be the same for these creatures, then. However, I have no idea what that means. But I am certain biological scans are not going to give us the answer.”

“I think you’re right. Perhaps the woman will be able to tell us, if we can ever get past the language barrier,” Eve mused.

“You’ve been able to speak with her, then?” Lisa asked.

“I wouldn’t exactly call it speaking, but there has been some limited communication. She’s very weak and exhausted, but she made the attempt with us. Nyx is hopeful for her full recovery, but it still extremely cautious. I don’t think we’ll have a solid chance at trying until she’s fully functional.”

“It’s a miracle she’s even alive.”

“Yes, it is,” Eve agreed as the felines finished their meal and licked their chops. In unison, they pointed to the woman on the large display screen.

Eve nodded her head and shut the screen down, passing it to Lisa. They booth stood and Lisa glanced once last time at the pair. “Be sure to set bowls of water down, as well. They are also a little dehydrated.”

“I will. Thank you, Lisa.”

“Thank you for coming quickly, Mistress. None of us wanted to see them hurt.”

Eve smiled and nodded to her before looking down to the animals. She made a simple gesture for them to follow and was pleased when they did. One walked on either side of her as she chose a larger transport sphere. They sat quietly beside her as they traveled, their soft fur brushing against her pants.

When they walked through the crowded hallways, people gave them plenty of room. Even so, the felines never left her sides or displayed aggressive behavior to anyone who couldn’t move entirely out of their way. When Eve finally let them into her quarters, they followed their noses straight to the bedroom. Each one looked over the sleeping woman carefully before the green-eyed one nuzzled her hand softly.

At that moment, Nyx walked out of the bathroom with nothing more than a towel wrapped around her body. She let out a girlish yelp as she noticed the animals and dropped the towel she had been using to dry her hair. She recovered quickly, bowing to them as she offered her hand. The blue-eyed feline walked to her, sniffed her hand, and bowed in return.

She smiled at him just as Eve walked in carrying two bowls of water. She set them on the floor by the door and walked to Nyx, kissing her cheek.
“You’re adorable, you know that?” Eve said softly.

“I am not, Mistress. You just need to give a girl a little more warning. Coming out of the shower to two rather large predators can be a little unnerving,” Nyx replied.

“I told you to be prepared,” Eve teased.

“I’m aware, but a call wouldn’t have hurt.”

“That’s true. My apologies, little one,” Eve replied.

“It’s okay, Mistress. They seem to be behaving themselves and they didn’t pounce me, even when I walked in on them without warning,” Nyx said as she studied the animals.

Eve watched as they lingered beside the woman’s body. There was a sadness in their gaze as they looked over her. They nuzzled each other for a moment before walking over to the bowls to drink. Once they were done, they curled around each other in the middle of the room, both sets of eyes carefully watching the woman. Eve raised a surprised eyebrow.

“Perhaps they know they’ll only be getting in your way if they stay close to her.”

“Perhaps. I’m not going to question it, though. Your bath is ready. I was going to wake her up after I got dressed.”

“You do that. Afterwards, get some rest. I’ll take care of her for the next few hours. I still have the day-to-day business of the fortress to finish up. There is no sense in both of us losing sleep tonight,” Eve said.

“As long as you’re sure, Mistress. Wake me up if you need a break. I’ll sleep with her so I hear the alarm if something goes wrong.”

Eve nodded and went into the bathroom. Her large tub was big enough for her, her wings, and one other person. It was filled with steaming water and fragrant oils. Eve smiled and stripped out of her uniform and settled into the hot water. She leaned her head back against the tub and closed her eyes. As she let the day’s stress flow out of her body, she found herself wondering what it would be like to share the tub with the woman sleeping in her bed.

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Old 03-26-2013, 07:12 PM   #18
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Here is the very crappy, very rough beginnings of my surfer. It would be the story of an island girl, who wasn't always an island girl, and a wealthy business/CEO type of woman. It needs a lot of refining. But it will sit here until I search for a co-writer for it. Or one finds me. I might work on refining it in the mean time...or I'll get distracted..*****bably the latter...Oooo shiny!

The moon was still looking down over her, bathing her in soft light. The sun would soon chase it away, but for now, the pale light shimmered off the flowing sea. Slender fingertips dipped into the warm water, skimming across the top, toying with the tide. The surf board resting between tanned, toned thighs was the color of the ocean surrounding her, a sea serpent wrestling with the waves beautifully painted across it. It supported its rider as she floated, seated on the board, endlessly patient.

She was just as beautiful as the piece of art beneath her. Short blonde locks skimmed the tops of her shoulders. Intense hazel eyes looked out over the horizon, searching for that perfect final wave. She would wait for it, no matter how long it took. Drops of water slid down smooth, bronze skin, dipping into lines of muscle here or there.Her features were sharp, but kind. Out in the sea, in her element, she was ethereal, a siren in waiting. A braided piece of hemp wrapped snugly around her throat, along with each wrist and ankle. Different shells were woven into them, decorating her body.

A small smile touched her lips as what she had been waiting for finally approached with the rising dawn. The wave was powerful, calling to her. She laid her body down across the board and turned it, athletic arms already paddling fast. It wasn't long before the wave captured her board and took it for a ride. She snapped up to her feet, piloting the board as it carved into the wave. She wove in and out of the crest, twisting her body and the board with difficult tricks, a game of cat and mouse with the sea.

But with the sun quickly rising in the sky, the time for games had come to an end. She rode the wave all the way into the shore, picking her board up to carry under her arm. She hopped on one foot for a moment, reaching down to free her ankle of the leash. She threw it over the back of her neck and jogged up through the dunes, a thick forest hiding the small section of beach.

The morning was already alive with the sounds of the woods. Her bare feet ran across sticks and rocks, broken shells and sand. But they didn't bother her. She made the trip so often her feet had calloused. She skidded to a stop outside a tiny one bedroom cottage that had seen better days, hidden within those woods.

She grabbed the hose by the back door and quickly sprayed the sand off her feet before running inside. She wiped her board down in a flurry of movements, setting it back on its rack in her small living room. Baby blue board shorts were slid off, the matching bikini top thrown aside in a mad dash for the bathroom. But then she absently remembered that the wet clothing would soak the carpet, so she ran back to snag them off the floor. Depositing them in a wet heap on the bathroom tile, she turned on the shower and jumped inside.

She ignored the frigid temperature, quick hands lathering shampoo through golden tresses and body wash over her lean form. The salty sea was quickly rinsed from her body. Shivering, she killed the cold spray and jumped out of the shower. She towel dried, missing most of her body before sliding red board shorts with a white first aid cross on one leg over her lean hips. A matching red bikini top, looking more like a sports bra, was tugged over her head.

She brushed her teeth, threw on some deodorant, and scampered out of the bathroom. She sat down by the front door, pulling on a pair of socks she was fairly certain were not clean, and slammed her feet into her motorcycle boots. Her beaten, worn leather jacked followed and she ran out the front door, not bothering to lock it. No one stole anything on her side of the island. For one, there was nothing to steal. Secondly, islanders wouldn't take from one another. The community was too close to one another.

She jumped down the stone steps and onto her gravel driveway. She shoved her head into her helmet and straddled the bike, bringing the engine to life. She shot out of the driveway with the same hurried impatience that she had every morning. Zaida Bahnson was late for work. Again.

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Old 04-05-2013, 10:42 PM   #19
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Eve: Chapter Five

Mikayla awoke slowly. Her vision was blurry, so she waited patiently for it to clear. It wasn’t like she had anywhere to go. She was in no hurry. Once it had, she found herself staring at the doctor. Her white scrubs were gone, replaced with simple black pants and a gray tee shirt. She was sound asleep next to Mikayla, one of the small computer screens clutched in her hand. The woman looked so sweet, trusting even, that Mikayla couldn’t help but smile. She was adorable.

But as innocent as she looked, Mikayla knew she still had to be careful. As she lay still, curled on her side, she assessed the condition of her body. She was stiff, but in no real pain. She was hungry, but her stomach no longer burned. She felt significantly weaker than she would have liked, but she felt strong enough to get up and look around. Her memory of the time between being shot and now was fleeting, at best. It was mostly scattered images, but she remembered the doctor and the winged woman had always been there.

She sat up slowly, doing her best not to disturb her bed mate. She had no doubt treating her had been stressful and difficult. The doctor had earned her rest. Mikayla noticed she was dressed in similar clothing as the woman next to her. Along her bare arms, she noted five of the same pads and tubes had been connected to her in the medical facility. She realized they were probably important, but leaving them on meant she would be confined to the bed. The tubes were attached to a bulky piece of equipment on the bedside table. Unwilling to accept being caged, Mikayla stripped them off.

There was also a small, black bracelet wrapped firmly around her right wrist. She started to take it off, but when a portion of it no longer touched her skin, the doctor’s computer lit up. She replaced the band before an alarm could sound. She leaned over and studied the activated screen. It was monitoring her vitals. The language was still meaningless, but the medicine was simple enough to identify.

Her concentration was broken when the connection in her mind opened and two familiar voices whispered her name in unison. She smiled and turned to find Tyrion and Atrian curled around each other in the middle of the room.

“Are you guys okay? I was worried,” Mikayla said through the link.

“We are fine and have been treated well. There were a few misunderstandings stemming from improper communication, but we seemed to have smoothed things out. How are you? These two women have been fussing over you for days. You were never coherent enough for us to make sense of anything in your mind,” Tyrion replied.

“I’m better than I was, but I’m still very weak. If I’m forced to fight, I’ll lose. Whatever shot me was easily twenty times stronger than any of the weapons we are used to fighting. Do we know if anyone followed us through the rift?” Mikayla asked, slipping silently from the bed.

“I don’t think so. I’ve seen no evidence of it, but they have kept us in this room with you,” Atrian replied.

She covered the doctor gently with a blanket before stretching her cramped, unused muscles. The movements made her light headed, so she didn’t push it. She sat down with the twin tigers and ran her hands through their fur.

“Any idea where we are?” she asked.

“None. This place is huge. There are thousands of people here, not all of them human. For a while, we were kept in what seemed to be an animal holding facility, but I didn’t recognize any of the other creatures. We have not been outside since they rescued us from the mountain. What we did see on the trip here was a vast, frozen terrain. All I can definitively say is that its fucking cold here,” Atrian replied.

Mikayla laughed quietly and raised an eyebrow at him. “Fucking cold, huh?”

Atrian gave her a grin. If she hadn’t known better, she would have said the tiger was going to eat her. His grin did nothing but flash his massive jaws. Mikayla just grinned back and pressed her forehead to his. He purred softly and nuzzled her affectionately.

“The doctor is passed out on the bed. Where is the woman with wings?”

“Our black-skinned benefactor is out on the balcony. Be cautious around that one. All the people we’ve encountered defer to her. She speaks and others scurry about, getting things done. The only one we’ve seen not wearing a collar is her. I believe she owns this place and everyone in it. She looks at you with a fierce hunger, Mikayla. We smell her desire in the air, and she acts like a woman who is accustomed to getting anything she wants,” Tyrion warned.

“Thanks for the warning. But we must also keep in min that we are strangers here. It isn’t our place to judge a society we know nothing about,” Mikayla replied as she got to her feet.

“You’re right, but you should watch your step, regardless,” Tyrion said.

Mikayla nodded, swaying just a bit. She gave herself a moment to find her strength and balance before walking around the massive four-post bed. She stopped at the balcony doors, looking out into the night. The woman had her back to Mikayla, a black hooded cloak protecting her from the elements. Even though she saw nothing of the woman’s features, the scene itself was breath taking. The mountain in the distance sparkled as light from a source Mikayla couldn’t see reflected off the snow. It all framed the woman’s dark figure. Mikayla took her time, appreciating the beauty before she quietly tapped on the glass.

The woman turned around slowly and Mikayla found herself trapped in the tri-colored gaze. The woman strode forward with a grace Mikayla knew could turn predatory at the drop of a hat. She took several steps back, giving room for the balcony doors to open. Once the woman was inside, she looked to the doctor. She was still fast asleep. Mikayla caught the affection in the woman’s gaze before it turned back to her.

Mikayla’s heart stopped for the long moments they stared at each other. She couldn’t explain the reaction. The woman clearly wasn’t human, but she was still the most beautiful person Mikayla had ever seen. She had to fight to get her brain to work. Once it did, she knew her friends were right. The effect the woman had on her was dangerous, something she had never experienced. She needed to be careful.

She went through the things she could learn from a quick study. The woman was big, and not in an obese way. She towered over Mikayla in height. There were defined muscles beneath the moderately tight silver pants and long sleeve shirt. Her eyes were intelligent and curious, demanding but kind. As the woman removed her cloak and set it on the bed, Mikayla noted the black wings were peppered with silver and feathered. It meant she could probably fly, or, at least, glide. Everything about her alluded to confidence and authority. Mikayla thoguth it best to try not to challenge the woman without being full strength.

With the silent studies becoming awkward, Mikayla sighed and rand her fingers through her hair. She tapped on her own chest and said, “Mikayla.”

The smile that blossomed on the woman’s lips made her mouth water. She was going to have to work harder at controlling the reaction, especially since she couldn’t tell if it was stemming from magical influences. She didn’t have the energy to shield herself. Until she did, she would be vulnerable. Mikayla would have liked to believe she would be able to feel the woman’s magic, if she had any, but she was a species Mikayla had never encountered before. The possibilities were limitless.

The woman finally tapped her chest in return and said, “Eve,” before taking several steps forward. She stopped once she was within arms reach. Mikayla had to fight the impulse to step back. While she didn’t trust her body and mind to stay rational with the closer proximity, she didn’t want to offend the woman or appear afraid. Showing weakness to an unknown woman like Eve wasn’t an option.

She stood straight and tall, even as Eve reached out, placing a single fingertip gently on Mikayla’s chest.

“Mikayla,” Eve said quietly, her voice as smooth and silk.

Mikayla nodded and swallowed. Whatever was going on between them, she saw Eve felt it, too. Needing to break the ever building tension, Mikayla broke the gaze and turned to the doctor, pointing questioningly. Eve glanced back at the bed before turning back to Mikayla with a knowing smile. She let the figure fall away.

“Nyx,” Eve replied.

At the sound of her name, the doctor stirred, opening her sleepy eyes. They snapped into focus and her hand shot out to where Mikayla had once been laying. Eve spoke to her in a calm, reassuring voice. She then pointed to Mikayla and said her name. The panic in Nyx’s honey brown eyes faded, but the concern didn’t. She seemed distressed as she spoke with Eve, constantly pointing to the tubes Mikayla had pulled off her arms.

Mikayla paid close attention to the conversation, everything from words to gestures. She concluded that the tubes definitely needed to be on her body. Whatever fluid had been coming out of the pads to be absorbed by her skin was likely beneficial. While she realized she must have had the tubes on for the entire time she was unconscious, Mikayla preferred to know what was in it before volunteering to put it on her body again.

She moved back to the bed and sat cross-legged next to Nyx, effectively silencing both of the other women. She picked up one of the tubes Nyx wasn’t holding and ran her thumb across the bumpy pad at the end. She raised her hand to Nyx and rubbed the fluid between her thumb and first finger. She pointed to the display screen, hoping Nyx understood. Then Mikayla hoped she’d be able to interpret the response if the doctor did get it.

Nyx and Eve spoke a bit more before Nyx tapped the computer several times and showed an image to Mykayla. She took the small screen from the doctor to study the image closer. She believed she was looking at the chemical composition of an organic molecule. Her organic chemistry was a bit rusty and the symbols used were foreign, but the more she studied it, the more it began to make some sense. A great deal of time and money had been invested in her education and it wasn’t long before something clicked and Mikayla knew what she was looking at. It was a modified version of her own nutrient solution she used to help fuel her body when she knew she wouldn’t be able to eat consistently. Nyx must have used the intravenous line she had put in her arm in the cave as a base to synthesize something that could be absorbed through the skin.

Excited, Mikayla raised her gaze to the women and gestured as if writing in the air. When both of them gave her blank looks, Mikayla sighed with frustration. Perhaps their technology was advanced enough that they no longer wrote by hand. Mikayla couldn’t sit there and study the computer for hours trying to figure out how it functioned. Frustrated, Mikayla hopped off the bed and began searching the room for something useful. She didn’t find anything until she got to the bathroom. There, she found a drawer full of what she assumed were cosmetics. She shifted through the drawer’s contents before finding something that vaguely resembled red lipstick. She smiled and turned, almost running into Nyx. Her mile faultered when she realized she hadn’t heard them follow her. It had been sloppy and she couldn’t afford to be careless.

Annoyed with herself, she hopped up onto the vast counter and used the lipstick to draw the chemical composition as she knew it. She coped Nyx’s formula next to it. She circled her symbol for the carbon molecule and then the symbol Nyx had in the same position in the formula. She drew a line connecting the two and wrote the word “carbon” over the line. She sued both hands to point to her symbol and the foreign one.

“Carbon,” she said, looking at Nyx.

Nyx studied the mirror for a moment before she laughed and hopped up on the counter beside Mikayla. She took the cosmetic and wrote a word beneath the line and pronounced it. Mikayla said it back to her and watched as Nyx laughed again and nodded reassuringly.

Mikayla glanced back at Eve. She had been silent the entire time. She was leaning a shoulder against the wall, arms folded across her chest. She had an amused expression painted across her features. When their gazese met, there was something in those depths that made Mikayla want to blush. She knew, then and there, something was wrong with her. She never blushed. Refusing to let herself do so, she turned back to Nyx, who was wearing an amused grin of her own.

Unsure of what to do next, Mikayla slid off the counter. The moment her feet landed, her world began to spin and go dark. She thought she was falling but she couldn’t be sure. Something pressed against her, keeping her steady. She tried to cling but felt weak. She was spiraling down into darkness and couldn’t seem to stop. But she was a fighter. She had no intention of passing out. Pure will and determination had her clawing her way back up. Her vision and positional awareness returned. Somehow, she was still standing. She was trying to make sense of it when she heard the beating of a heart, felt the warmth of soft skin, a larger body. A flash of black skin told her Eve was supporting her. Not a fan of the idea of being supported by an obviously dominant woman who could affect her with just a glance, Mikayla tried to pull away. Those arms tightened like a vice. Mikayla knew she wasn’t going anywhere.

Panic threatened to settle in, but she calmed herself, forced logic and reasoning through her mind. She currently didn’t have the energy to fight the strength wrapped around her. Her wisest course of action was to let Eve support her and conserve energy for when she needed it. But the more she returned to her senses, the more she became acutely aware of the woman holding her. The way their bodies fit, the curves and muscle beneath the clothing, did nothing to soothe Mikayla’s unease.

Regardless, she forced herself to relax. Once she did, Eve loosened her hold a bit. Elegant fingertips slipped beneath her chin and Mikayla didn’t fight as her head was tilted back. Her gaze met and held Eve’s. She swallowed and fought to keep that gaze neutral, balanced, and confident. There was worry in those tri-colored depths, but also a careful calculation. Mikayla had no idea what Eve was thinking, but she couldn’t deny how much she enjoyed the look. Because of that, she set her jaw and redoubled her efforts to keep any remaining dizziness and emotion from showing.

Mikalya heard Nyx’s voice directly behind her, resisting the urge to jump as the worried words broke the silence. Eve frowned and looked over Mikayla’s shoulder to Nyx. There was a brief discussion before Eve crouched slightly and picked Mikayla up in her arms. Mikayla reacted out of pure instinct. Her muscles tensed, her body starting to shift in a counter move. But Nyx’s hand on her shoulder stopped her, and she looked down at the smaller woman.

Nyx spoke directly to her. It was brief, a word or two at most. Her tone and the pleading look in her eyes gave Mikayla the impression Nyx was asking her not to fight, to trust them. As kind as they had been to her, Mikayla knew better than to trust blindly. She compromised and opened the mental link in her mind.

“Tyrion. Eve picked me up. Come poke your head in here and make sure she knows there are repercussions to harming me. I don’t think she plans to, but I don’t want her thinking I’m this weak creature she can manipulate at will. She needs to know she isn’t in total control.”

“I couldn’t agree more, my old friend,” Tyrion repled.

His massive, furry head peeked into the bathroom and he growled low in his throat. Mikayla looked directly at Eve and spoke, despite knowing the language barrier would make interpretation difficult.

“You hurt me,” she said, gesturing to herself,” and he hurts Nyx.” She pointed to Tyrion and then to Nyx’s chest.

Eve glanced over at Tyrion for a moment and he flashed her teeth. She studied him for a moment before looking back at Mickayla. She could see the anger in Eve’s beautiful eyes. She understood the threat and didn’t like it. Mikayla hated insulting her, but she was not a toy. She would feel bad if she had to hurt Nyx, but she could tell threatening Eve herself would do no good. She wouldn’t fear it. Mikayla had seen her affection for Nyx. If she was going to threaten the woman, she had to make sure she hit the right buttons.

Nyx spoke quietly, catching Eve’s attention. Mikayla paid close attention to the conversation, but she didn’t take her eyes off Eve. All she could do was wait and brace for impact. Whatever Nyx had said softened Eve’s expression slightly, but not enough for Mikayla to lower her guard.

Eve turned, mindful of Mikayl’s head and feet as she exited the bathroom. Nyx stayed close to her, eyeing Tyrion carefully. He followed them all the way to the bed where Eve gently set Mikayla down. She then turned and left the room without another word. Mikayla sighed and ran her fingertips through her hair. She knew the threat had been offensive, but Mikayla didn’t have much choice.

She didn’t trust others when it came to her well being. However, offending Eve hadn’t been high on the priority list, either. One step forward, two steps back.

Nyx sat beside her and patted Mikayla’s leg softly, an understanding smile on her lips. She reached out and gently took Mikayla’s arm. Mikayla watched as Nyx began to reattach the pads and tubes to her arms. Having established what the solution was, Mikayla didn’t mind them. She even thanked Nyx.

Eve returned, carrying a tray loaded down with things that smelled so good that Mikayla’s stomach churned in response. Mikayla didn’t recognize any of it as Eve sat the tray on the bed, apparently not concerned with spills. Eve then laid across the bed, looking much like a queen as she picked up a glass and brought it to her lips. She was studying Mikayla unapologetically. Mikayla had to tear her gaze away just to keep from falling into the enchanting depths. She got the feeling Eve was doing it on purpose, and Mikayla didn’t need to add embarrassment to her ever growing list of problems.

"That is one beautiful viper, Mikayla. Don’t let her nest fool you. We know nothing about her,” Tyrion whispered, coming to put his head in her lap.

Mikayla looked down at him and nodded, threading her fingers through his fur. Beside her, Nyx stirred a little, looking down at him with uncertainty. Mikayla just smiled at her.

“I know. I don’t know what it is about her, but its something. When she looks at me, it’s like I lose all brain function. I make eye contact with her once and I don’t notice a blue Mac truck slamming into me. That’s not like me. Yes, she’s absolutely gorgeous, but so have a lot of women I’ve kept company with.” Mikayla replied.

“All the more reason, my friend. You must tread lightly,” Atrian said.

“She wants you to eat. They’ve been waking you up to feed you every few hours for a couple of days now. Since you need the strength, you might as well eat. We can worry about the possible price for hospitality another time,” Tyrion advised.

Mikayla sighed, knowing he was right. It would be an interesting meal, considering her company couldn’t understand her. She had one word to describe how the meal would go. Awkward.

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Old 04-06-2013, 07:07 PM   #20
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The Tigress walked down that path, the steps more familiar than the time before. She watched her step less, enjoyed the beauty around her more. The pale moonlight guided her, the night sky crisp and clear. There was still a chill in the air, which mildly annoyed her. Spring was supposedly on its way, but the Tigress hadn't seen any signs of it. She was so tired of being cold. She craved the warmth of the summer months. She just had to be patient. Always patient. Quite frankly, she was tired of being patient regarding that particular subject, but she knew she would be, anyway. It wasn't in her nature to be anything but. Besides, a temper tantrum would fall on deaf ears.

With her skin chilled, she walked faster, more than ready to be in the warmth of the Anthenaeum. She hugged her leather jacket tighter around her as she walked up the steps. She knocked politely. A moment past. Two. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her jeans, contemplating knocking again. But the door finally opened, a pretty blonde peeking out from behind it. The Tigress gave her a friendly smile.

"Hello, Friday. May I come in?"

The girl nodded and backed up, skittishly opening the door further. The Tigress stepped inside, the door closing with a soft click behind her. She looked around briefly before Friday's small voice drew her attention.

"You're here for your things, yes?"

"I am. If they are still in the bathroom, I'll go back and get them. I"ll only be a few minutes."

Friday's gaze lowered as she folded her hands behind her back. "They aren't there anymore. You should...you should probably come back for them during the day."

The Tigress raised an eyebrow. "Then, tell me where they are, sugar. I promise, I won't be long."

"No. No, it isn't that. You're welcome here. Tess insists. It's just..."

But Friday was cut off by the sharp slam of a book shoved harshly against the back of a shelf. It caught the Tigress' immediate attention, her gaze snapping in the direction of the sound. There she stood, raven tresses spilling around slender shoulders, a cocky smile on her lips. Tuesday. The Tigress instantly understood Friday's hesitation. She wasn't angry or frustrated. Truth be told, she had expected it. Tuesday was a woman who favored games. The Tigress began to prepare herself to play.

Without a word, Tuesday turned and disappeared into the stacks. The Tigress started to follow, but Friday's gentle fingertips surrounded her wrist. She glanced back at the blonde, seeing the concern in her eyes.

Please, come back when its daylight out. It's dark where she goes..."

The Tigress smiled softly, reassuringly. "I'm not afraid of the dark, pretty Friday."

She glanced down at her wrist and Friday released her, shrinking back. The Tigress leaned in and softly kissed her cheek.

"It's not your fault, sugar," she whispered before turning to follow Tuesday into the stacks.

She followed the path, turning when she saw a flash of red skirt here, the tips of obsidian locks there, the whisper of a giggle along the air. The further she descended into the endless shelves, the darker it became. Shadows crept further and further from their corners, daring the light to stop them. The Tigress wasn't afraid. The things that lived in the dark were not always evil. They were just different.

She had, long ago, lost track of where she was. She was far beyond anywhere she had explored before. Here, the books were old. Dusty. They smelled of ancient leather and parchment. The floor creaked beneath her feet, no matter how light she made her foot steps. It was unnerving, but she knew it was part of the game. Tuesday wanted her unsettled, in unfamiliar territory. If the Tigress wanted her things back, she would have to play the game. She could go to Tess. They would be returned to her immediately. She knew she was a coward, in many ways. But this would not be one of them. She would not run away when the gauntlet had been thrown at her feet.

She passed a plain mirror resting on a bookshelf in an empty space between strange tomes. She paused, studying it for a moment. It was just a small, square piece of glass, encased in a simple silver frame. But it was clean and shiny, freshly polished and clean. It stood out against the sea of archaic volumes. Emerald eyes encased in a ring of steel blue stared back at her. They were her own eyes, but something darker lurked within them. She recognized it.

You're procrastinating, chicken shit.

She turned away the moment the whispered thought passed through her mind. That was exactly what she didn't need. The sound of weight shifting along the aged floor caught her attention and she hurried down the aisle and turned left, catching the click of heels at the end of the new row and to the right.

There were more mirrors placed randomly along the shelves. There were some at eye level, some reflecting her black and white cross trainers, some at waist level. She slowed her pace, a sinking feeling that she was close to where Tuesday wanted her settling in. She tried not to look at the mirrors as she passed. But, like always, she couldn't keep her gaze away.

When you're done with this childish game, you need to get your ass to work. Sloppy....Pathetically weak....Not fast enough...She's smarter than you, not that it's a difficult feat to achieve...Move your ugly ass!

Tearing her gaze away, she shook her head and hurried down the isle, keeping her head down. She was slipping down that slope into a head space she shouldn't be in while playing cat and mouse with someone like Tuesday. She already felt smaller, wanted to slide into the shadows and hide. But she kept going. She could handle it. She always handled it.

She turned to the right and skidded to a stop just in time to keep herself from running into a closed door. She pushed the whispers aside, raising an eyebrow. She reached out and turned the knob, finding only complete darkness in the room beyond.

Suddenly, she was flying forward from the force of a strong shove to her back. She stumbled into the room, but her natural athleticism, as well as practiced experience, had her finding her balance quickly and without falling. She turned around just in time to see the door shut behind her. Silence filled the room, and she stood still in the pitch black. The pulse in her throat jumped as panic set in. But it was only for a moment. She was a medical professional. She was a trained lifeguard. Her mind was logical and rational. It had been beaten into her head repeatedly that panic was useless. It was out of place here. Nothing was really wrong. There was danger, but she was safe here. The real game had begun.

She drew in a deep breath. It escaped her lips in a slow and steady stream. She stood up straight. She kept her eyes open, waiting for them to adjust, but she listened more than she tried to see. She heard nothing, but she could tell the room was carpeted beneath her tennis shoes. Tuesday was in there with her, somewhere. But the carpet would hide the sounds of her movement.

The Tigress wouldn't search for her. She wouldn't fumble around aimlessly in the dark. She had willingly walked into the woman's trap. If Tuesday wanted her, she would have to come and get her. Patience. Always patience. The minutes were long, soundless. Not even the tick-tock of a clock could be heard. It was...empty. Except for the whispers. They took advantage, slithering up from the corners of her mind.

Patience, Tigress? Your patience is a mask for your inability to act....A pathetic situation. It suits you perfectly....You should be better than this....Not even worth the time she's wasting...

She swallowed and closed her eyes. They were getting louder. She was feeling smaller. Further down. But lights suddenly flashed on. Though it was soft, her eyes closed, it still burned. She winced and raised a flat hand to shield her gaze, giving them time to adjust. She slowly moved her hand away...and froze. The room was full of mirrors, all around her. All shapes and sizes. The furniture had been pushed back to the walls, the couches and comfortable seats, all paved the way for the array of glass. Tens of images of the Tigress started back at her, burning holes in her skin with their lurking gazes.

She turned in a slow circle, taking in the many different faces. Different but all the same. But she stopped when one showed something different. Tuesday was behind her, crimson nails and a snarky smile. The Tigress started to turn around fast, but slender fingers fisted around her ponytail and yanked hard enough to snap her head back painfully. A heeled foot drove into the back of her right knee. Training had her keeping that knee soft instead of rigid, collapsing forward to protect it from injury.

Anger shot through her, wickedly fast and sharp. Like the crack of a whip. It was an extremely rare emotion for her and it was gone almost as soon as it had come, molding into competitiveness. Even as pain laced through her scalp, the angle of her neck, and the crack of her knee as it hit the floor, her mind was working. Reach behind and grab a slender wrist. Rise up while pulling Tuesday's weight over a toned shoulder to slam her back into the dark carpet. A knee to her elbow joint to snap it, followed with a drive of the heel of her boot into a pretty face. It would be easy. The Tigress knew she was stronger, faster. Her fitness was better.

But she knew she wouldn't. She wasn't a violent woman, even if she was drawn to it. Nothing good ever came out of responding with blind aggression. Tuesday wasn't really hurting her. It would be different if she was. The Tigress knew how to defend herself, and she would, if the threat was real.

That's the biggest crock of shit you've thought all night. You don't defend yourself. You're not worth defending. Remember the last time someone really hurt you? You were stronger then, and you laid back and took it like a little bitch. You didn't fight then, and you won't fight now. Coward.

The Tigress inwardly winced and shut her eyes. Her heart tightened as the whispers struck home, hard. They were right, of course. They always were. They were the truths she tried to hide from. The bitter disappointment and disgust she had for herself sliced open old wounds that never fully healed. They bled, every time the whispers won. She wasn't IvoryTigress. She didn't have claws. A white tiger was everything she wished she was. Beautiful. Confident. Fierce. She was just a woman, a weak one at that. The competitiveness was gone, along with the desire to hold onto it.

"Where did it go, Kitty Cat? I saw it. It exists," Tuesday said, yanking brunette tresses a bit harder.

The Tigress set her jaw and didn't answer. What went on in her mind was for her and her alone, especially not for someone who couldn't care less about her.

No one cares about you. You're a worthless piece of trash. No one wastes their time.

She stiffened, even with her back painfully arched. Pretty girl. A pretty girl cared about her.

For now. It won't last. Eventually, she'll see you for what you are.

There were times when the Tigress believed her incredibly vivid imagination, her ability to genuinely feel the scenes and worlds she constantly built in her mind, were a curse. Images of her life empty and the events leading to it flashed before her eyes. They hurt as if they had really happened. The raw pain they inflicted was very real. Her heart shattered and she couldn't stop the silent tears from spilling down her cheeks.

"So soon? I haven't even begun, Kitty Cat. Tell me, what brings those tears? I know it wasn't me." Tuesday said, trailing her nail down the slick paths along the Tigress' cheek, tainting the streaks crimson.

She swallowed and forced her eyes open, finding the amused ones of the woman who started her head down that path. The tears embarrassed her, but she could not stop them. She told herself over and over that the images were lies. It only marginally helped. After all, they could happen. Even if it wasn't likely, it was still a possibility that brought cold fear to her heart.

"No. That isn't for you. You don't get to know that," she said quietly, how small she felt more than evident in her voice. But there was also a subtle, iron determination hidden within it. The Tigress would refuse to budge.

Tuesday growled in response, her free hand yanking down the zipper to the Tigress' coat. Grabbing the collar at the back of the Tigress' neck, Tuesday yanked it straight down, tearing it from her body. It was tossed aside as Tuesday released the ponytail, coming to stand in front of the Tigress.

"Everything is for me tonight, darling..." She leaned in close, biting the Tigress' bottom lip. "Tell me, Kitty Cat."

She tilted her head back, slowly tugging her trapped lip free before she, once again, found Tuesday's eyes, held them unwaveringly.


It came. The Tigress hadn't anticipated it, but her body reacted without a need to think. Tuesday was fast, but the Tigress was faster. Her arm was up, protecting her face before the open-handed slap had a chance to even come close to her cheek. Tuesday's wrist was caught within the Tigress' steel grasp.

"Everything is -not- yours tonight. I'm not a piece of meat. I am a toy, but I am not -your- toy. I pick who gets to play, and you don't care about me anywhere near enough to get to smack me in the face."

The firm tone in her voice surprised her, but she wasn't going to question it. But she also knew she wouldn't hurt Tuesday. She did not intentionally cause harm. Not ever. Not even when harm was intentionally inflicted upon her. Two wrongs didn't make a right. She released the slender wrist slowly.

An amused smirk touched Tuesday's lips as she reached forward, grabbing the Tigress by the collar of her button up shirt, yanking her to her feet. The dark woman tore the shirt open with a quick flex of muscle, sending buttons scattered across the room. The amused smirk turned sinister as the gaze lowered to the body beneath.

"We'll see about that, Kitty Cat."

She walked around the Tigress, trailing a scarlet tipped nail along her collar bone, giggling when the Tigress shivered. She grabbed the shirt and yanked if off, tossing it carelessly over her shoulder. The Tigress was left bare from the waist up in a room full of mirrors. There was no where she could look where her reflection didn't glare back at her, except one. It was where she always looked, anyway. It was where her gaze belonged. With lead in her chest, she lowered her head and dropped her gaze to the floor.

Fingertips twisted in her hair again, dragging her to the closest full length mirror. As much as she didn't want it to, the sensation, the sharpness, pushed her toward that place. The place where the need of submission pulsed through her. The need to please. The need for pleasure. The need for pain. Where it all infused together and left the Tigress wanting more.

She stood in front of the mirror, refusing to look at it. She knew what would happen if she did. They would get louder, and she'd already had enough. Letting a stranger see her tears when she hid them, whenever she could, from the people who loved her was shameful. She should be stronger than that.

No excuse. None. For your weakness...Unacceptable....You prove it, time and again. You don't deserve them...You never will...

A warm body pressed against her back, fingertips dancing across her flat stomach, toying with the silver dragon at her belly button. The Tigress knew what was coming. She dreaded it. She didn't have the strength and she knew it. But she wouldn't stop it. The only person who would hurt was her. That's all that mattered. No one else would be bothered.

Her head was yanked back, a tongue teasing the skin of her neck, hot breath danced across her ear. Smooth. Seductive. Cruel.

"Look in the mirror, Kitty Cat." It was a growl. A demand. An order the Tigress couldn't deny. Even if she wanted to, her gaze would find the glass. It always did. She hated it. She had to see it. Hated what stared back. Couldn't live without it.

So, she looked, and just for a moment, all she saw was herself. Pale skin. Brown hair. Eyes tainted by wounded tears.

The lines of your abs aren't sharp enough. Lazy...No excuse...All your hard work wasted because you didn't train the past week. Ruined. You couldn't get your fat, flabby ass out of the chair for thirty God damned minutes.

She had been so tired. She had clocked in close to sixty hours that week. Just so tired...

Excuses! There is always time for your fucking fitness. You're a fucking slob. It's no wonder no one wants you.

"Tell me, Kitty Cat. What's your body fat percentage?" Tuesday whispered, fingertips tracing up the cut lines of the Tigress' abdomen.

Her ear twitched, goosebumps traveling up her arms. She wanted to lean back into the woman, to close her eyes and just be held. But she knew the woman behind her had no comfort to give. The Tigress wouldn't lower herself by asking.

"I'm not sure. It's been a while since I've checked."

Fingertips were fast and the Tigress sucked in a harsh wince, pain searing through her nipple as it was violently tugged and twisted.

"Don't fucking lie to me, cunt." A fresh twist. A new gasp. "Do you think you're a good liar?" A whimper, her chest alive with sharp agony as a second nipple was captured. "What. Is. The. Number."

Be a good little slut and please her.

"Thirteen or fourteen percent," she whispered softly.

Too fucking much. Look at the way those ridiculous chicken wings flap. You're pathetic. Everyone sees it...Ugly...Lazy...If you worked harder and didn't eat like a fucking pig, you wouldn't have this problem.

The Tigress relented. She'd eat less. Tomorrow, she would do the hour long video. She would make it better. She would fix it. She would work to make herself worthy.

You'll never be worthy, but, at least, the effort will make you less pitiful.

The pain in her nipples lingered as Tuesday twisted them between her fingers for several moments longer before finally releasing them. Her hands disappeared, and the Tigress didn't trust the glint in Tuesday's eyes, locking with hers over her shoulder in the reflection. When those hands moved in front of her again, they held a red sharpie, uncapped.

"Stay still, Kitty Cat. I'm going to make you beautiful. Because I only fuck beautiful women. And I have every intention of fucking you."

See? Even she knows you have to be made. You need help. You simply are not good enough.

The Tigress looked down. Tears threatened to spill, but she fought them back. She would not cry again. Not even when the marker started to trace the outline of every muscle it could find, accenting them in the color of blood.

Tuesday growled in her ear. "Watch, Kitty Cat."

It may as well have been blood. The paths the pen took carved every line, traced the squares of her abdomen, the curves of her biceps, the line between her pectoral muscles along her chest. It was a knife that sliced the Tigress a little more with each stroke. All the parts of her that she worked so hard to accept, not good enough. Never good enough. Never strong enough. Or pretty enough. She always had known the pretty girl had settled for mediocrity. The red lines only proved it.

When the letters F.A.T were carved into her chest, what was left of the shattered pieces of her heart dissolved. Silent tears. Always silent. Noisy tears were disturbing to others. They drew attention. Loud and obnoxious. Silence, Tigress, lest you wake another beast.

Tuesday threw the pen aside and stepped in front of her. She didn't fight when Tuesday shoved her back. Once. Twice. Three times. Her body fit through a, no doubt planned, space between the mirrors. Her back hit the wall, pinned there by a feminine frame. When Tuesday kissed her, she didn't fight it. She drank it down. When her jeans were impatiently tugged open, she didn't fight it. She savored it. Anything to make the whispers stop screaming. Anything to make the unbearable pain in her heart disappear. Anything. Yes....anything..


An hour or two or ten later, the Tigress didn't know, Tuesday was gone. She had skipped away, leaving the Tigress with her backpack of belongings. All her things were there, nothing missing. But the Tigress didn't care. She was alone. In a room full of mirrors. Her heart ached. The whispers had returned the minute Tuesday left her cold. She slid into her clothing, wiping the tears from her eyes. But more came. They would come for the rest of the night. She picked herself up and left the room, button up shirt pulled tightly around her marked flesh. She walked, aimlessly wondered, until she found an empty room with no mirrors, with no light. She curled up on a couch, making herself into the tightest, smallest ball she could. She pulled her jacket over her like a blanket, shivering. She closed her eyes...and gave herself to the darkness...Not everything in the dark was evil. Some things were just wounded...

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Old 04-25-2013, 07:35 PM   #21
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New idea for a book.....no where near edited enough.....

Tempest. It was a place of darkness, where the music was heavy and the drinks were more alcohol than flavoring. Harsh, colored neon streaks sliced through the dark, pulsing over the crowd to the beat of the music. Only black light accented the bar, the many different glasses and bottles striped with a line of paint that reflected the lighting with a burst of bright color. The club throbbed with power, with life. But it wasn’t the life she could feel, but the lack of it.

Even through the different types of noise, she could feel the silent, cold kiss of death. It caressed her pale skin, flocked around her body. It pressed against her shielding, forced her mind into the quiet place of power, begging for her attention. It called to her and she was tempted, always tempted. But the source was unfamiliar. In addition, she was seventy percent sure she knew why the gateway had been opened. When she had turned him down, she had known he’d find another. Wanting nothing to do with it, she pulled her power closer to her and bolstered her shields.

“Riley!” a familiar voice called out above the roar of the bar, snapping her out of the power-induced haze. Her job should provide more than enough distraction from the disaster that was likely about to happen somewhere around the city.

“On it,” she replied, sliding back to the front of the bar with one of her more charming smiles on her lips.

Riley knew she wasn’t beautiful, but she was confident in her appearance and that made her sexy. Her crimson hair was buzzed along the sides of her head. She spiked what remained into a short, cropped Mohawk, the tips died blonde to reflect the black light. She hadn’t been blessed with the generous curves of her coworkers. She was streamlined and lean, her body reminiscent of her track and swimming days. So, she played up what features she had, taking advantage of her more androgynous form. Tight, form fitting black jeans hugged narrow hips. A strap of leather slithered through the belt loops and secured the pants to her waist with a silver buckle twisted into a Celtic knot design.

A fitted, pinstripe button up shirt covered her upper body. The sleeves were rolled up past her elbows, more for style than the necessity of pouring drinks. Simple black leather bracelets snapped around her wrists, accenting soft skin and slender fingers. She had left the top three buttons of her shirt undone, leaving a teasing section of skin showing where her collar flared. She finished the ensemble with a white silk tie. She liked that she wasn’t beautiful. It made her different. Sexy with a hint of something wild made her just as much in tips as the beauties five feet down from her.

It also helped that Riley added a little flare to her service. Glasses and bottles were spun and flipped, making her customers gasp with the possibility of shattered glass. It scared the life out of her boss and he almost fired her for it when she first had the courage to display her talent. That was before he realized how much money she brought in. She never dropped a glass. Riley was a cocky smile dipped in confidence, and she was amazingly good at her job.

A weighted gaze settled on her, drawing her attention away from the busty blonde with fake breasts that were practically spilling out of her skimpy halter top. A gaze dripping in the deep blue of midnight shifted to the back of the club, locking into eyes the color of shimmering orchids. The woman was leaning a shoulder against the wall, her arms folded across her chest. Black, wavy tresses fluttered freely around her shoulders, framing an exotically beautiful face. Her expensive suit screamed corporate, and it couldn’t have been more out of place in an establishment that catered to a crowd that favored industrial music. But she managed to appear neither stuck up nor superior. She had come in more than an hour ago. Riley would have had to have been blind not to notice.

She had been watching Riley since she walked through the door. Riley didn’t mind. She was guilty of the same. She held the gaze for only a moment, letting the connection simmer, to build with the promise of heat. A teasing smirk touched her lips just before she turned her attention back to the bubbly blonde and her order of five shots of tequila. Shot glasses were flipped onto the bar and filled from a bottle that spun in her palm. She half-heartedly flirted with the woman as money was exchanged. Riley never had a taste for bouncy and fake women. She forgot the customer the moment she sauntered away.

Riley turned her back to the bar to ring up the drinks at the register, depositing the cost and slipping the extra in her back pocket. When she turned back around, the woman in the suit stood in the recently vacated space, patiently waiting with a knowing smile painted across her lips. With a confident smile of her own, she strolled forward to lean into the bar and drown in the violet gaze.

“I was wondering if you were ever going to buy a drink from me. Name your poison, beautiful.”

“I would be flattered, but I’m sure you call all the women who buy from you beautiful,” the woman replied, teasingly.

Riley smiled and put a hand to her heart in mock offense. “You wound me, gorgeous. I only use the word beautiful when it’s justified. I’ve got plenty other words in my arsenal.”

“I have no doubt your vocabulary is vast, but I think you should prove it to me, anyway, while pouring me bourbon on the rocks.”

Riley grinned at the playful challenge and was about to pull a rocks glass from beneath the bar when a loud commotion at the door begrudgingly drew her attention. When she saw the scrawny man push through the crowd to the bar toward her, she groaned. She pointed a finger at him when he was within earshot.
“No. I warned you. I told you it would happen. I want no part of it. I’m not cleaning up your mess.”

“You have to come, O’Connor. He killed the other and two more of us already. He’s running loose.”

“Not my problem,” Riley said as she pulled the glass from the rack, but she knew it was. Guilt already started to push its ugly head into her consciousness.

“Please! If he gets out, he will kill innocents. You told us that!”

The simple plea stopped Riley in her tracks. She knew he was right. As much as she didn’t want to involve herself in the slop of the local werewolf pack, she couldn’t let innocent people get hurt or die when she was one of the precious few who could put an end to it with relatively little bloodshed. Necromancers were a rare breed.

She glanced at her boss, a short and round man with thick glasses, who had just come out of his office to hear the situation for himself. He nodded once to her and she sighed, setting the empty glass on the bar before the tempting woman she would likely never see again. Someone else would cover for her. It was the way things worked. Riley had covered the other girls many times before.

“You and your pack owe me for this, Jax. Its bullshit and you know it,” she said as she grabbed her leather jacket from the hook behind the bar.

His thin, narrow face went from panicked to relieved in less than a second. “Thank you, Riley. Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me, yet,” she replied as she weaved through the crowd to follow him out. “Half the reason I declined in the first place was because I’m not sure I can do it. This shouldn’t be happening at all.”

“It’s not my call to make, Riley. I was just sent to fetch you. Here, you wear the helmet. It’s the only one I have and I’m more durable than you,” Jax replied.

She knew he didn’t have a say in his pack. Though Jax was in his thirties, his shaggy brown hair was peppered with gray, his body and face twisted from the torture of cocaine abuse, he was a pup in the wolf pack. If he hadn’t been bitten four months ago, Riley didn’t doubt he would have been dead in a gutter by now. But she didn’t enjoy being treated like a possession just because she dated a pack member once, especially when the relationship was forced to an end because Riley wasn’t a wolf.

She raised an annoyed eyebrow as she accepted the helmet. “Fetch me? I’m not a damned piece of meat.”

Jax slid his wiry frame in front of hers after she straddled the bike and slipped the helmet over her head. “To the alpha, I wouldn’t be so sure.”

Riley frowned at his back as he brought the bike to life and shot out of the parking lot almost before she could wrap her arms around his waist. He drove too fast, cut corners a little too closely. If Riley hadn’t known to lean into the sharp turns with him, she was certain the bike would have toppled. She knew she wasn’t going to have the proper time to prepare, so holding onto her annoyance with the alpha was foolish. She had none of her tools. She would be entering a broken circle cast with someone else’s power, someone who was now dead and couldn’t give her permission to enter. She was going to have to depend on raw power, which always demanded a greater price.

She called to her power, reached out into the spring night, and found the windy current of death. She lowered her shielding and opened herself to the invisible sea, letting it flow through her and boost her natural strength. Directly connected with the current, she could feel the life fade around her. All living things were in a state of decay, even if that process was painfully slow. They were dying from the day they were born. She could feel the chilly grip in the sick and injured at the hospital ten miles away. Six patients would die that night. She could feel the ghosts that haunted the city, the corpse in every grave for a twenty mile radius, and the vampires that lived in the area. It was dangerous, opening herself to the current. If she wasn’t vigilant, her soul would slip into the sea. It had happened once before. She was lucky to have found her way back, her body almost dead from days without hydration or nutrition. She instinctively knew if it happened again, she wouldn’t find her way back. But it was a risk she was willing to take. She would need the borrowed strength.

Jax pulled his bike to an abrupt stop in front of a lone house surrounded by a forest just outside the city. Riley took off the helmet and let it fall to the ground, already sensing the rage of wild power running rampant through the woods. She tapped into it and felt the strength of the zombie immediately. The first glimmer of fear touched her heart. He had died less than two weeks ago, which was reason enough not to have raised him. He had also been a powerful werewolf. The powerful in life were also powerful in early death.

She yipped in surprise when Jax lifted her off the bike, cradling her in his arms. If she hadn’t known him to be a wolf, she would have doubted his ability to carry her. She wasn’t heavy exactly, but muscle weighed more than fat and she was tall. He was small enough that she could feel the bones protruding from his skin. It was an awkward position and she struggled to get out of it. But his thin arms became bands of steel, holding her to him.

“Put me down, ass hat. I’m perfectly capable of walking. I can even run. It’s amazing,” she demanded, the sarcasm dripping from her voice.

“You can’t run as fast as me, O’Connor, and we need to get deep into the woods. Hide your face in my neck or you’ll get whipped by branches,” he replied.
He didn’t give her time to argue. He started to run in the way only a were-animal could. It was rumored they became one with the woods, their bodies and senses so in tune they had no reason to be cautious about using their full abilities. Riley buried her face, preferring not to have an eye poked out by a random stick she wouldn’t be fortunate enough to see coming. Five o’clock shadow scratched the skin of her cheek. The scent of sweat, aftershave, and fear filled her nose. She was instantly reminded why she preferred the feel of a woman.

She couldn’t see how fast they were moving, but she could feel it. The wind whipped around her, the back of her head catching a branch now and then, sending sharp and stinging pain through her scalp. It wasn’t long before she could hear yelling, deep growling, and pained yelps. The broken circle flooded the woods with untamed power. Riley tapped into it, mingling the power with her own, and began the mental test of will for taking over the ritual.

They came to a stop and Riley winced at the guttural sounds of the zombie. Jax set her on her feet and she turned around to take in the details of the scene. A ring of werewolves, some shifted and others not, stood shoulder to shoulder as they attempted to contain a fully animated, fresh corpse. When it launched an attack against one of those making up the circle, the two pack mates to the left and right of the victim ripped the zombie off and tossed it back into the center of the ring. It wasn’t full proof. There were several dead bodies in the ring, evidence of the failures and the zombie’s strength.

The zombie had died a violent death and hadn’t had a proper burial. Its massive body was torn and shredded, organs and flaps of skin and muscle hanging from its form, but not enough to hinder its mobility. In addition, the creature had tried to shift instinctively when it was animated. The body was young enough for some of the cells to remember how, but the end result was a malformed mixture of man and beast. The face had a muzzle with jagged teeth and pointed furless ears. One of its eyes dangled by the nerve, smacking against its cheek as it moved. Its fingertips extended into razor sharp claws and it was sinking them into whatever was within reach.

Riley bit her bottom lip as fear pulsed through her. A person’s true nature showed itself in a zombie. If a person was violent and filled with anger, the zombie would be destructive and consume anything in its path. Aged, ancient zombies were easy to control, no matter the nature of the individual in life. The power had drained out of them, returned to whatever source it had come from, and the physical body was decayed. The body simply didn’t have the capability of being threatening. A skilled necromancer could wrap the corpse in an illusion, make it look alive, but the illusion had no bearing on the physical state of the creature beneath it. The young corpses still had intact muscle and bone. They were fast and strong. They felt no pain. If they were docile and good natured in life, controlling them wasn’t a problem. The violent ones would put up a fight and if they had been beings of power, they could wield whatever power was left to them through muscle memory and instinct. The zombie Riley would face had been a werewolf. He had all the extra strength and speed the race possessed, along with a vicious hunting instinct and increased senses.
Zombies were also empty vessels, which meant nasty things like demons or poltergeists, the more malicious ghosts, could possess them. Riley didn’t want to consider the possibility of a demon worming its way into the zombie. She was no where near equipped or prepared enough to handle that. Everyone in the clearing would die. She turned to Jax.

“What was the zombie’s full, given birth name and where are the other necromancer’s supplies?”

“His name was Logan James Whittman,” Jax replied as he grabbed her by the hand and tugged her toward the western side of the circle of wolves.

The supplies were scattered along the ground, rushed disorganization. Riley bent down to rummage through them. She hated using someone else’s materials. The magic would be weaker, since they were attached to someone else’s essence, but she only needed two items. She found a jar of salt and snatched it quickly, but the second object evaded her.

“Where is his ritual blade? I can’t do this without a power inscribed blade. It would be one thing if I had raised the zombie myself, but I’m over writing someone else’s power. A regular blade isn’t going to cut it.”

Jax pointed to a ravaged body inside the circle of wolves and Riley sighed. “Of course that’s where it is. So much for going in there ready to work. I’m going to need you guys to distract it while I find the blade.”

“I’ll see what can be done,” Jax replied before running off to the other side of the ring.
With the jar of salt in one hand, she walked up to the wolves. Two of them parted, allowing her to see into the ring clearly. There were more than the three corpses she had counted before. Riley knew instantly which one of them had been the necromancer. Power danced around him, searching for the path back to the current. Riley opened herself to it, drew it in, and guided it back to the windy sea. In doing so, his magic mingled with hers and the broken circle of power welcomed her. She shivered as the tingle of acceptance climbed up her spine.

A pained groan brought her attention back to the zombie. Her heart sank as she saw Jax had been chosen as bait for the zombie. Anger flowed through her. Jax was no where near as strong as the higher ranking pack members. He would get torn apart. His chest was already bleeding. But she knew her anger wouldn’t help him. She needed the blade.

She crouched down low and crept toward the mangled corpse of the necromancer. She didn’t take her eyes off the zombie as it chased after Jax, who was only just keeping out of its grip. She moved as quietly as she could. She didn’t want to draw its attention until she was ready for it. When she was close enough, she dropped to one knee and began her search.

The stench of perforated bowels and torn organs hit her like a truck, almost making her gag. It was true; she had been around corpses many times, given the nature of her power. But they were almost never that fresh. It was an immediate reminder to all her senses of what would happen if she failed.

Forcing back bile, she reached over the body and wrapped her hand around the hilt of the dagger that lay next to a severed hand. It was slick, covered in blood, dirt, and Riley didn’t want to think about what else. As she pulled it closer to her, a fresh wave of power exploded around her. It stung enough that she almost dropped the blade. She winced, swearing at herself for forgetting that the necromancer might have put a protection charm on such a prized piece.

“Riley!” Jax called out.

She picked up her head in just enough time to see that the power surge had caught the zombie’s attention. It was already running at her. She scrambled, trying to get to her feet and assert her control.

“Logan James Whittman,” she said, lacing her words with power.

But it wasn’t enough. The call did nothing to stop the creature from advancing. Riley tried to backtrack, panic starting to set in, but the zombie’s body slammed into hers. She was knocked flat on her back. Pain exploded through the back of her skull as it hit the ground. Intense fear and desperation surged through her veins, pumping adrenaline into her system as those teeth descended down upon her. Her body was pinned beneath squishy, flayed open organs. She screamed, opening the current of the dead and put everything she had into her words.

“Logan James Whittman!”

Her pulse pounded visibly in her slender throat, her chest rising and falling with the speed of hyperventilation. The zombie’s jaws were less than an inch from her nose. She could smell the decay in its breath. A maggot crawled out of its lower lip, falling onto her chin. She squealed and slapped it away from her face. But the jaws had stopped advancing, the creature unmoving over her.

It took Riley several seconds to realize the zombie wasn’t going to eat her. Yet. The raw power combined with the force of its name held it, but if she didn’t claim it soon, the hold would break and she would have to start over. Only the zombie would know her, and her chances of success would diminish tenfold.

With a shaky voice, she spoke as firmly as she could manage. “Get off me.”

The zombie tilted its head, snapping at her once. She screamed but fought back her panic. “Get off me now!”

The zombie pushed off her and rose to its feet, waiting for her instructions. But it didn’t wait patiently. It paced back and forth, stalking her, challenging her hold. She scrambled to her feet. Knowing the steps she had to take gave her a bit more confidence. Her hands only mildly shook as she opened the jar. She slowly walked a circle around the beast, lining her footsteps with salt.

“With salt, I bind you. You exist in my cage.”

The zombie snarled and reached out for her, but its claws hit the invisible barrier created by the salt. Riley didn’t flinch that time. She set the jar down. Her jacket and jeans were already ruined by the zombie’s gore. She stripped off the leather and tossed it aside. She took a firm grip on the slick blade, pressing the tip to her skin. She paused, narrowing her gaze at the filth. She was immune to disease, but that didn’t mean she liked the idea of some stranger’s blood mixing with hers and confusing the zombie. It would answer to her and her alone. With a sigh of regret, mourning the loss of her outfit for only a moment, she cleaned the blade as much as she could with her shirt.

She pressed the tip to the inside of her forearm again, making a quick but relatively deep five inch cut into her skin. The zombie was powerful, and there was a mixture of power in the air. Since it wasn’t hers alone, the personal sacrifice needed to overtake the creature would be larger than normal. The pain was quick and familiar. She squeezed her fist several times, pushing the blood to spill out of her arm. Once it was dripping onto the ground before her boots, she stepped close to the circle, gritting her teeth.

“With blood, I feed you. My life gives you nourishment.”

She pushed her arm through the circle and offered it to the zombie. It gripped her arm carefully, almost tenderly, as it lowered its muzzle to her wound. Just when she thought her power had been enough to persuade the creature to be gentle, teeth slashed into her arm as the zombie drank her down. With a pained grimace, she waited for the beast to take enough, until she could feel herself flowing through it, until its body became hers. With her blood carrying her power, she took control and felt it surrender to her.

“With power, I claim you. My energy gives you strength. Logan James Whittman, by salt, by blood, by power, you are mine.”

By the end of her spell, her voice was thick and it echoed through the woods. She felt the other corpses stir around her. She knew she could extend her power and animate them as well, but it was counter productive to the current problem. In addition, controlling multiple zombies was no where near as easy as movies made it seem. Riley had never attempted it, and she didn’t plan to.

But Mr. Whittman’s zombie was hers to command now. He would harm no one without her permission. He was still drinking greedily from her. He would continue as long as she allowed it. Already feeling a bit light headed, she put a stop to it.

“Release me.”

The order was followed immediately and Riley pulled her arm back. She sliced off a scrap of her shirt and tossed the knife aside. She wrapped the wound on her arm and tied it tightly to try and stop the flow of blood. There was still one more task left to complete.

“It is time to rest now, Logan. I lay you…” Riley began, but was suddenly interrupted by a deep male voice.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m laying him to rest,” Riley replied, not taking her eyes off the zombie.

She knew that voice. It belonged to the pack alpha, Ryan Grayton. He had been domineering and controlling when she had dated Tina, had been the reason they broke up. He had been demanding and rude when she turned him down a week ago when he offered her cash to raise the zombie. He was going to be intolerable tonight, but the zombie was going into the ground, whether he liked it or not.

“Don’t you dare. That is my zombie, my weapon. I have a job for it,” Ryan growled as he finally graced the space with his presence and stepped into the circle.

Much like the zombie, Grayton was a large man, easily reaching 6’5”. Riley guessed his weight to be two hundred and thirty pounds of pure muscle. He was handsome, she supposed. Long blonde hair was pulled back into a braid that trailed down his back. His shirtless chest was chiseled. His eyes were just as hard, an intolerant and unforgiving hazel. His personality twisted his beauty. He was borderline cruel. His pack followed him out of fear, not love. Instead of answering him, she took her chance to finish her spell.

“It’s time to rest now, Logan. By my will you sleep, the ground a bed beneath your feet. Rest, Logan James Whittman. Rest.”


But the spell was cast, the alpha’s protest falling on uncaring ears. The earth beneath the zombie began to part as it lay down on its back. The ground swallowed the creature whole as it closed its eyes, the animation and power fading from the corpse. Since Logan had never been buried, he could be laid to rest anywhere. Riley was grateful she didn’t have to go grave hunting. The night would have been much longer and Grayton would have tried to stop her.

Once the earth sealed itself, leaving no evidence of what lay beneath, Riley stepped forward and placed her palm on the grass. Power flowed down her arm, encircling the body below. She sealed it and marked it with her power, making it extremely difficult for another necromancer to raise it and impossible for them to do so without her knowledge.

Just as she finished, a large hand completely surrounded her arm and yanked her violently to her feet. She whirled around to face him, ignoring the pain his fingers drove into her arm as he squeezed the muscle harshly. Her adrenaline turned to anger in an instant.

“What the fuck were you thinking? I told you this would happen. You ignored my warning and sacrificed a necromancer and several of your pack members for nothing. You even let one of your weakest dangle in front of it as bait, you cowardly fuck! You are supposed to protect your pack, not send them to die. No one should have died here tonight!” she screamed up at him.

“Their deaths are on your hands, O’Connor. Clearly, you have the power to control it. If you had been a good little bitch and done as you were told, none of this would have happened. No one would have died. But no. You had to be an upstanding, moral, obnoxious little skank. You forced me to find someone less skilled than you. I should kill you for causing harm to my pack,” Ryan growled back at her, releasing the arm he had squeezed tight enough to leave distinct bruises.

The pure, insulting idiocy of his logic snapped Riley’s temper. It wasn’t a difficult task, even under normal conditions. With adrenaline coursing through her and her emotions on a sharp edge, her fist flew out and found his jaw, sending his head snapping to the side. The single act caused the entire forest to fall completely silent. There were no more growls or quiet discussions. Treatment of the wounded stopped. Ryan slowly, dangerously, turned his head back to glare at her with savage fury. The growl that left his throat instilled more fear than the guttural sounds of the zombie.

Riley swallowed, instantly sobered. She, belatedly, remembered that she hadn’t driven herself to the woods. She had no means of escape. There was no way she could out run an entire pack of werewolves in their own territory. She began to build power for spells she really didn’t want use. Punching an extremely dominant and ill-tempered alpha male in front of his entire pack hadn’t been the wisest of her decisions for the night. She sincerely hoped it wasn’t about to be her last.

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Old 07-23-2013, 11:14 AM   #22
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Last City: Chapter One

High up on the 118th floor of an abandoned warehouse building in the North Quarter district, Kira Alexandra Donaven watched the endless rain shower the city around her. The sky was black, but that never changed in Last City. Rain and darkness were the standard conditions of the damaged atmosphere. Last City, once a plush and green world known as Earth, was now a dead rock covered in massive skyscrapers, endless shuttle traffic and factories. All branches of human government, the military force, and major corporations had central offices in the capital world.

As Kira watched the lights of shuttles fly by, flashes of what the planet once looked like invaded her thoughts. She had been born long after the planet’s death, but she was the last of the human druids. The magic that flowed through her veins was ancient and it carried the memories of her ancestors. Occasionally, those memories intruded despite her efforts for concentration and focus.

The memories reminded her that she was alone. There were many other races in the universe that had druids born to them, but their home planets were still alive and thriving. Humanity had killed Last City, and once Kira died, there wouldn’t be another born with druid magic. She knew she could have a child, but the chances of the child being born a druid were minuscule. Druids were protectors of life, but there was no life created from Last City. It was true, children were born there, but almost all of them were tampered with by either medical or cosmetic science. There was no plant or animal life left that wasn’t in a zoo or a museum. The planet’s core had cooled, its tectonic plates no longer shifting. The seas were dry and replaced with urban development. But even if all of those factors didn’t exist, Kira loathed the idea of raising a child in a society that still had no understanding of tolerance.

She was glad the human race didn’t see her as one of their own, even if it was a substantial display of ignorance on their part. A majority of magic users were human. Their wounds still bled. They died of disease and old age. Earth had also spawned life attuned to magic that was not human, but they were still brothers and sisters to humanity, whether the humans liked it or not. Humanity had defined itself down to the smallest amino acid in a DNA chain, and it constantly amazed Kira that anything that deviated from that sequence was seen as a threat to the human way of life.

During the Isolation War, humanity had driven people attuned to magic to the brink of extinction. They had been led by a fanatical branch of the military known as Unit 64. What survivors remained had been rounded up and placed in prisons and research facilities. Most magically attuned people were now either born in prison or born to families that had been freed by the Resistance. Kira offered any and all assistance she could, whether it was in the combat zones or behind the scenes leading, but she was just one woman. Even as powerful and talented as she was, she couldn’t fight an entire empire on her own. The Resistance didn’t have enough numbers or resources. They were losing.

Kira hacked into Unit 64’s files and facilities enough to see signs of the Unit planning the same genocide had happened on Last City for other alien races, but Kira didn’t know what could be done about it. She wasn’t exactly over flowing with political clout, resources, or hard evidence she could deliver to other races. History was always written by the victor, so magic was still seen as evil.

She shook her head, clearing her mind of the distraction. While she was concerned for the other races, she could ponder their fates another time. At the moment, she had a much more straight forward problem. The Resistance needed information that was sealed in a Unit 64 storage facility. That facility was electronically isolated from their central network. It could not be hacked from an outside computer. Since it was a data storage facility, there was less than the typical number of security measures. But it still didn’t mean it would be easy.

The roof and ground had too many lock down procedures for a feasible entry. That left only the sides of the building vulnerable, which eliminated most of the fighters in the Resistance as candidates for the mission. There were only a few that could fly, and even fewer who had enough experience to fly without panic when they were being chased by bullets and mobile vehicles. A shuttle docked against the side of the building was also not an option. It wasn’t nearly covert enough. The Unit was a highly organized and trained tactical force. There would be no escape with a shuttle. That left only her. She would have no back up.

She didn’t mind. A team meant she had to worry about lives other than her own. They wouldn’t be able to keep pace with her. Speed and precision would be crucial to the mission, and the last thing Kira needed was someone who couldn’t keep up. It wasn’t to say the Resistance’s fighters were not hard working, but they were mostly civilans with no military experience or training. They had learned fast from small skirmishes, but their willingness to work hard didn’t change the fact that Kira was superior.

Her magic was stronger and her skill at manipulating it was sharper. She had also been born, raised and trained by the very system she was fighting against. She knew their procedures and their tactics. She had memorized the floor plans for most of their buildings and facilities. It made her the ideal soldier for the mission. There was no need to waste lives when she worked better alone. The Resistance didn’t have any to spare.

She glanced at her watch and saw her time had come. The change of shift in the security was about to start. She secured her gear to the waterproof, light armored body suit that clung to her form like a second skin. It had enough armor to protect her against blades and low caliber guns, but not heavy enough to stop most of the larger rifles Unit 64’s elite troops carried. There was always a debate over armor that kept the user safe and armor that allowed the user to move. Favoring combat maneuverability over protection, Kira’s armor was typically light.

She pressed a small black mask over her nose and mouth. It automatically adapted to the contours of her face to create a tight seal. It provided her with clean air to breathe. She was about to make a sixty-five story jump. She needed her airway to be free of rain. The mask had the side bonus of being able to filter out harmful particles, whether they were natural or came from a weapon used against her.

She slipped a pair of goggles over her eyes. They were computerized and equipped with night vision, heat sensing and motion detecting modes. She also wore two computerized bracers around her forearms. She raised her left arm and tapped the touch screen, sorting through the menus. It only took a moment for the bracers to wirelessly sync with the goggles. She checked the rest of her weapons and equipment before sliding the window open and stepping into the small opening, crouching low to ensure she didn’t fall before she was ready.

Her target was the building directly across from her. She knew the distance was exactly two hundred and twelve meters, but it wouldn’t stop her from digitally mapping the building. She tapped her bracer a few times and her goggles scanned the exterior, counting the floors until the fifty-sixth story was located. After isolating the level, the goggles scanned the row of windows until the 10th office was found. The entire window was highlighted in red.

With her target acquired, she closed her eyes to take a moment to focus. Her timing would have to be perfect. It was probable if she made one small error or she was unlucky, she would miss her target. She had contingency plans in the event it happened, but she preferred to stay on target. Her plan already had an eight-five percent probability of severe injury. Deferring from it would increase the probability to one hundred percent. Injury always increased the chances of failure. Kira couldn’t afford to fail.

Lastly, she called her power. It took slightly longer to answer her than it would if she were on a living planet. Last City had no energy to share with her, nothing to give her a little extra edge. All she had was what she had been born with. It was still a vast amount, more than anyone she had ever encountered, but it paled in comparison to what she could call when she made a connection with a planet’s life force.

The energy skimmed through her body, leaving her with a momentary tingling in her skin. A humming aura of intensity vibrated around her. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes to study the traffic pattern around her. After a moment of gauging speed, she pushed out of the window with as much force as she could manage. She began to free fall into traffic. Roads only existed on the ground level of the planet, and there was not much activity down that far. Shuttles were now the major mode of transportation and they were guided by hovering traffic buoys that created holographic lanes in between the buildings and directed the flow of traffic. They even guided ships in space into orbital stations and launch points.

Kira flexed her control over the wind, using it to give her an extra boost of speed or slow her descent depending on the situation. It was a careful dance, demanding that her attention be split between controlling her magic and watching shuttles coming at her from both directions as she descended through the levels.

Once she had fallen fifty stories, she purposefully landed as gently as she could on top of a shuttle. It instantly began to take her east, away from her target. She looked down and jumped to the level below, landing on a shuttle moving west. She continued to make the one level jumps until she was lined up with the red window.

She was hyper focused, the burn of adrenaline scorching through her veins. The shuttles were moving incredibly fast and it took all of Kira’s attention to ensure she wasn’t hit or that she didn’t land hard enough to send a shuttle off course and cause an accident. While she didn’t fear those things, they would draw unwanted attention and possibly incur collateral casualties.

Lined up with the target window, she was forced to jump horizontally instead of vertically. Considering the speed of traffic, she was constantly being pulled away from the window. She was forced to jump a shuttle length or two at a time in order to stay in line with the target. She had to push herself to move faster, to think five or six jumps ahead and not lose confidence. Doubt would send her head first into oncoming shuttles. As soon as her feet touched one shuttle, she leapt to the next.

She was almost to the window, but the intense amount of effort she had put into car hopping would be wasted if the window wasn’t open when she got there. She raised her bracer as she continued to jump and a small compartment rose up from it. The bracer utilized the goggles as a targeting system, and fired a small sonic explosive coated in gel adhesive from the compartment directly at the window. The moment the device stuck, it emitted a series of high frequency sound waves. The window shattered just as Kira made her last jump over a shuttle.

She tucked and rolled her body to avoid injury, landing exactly where she wanted to be. She was kneeling behind a simple wooden desk with a thin, flat computer console resting upon it. Not even a second later, the alarm went off. She had ninety-eight seconds before a security team reached the office door. She pulled the wireless console off the desk and crouched behind it, using it for cover.

She got to work quickly, activating the console and hacking into the building’s stand-alone mainframe. She had been trained by the people who protected it. She knew their tricks and traps. She had access in less than fifteen seconds. She searched through the prison and laboratory logs. It took her more time than she would have liked. The logs were larger than she anticipated, meaning the Unit had captured or bred more people than Kira had been aware of. She took a mental note of it, but it wasn’t her priority. She stumbled upon what she was searching for hidden beneath a pile of meaningless code. She pulled a data drive from a pocket on her armor, and interfaced it with the console to begin downloading the information. Simultaneously, she started to upload a virus she had designed herself. It would destroy any information it encountered as it moved through the system, beginning with what she was stealing. Recovering lost information would slow down Unit 64’s computer scientists long enough for Kira to do something with the information she obtained.

Both the upload and download were seconds from finishing when the door flew open and men began shouting orders. Ignoring their demands, she quickly pulled two fast-release fragmentation grenades from her belt, glancing at her watch. Ninety-one seconds had passed. The security personnel had been practicing. She flicked the activation switches and looked over the desk long enough to throw the grenades. There was more shouting as Kira tucked herself and the console into the foot space of the desk. Exactly two seconds later, the grenades exploded and armor piercing needles sprayed out around the room.

The wooden desk did little to protect Kira from a weapon designed to pierce armor. She was forced to hunker down and hope the combination of wood and the armor would keep too many needles from penetrating her skin, but she knew better. Several needles had enough momentum to push through and bury themselves in the muscle of her back. She winced as the sharp pain stabbed through her body, but it wasn’t bad. She had been expecting it. A few piercings was a lot better than a face full of needles the soldiers behind her were facing.

The download and upload were complete. Kira turned the data drive off and shoved it back into the pocket in her armor. She activated the virus with a few quick taps on the touch screen. Behind her, the troops were starting to regain their bearings. Voices were sounding off name, rank and injury status.

She didn’t wait for them. She crawled out from under the desk and stayed low to the floor as she moved to the window. She rolled off the edge just as she heard a soldier call out a sighting of her. Bullets soon began to fly dangerously close to her, but it was less than a few seconds before she landed on a shuttle. The shuttle horn blared as it swerved to maintain its position in the lane. She got up and immediately jumped to the level below her, landing much softer on a shuttle headed the opposite direction. She let it carry her away from the building.

Knowing mobile units would be on top of her in another minute, two at the most, Kira began watching the passing buildings for the train tracks built into their sides. The trains were a series of local public transports that gave the riders access to the different buildings and levels without having to take a shuttle. The trains moved up and down the buildings and across bridges that stretched between them. Some of the tracks went all the way to the ground level, which was exactly where Kira wanted to go.

A train was the fastest way to there, but it would also be the most painful. She heard the sirens of the mobile units behind her. She didn’t look for them, focusing only on finding a downward headed train attached to a track that went all the way down. It took much longer than she would have liked. The mobile units were almost on her when she spotted one. She didn’t hesitate, despite knowing she would obtain more injuries. She jumped, and as she moved through the air she tapped a button on the chest of her armor. A computer guided grappling hook fired from the armor on her right shoulder.

The hook wrapped itself around a maintenance handrail on the side of the train. The moment the contact was secure, the cable began to retract into her armor. Within a second, Kira’s body had two extreme forces bearing down on it. The retracting cable yanked her into the train and the train itself yanked her downward. Her shoulder slammed into the side of the train, followed by her head. Her arm went numb for a moment or two before her shoulder began to burn and she was certain she would have a severe concussion when she allowed herself to feel the symptoms. Blood from a head wound began to drip down her face. She used her good arm to grip the maintenance rail and tucked her body as close to the train as possible, every muscle in her body flexed to the point of pain. The rain bit into the bare skin of her face from the speed of travel.

She gathered her thoughts, pushing the haze in her mind out. She still had to get off the train and she needed to be able to focus to get it done without killing herself. The train likely wouldn’t slow down when it approached the ground. The track would angle and slowly bend to allow the train to maintain its speed and course. Traffic significantly thinned out as the train approached the lower levels. There was nothing down there the average citizen would want. Kira knew she could make a jump without fear of being struck by a stray shuttle, but she needed to slow herself down in a very short period of time or she’d be a bloody, indistinguishable splatter on the pavement.

She used her good arm to maintain her grip on the handrail and reached up with her bad one. Her shoulder screamed at her as she fumbled to find the release button for the cable on her chest armor. It took a little maneuvering and fighting of the wind, but she was finally able to tap the button. The hook disengaged from the handrail and retracted back into the armor. She was forced to yank her second arm down to the rail, as the only thing keeping her on the train was her grip. She took slow, deep breaths as she watched the fast approaching ground.

She called to the air around her, bringing up a substantial portion of her power. When the train was about six stories from the ground, she planted her heels against it and shoved off. Her momentum flung her downward and she used the power she called to call a tunnel of wind to push her body in the opposite direction.

Her body slowed, but Kira didn’t have the luxury of the time it would take to make a pretty landing. She tucked her body, pulling her chin and knees to her chest as she wrapped her arms protectively over her head. She hit the ground hard and rolled twenty feet before her back slammed into a support pillar of a skyscraper.

Shock kept the pain from registering for several moments, but when it finally did, her back blossomed with it. Crimson spots appeared on the pillar behind her where the impact had shoved the needles all the way into her back. Her face and neck were scraped and her legs throbbed from the force of blunt impact. She groaned and stayed still, allowing herself the time to assess her body for damage.

She moved her fingers, clenched her fists and tensed the muscles in her arms. Everything was responsive, but her left shoulder and arm were in a sizeable amount of pain and were slightly sluggish. She repeated the process with her legs and found them to be sore but fully functional. Her back was likely severely bruised and the puncture wounds would be deep, but she didn’t feel any numbness or tingling in her body. Her spinal cord was likely intact, thanks to the armor. She could always hope, anyway.

All of that told her she had no excuse to still be lying on the ground. She got up and began to sprint. Her body protested with every step, but pain was a feeling she was intimately familiar with. She had been trained on how to process and push through it. She learned to analyze what information pain was conveying about her body and make decisions about how long she could last. Plans could be altered to ensure mission success before the body failed. While she hurt and was certainly injured, she judged it insufficient to deviate from her plan. Pain was an indicator at most, a state of mind at least. So, she pushed harder and disappeared into the dark. Her night was no where near over, and slowing down meant death. Or worse, capture.

Very little light reached the ground level of Last City. There was a pale light here or there to illuminate loading docks or entrances to buildings, but the bright and colorful city above was the complete opposite of the foundation that supported it. Kira switched her goggles to night vision mode while she moved. The ground level was close to a ghost town. Every now and then, she would pass by a small group of people huddled together to ward off the chill of cold rain. Those who populated the ground level were homeless and without means of any kind. It was where society sent the less fortunate to die. Kira’s heart reached out to them, but there was nothing she could do. Accepting help from her wouldn’t leave them better off. So, she passed them without looking back.

It wasn’t long before she heard the footsteps and voices of a pursuit squad behind her. There was a time during her training when she was assigned to one. It was a team of twenty-six specialized soldiers. Ten were equipped with heavy armor and high caliber, high power guns designed to take out anything from a person to large, military grade vehicles. Eight of the soldiers were medium armor, precision shooters. Their sniper rifles were some of the most advanced weapons ever made for ground troops. Six were light armor, melee fighters and two were combat medics.

The medics moved inside a tight circle formed by the heavy gunners. The gunners were the brute force of the squad. They were slow moving and typically placed themselves in the thickest part of the gunfight. The precision shooters were hunters. They fanned out away from the protection of heavy soldiers and either eliminated the target via sniper shooting or they herded the target back to the heavy gunners. The melee fighters were equipped with personal stealth generators and protected the precision shooters.

Kira knew she would have to take out most or all of the squad if she had the smallest hope of making it off world without problems at customs. Pursuit squads were equipped with the best tracking equipment currently manufactured. They had night vision, infrared and heat tracking, DNA scanners and their computers were linked to Unit 64’s satellite security network. If she merely tried to evade them, the various methods the squad had available would identify her shuttle. Even if she were lucky and managed to slip into space, she would end up facing Unit 64’s combat fleet. She would be grossly outnumbered and outgunned. Therefore, she had to cut off the source that was feeding central command information. She couldn’t go to her ship until the squad was dispatched. Having anticipated the problem, she already had a plan to handle them.

She sprinted through the alleys, navigating them with ease as she had spent time mapping them prior to mission start. She turned left down an alley and stopped in front of a steel door. She reached down and pulled a knife from her boot and drove it into the simple electronic lock. The lock shattered and she kicked the door open. She slipped the blade back in her boot and stepped inside, closing the door behind her.

The building she had chosen was a chemical plant. Her goggles lit up so brightly she couldn’t see out of them. She switched off the night vision. Information the goggles acquired from scanning the area began to scroll in the bottom corner of the lens. It was a scorching 105 degrees Fahrenheit in the warehouse. Some of the pipes and vats were substantially hotter. The steam was thick enough it was difficult to see though. It was everything Kira needed.

The steam and the temperature of the room would make heat tracking useless. The light would block the advantages of night vision. The noise of the machines and the smells of the chemicals would hide her from the soldiers' genetically enhanced senses. Satellite tracking wasn't possible when the target was indoors. All the pursuit squad would be left with was DNA tracking. They could follow the smallest drops of her blood or sweat. It was even sensitive enough to pick up skin cells she had shed.

To try and eliminate that as well, Kira began to run aimlessly through the maze of pipes and giant chemical vats, touching and rubbing up against everything that wasn't hot enough to burn her. She crossed over her own path more than several times, leaving her DNA everywhere she could. She didn't stop until she heard them kick the door in. Heavy gunners were not the quietest killers she'd ever encountered.

She paused her movement, trying to listen for the commanding officer's orders. She wasn't close enough to make them out and she hadn't hacked into their communication network. Knowing it would be the best way to monitor their activity, she put her back to a wall and brought her right bracer up and began to tap at the screen. A small tone in her ear signified her ear piece had activated and synced with the bracer. She immediately began to build a pirate signal to tap into their transmissions. When she succeeded, she caught the tail end of orders to turn off all tracking but DNA. She smirked as the soldiers periodically started to sound off their positions. She was aware of them, but they wouldn't be aware of her. She had the advantage.

Her first targets were the medics. They had the technology and training to bring an almost dead soldier back to a condition where he could continue on. He may die later, but not before the mission was complete. They had to be eliminated if Kira hoped to take out the others before being overwhelmed. With the medics being inside a ring of heavy gunners, she would be forced to make her strike from above and take them both out simultaneously.

She looked up at the ceiling and saw a series of chemical vats hanging from chains attached to a mechanical moving and pouring network. Kira figured it was used for pouring the contents of the ceiling vats into the ones on the ground. She tapped her bracer a few more times, her goggles mapping out the trail she had taken to get to her current position on the lenses. She used it to back track to a stairwell that led up to a control station. The steam was bad enough that she had to mostly rely on the green lines in her goggles that marked her path. Once she reached the stairwell, she climbed it slowly and accessed the computer terminal. She began searching the inventory data base for a list of chemicals the vats contained.

The results of her search solidified the plan that had been forming in her mind since she first raised her gaze to the sky. The synthetic, corrosive acids stored in the vats were used in off world mining operations to cut through some of the densest rock known to man. It would be more than sufficient to eat through both heavy armor and flesh.

She then brought up the controls for the pouring network. A map of the entire system came up and she studied it as she tapped her bracer, giving the goggles instructions to copy the map. Part of her attention never ceased to monitor the squad's communication. They had figured out she had spread her DNA randomly and switched to a systematic search of the warehouse. It suited her, as it allowed her to predict rather than react.

With her exit of the building already plotted out, the elimination of the pursuit squad had been the only part of the mission she hadn't been able to plan in advance. Now that she had formed a plan, she projected the movements of the squad. They would pass beneath several vats on their search. She looked up to the one they would reach first. It would be difficult to get in position before they passed beneath it, but she didn't have the luxury of patience when there were snipers and cloaked troopers on the search for her.

She looked around her immediate area and saw a maintenance ladder fifteen yards from her. She vaulted down from the control station, landing with light feet. Once at the ladder, she climbed her way up to the ceiling. There were repair platforms running along the different tracks, all secured to both the tracks and the ceiling itself. They were only large enough for a man, maybe two, to crawl on and gain access to the motors that controlled the chains.

Kira climbed out onto the platform that lead to the vat she was interested in, still paying close attention to the transmission chatter. She closed in on the motor. The soldiers would pass under it in less than five minutes. The chain holding the vat was out of her reach. Her two options would be to active the motor to empty the vat, or to try and break the chain. Starting the motor would give away her location and there was no cover on the platform. Between the heavy guns and snipers, she wouldn't stand a chance. She had to break the chain.

She looked up at the series of tracks the chains moved on. They were suspended from the ceiling by about a foot, just enough for the repair robots to gain access to the top side of the tracks. Given the state of her shoulder and the bruising on her legs, she wasn't a fan of where the situation was taking her. However, time was always against her and her options were few.

She reached up and grabbed the track and pulled herself up to wrap her legs around it. It took a bit to fit her boots through the small space and it put enough strain on her shoulder that she worried it may give out on her way to the vat. Determined, she solidified her position first, and then took a moment to catch her breath. The pain across her back and shoulder forced her to sacrifice those much needed seconds.

Her knees were driven into the ceiling as her calves crossed over the track. While it helped secure position, she had to use her arms to help distribute her weight to keep her suit from loudly scraping against the ceiling. She began to pull herself out to the vat, doing her best to grit her teeth and bear the spiking pain each pull elicited from her body. She almost slipped twice as a tired muscle in her arm threatened to give out.

Once she reached the chain, she had twenty seconds before the soldiers would be outside the vat's range. She squeezed her legs tighter around the track and let go with her hands to hang upside down next to the chain. She didn't look at the vat of acid that would be her death if she slipped. She focused on flexing her core to reach out and wrap her hand around one of the massive chain links.

She called her power over fire and began to heat the link. It wasn't long before the link turned a molten red color and began to stretch. The soldiers below began to pass directly beneath her and if Kira didn't get the link to break soon, her opportunity would be wasted. She increased the heat to the point where even the magic couldn't shield her from the effect on the chain.

She closed her eyes and grimaced as the heat ate through her glove and burned her hands. But it paid off when the link became too heated to support the weight of the vat. It snapped and the vat plummeted down to the unsuspecting men below.

Hideously tortured screams filled the building as the spilled acid coated the soldiers that had not been killed by the brunt impact of the vat. Her heart broke at the sounds of their sufferings, but she didn't let pity or guilt stop her. The snipers were already screaming at each other to look to the skies. Kira had no intention of being a sitting duck on the other side of their scopes.

What was left of the squad was disorganized, moving out to the edges of the warehouse where the acid had yet to touch. Kira took advantage and crawled back to the platform. She crawled around several paths until she came to a new ladder and quickly moved to the ground. Once she had both feet on the floor, she drew a knife from each boot. Dual wielding was never as easy as it looked, especially with a wounded hand, but Kira was well practiced and she intending on quietly taking out the remaining soldiers one by one.

The soldiers continuously sounded off their name, position, and injury status in desperate attempts to find each other. They were ripe for the picking. She began her hunt, using the steam and disorganization as cover. With the goggles able to triangulate the map of the warehouse with the information coming from her ear piece, she was easily able to come up behind the troops and slam a blade into their brainstem through the cervical juncture at the base of the skull, one of the few weak points in their armor. In nine minutes, the remaining soldiers were laying motionless in pools of blood. She terminated her pirate signal. She didn’t need it any longer and if she kept it live, once the Unit’s computer scientists realized what happened, they could trace her signal.

The front of Kira’s armor was coated in blood. It would leave a trail and she didn’t have a large amount of time before back up came looking for the dead squad. She quickly made her way to the fire escape stairwell, pulling the alarm as she went. She sprinted up fifteen flights of stairs, her heart pounding in her chest, her lungs burning by the time she made it to her goal floor. She didn't worry about Unit 64's computer scientists hacking into the building's security system. The Resistance had given her the notice that all security in the building besides physical locks had been disabled an hour before the mission started. There was nothing to hack.

She pushed through the entry door for the floor. It led to a wide locker room for the chemical plant day time staff. She ran to the showers and found the duffel bag full of clothes, identification and a currency card loaded with one hundred thousand currency units, commonly called C.Us, the Resistance had left her.

She turned on a shower and jumped beneath the spray, armor and all. Bloody water began to pour down the drain as she rinsed her body as quickly as she could. The water stung her burned hand and the many scrapes along her exposed skin. Once she was as clean of blood as she could get given her time frame, she stripped out of her armor and dried herself using one of the towels stored in the locker room. The wounds on her back still seeped with blood. She tied a smaller towel tightly around her chest to put pressure on the wounds at her back. She hoped it would keep the bleeding from showing through her shirt. Luckily, the bleeding across her face and neck had slowed.

She put the computerized bracers back on her forearms before she dressed in a loose fitting black business suit, followed by a hooded leather trench coat. She pulled the data drive out from the compartment in her armor and slid it into one on her left bracer. She pulled the hood up to help keep her face from being directly visualized. She then packed up the wet armor and weapons into the duffel bag and walked out to the opposite end of the locker room. Cleaning the armor, packing her back wounds and being cautious about her face scratches would limit the blood trail she left behind.

When she reached the other end of the locker room, she pushed through doors that lead to a bridge that connected the factory with its corporate office building across the street. The bridge was covered and climate controlled, shielding the occupants from the weather. It would also keep Kira from being spotted via Unit 64 satellites. She didn’t plan on being on the streets on foot for the remainder of the evening.

She entered the business building, her attire and duffel bag of the same style and material that was common in work place fashion. With the fire alarm in the factory going off, people in suits and skirts were running around making calls and putting contingency plans into action. Workers and emergency personnel were starting to push through the doors she just came through. There were frustrated arguments about why no one seemed to be able to get a visual of the problem through security cameras. Kira kept her head down and weaved in and out of the crowds easily.

No one noticed her as she walked to the office’s train station. It was a series of two sliding, heavy security doors on the wall of the building. Trains stopped there, matching their doors with those of the building. When the two lined up properly, locks disengaged and they opened, revealing a passage from the building to the train. Kira boarded the train that took her across the quadrant to a parking garage. She kept track of the passengers moving on and off the train, ensuring she wasn’t being followed.

Once in the garage, she walked to a parked shuttle with the confidence of a corporate executive wanting to be home after a long day. She continued to keep her head down, using the hood to hide her face. She scanned the garage as she moved, seeing several others following the same fashion as her. She slowed her pace long enough to determine they were not military before she got into her own shuttle.

It was small, business class vehicle. It had a small cargo bay and a flight bridge with a small bunk bed tucked behind the pilot’s flight controls. It was meant for traveling in Last City and short space trips through jump gates. She stepped into the bridge and secured the duffel in a hidden compartment beneath the pilot’s seat. She sat at the controls and piloted the shuttle out of the garage and to the spaceport.

Once there, she got in the lane for off world departures. She would have to wait in line as customs agents scanned every shuttle that went through one by one. Her breathing and heart rate had normalized and she had begun to truly feel the pain of her injuries. She started to get sleepy, and she knew it was a direct result of a concussion. She had felt the sensation many times before. She kept up the fight to stay focused and professional. She had to get off Last City. By then, Unit 64 had realized she was no longer in the chemical plant and they had lost her trail. They would be activating their agents in all the space ports on Last City. She was hoping to slip through before they got fully mobilized.

When the customs agents came to her, she calmly provided them with all the false identification from the duffel bag. When they asked her about her facial wounds, she fell into the charming persona on her ID, regaling them with a story about how she clumsily tripped in laboratory while giving her boss a tour of new products. Her boss, impressed with her products and amused by her lack of coordination, sent her home to tend to her scratches and take a three day weekend to celebrate her success. They laughed with her and offered medical aid, but Kira smiled at them and said they were just scratches and she’d rather get on with her vacation. There was a devastatingly handsome man and a margarita waiting for her.

Charmed, the customs agents nodded and began their inspection of her cargo hold. When they found nothing, they happily sent Kira on her way with instructions to be more careful and to enjoy her hard earned vacation. The lights on the traffic buoys turned green and she took her shuttle up the lane that headed into space. She followed the path that lead to the public jump gate near the moon. Only large warships and trade class vessels were big enough to support their own jump gates.

She had to wait in line again, since jump gates could only send one ship through at a time. The gate itself was a large, computerized ring attached to an orbital station. She had to endure another customs check and she charmed the agents as easily as she had on Last City. They kept in close communication, so her destination and reason for departure had already been transmitted. While they checked her cargo bay, Kira looked out at the gate, longing to be through it and in another galaxy. When it wasn’t activated, the gate looked empty, nothing but a floating metal ring. But when the gate was turned on, it would create a tunnel in space that connected to a second gate in the Kartin sector in the G3 galaxy. A number system had replaced giving galaxies actual names long ago.

Every ship was equipped with a “lock,” which was a large docking point, that could hold a “key.” Keys broadcasted a signal to the tunnel and were the property of the Trade and Commerce branch of the government. The tunnel’s matrix responded to only keys. Nothing could pass through without one. Anything that tried wouldn’t be attuned to the tunnel and would be torn apart by the forces within. They key provided a mysterious form of shielding. Once shielded, a vessel traveled through space faster than the speed of light.

Kira yearned to learn how the technology worked, but as far as she knew, not even Unit 64 could gain access to the science behind it. It was locked down tight in Trade and Commerce. All ships large enough for their own jump gates had to pass through large amounts of paperwork and clearance. The Trade and Commerce branch knew about everything that moved through every gate built and distributed through out the explored universe.

Her thoughts were interrupted as the customs agents cleared her and the key docked with her shuttle. She sighed in relief as the shielding encased her ship and she shot into the gate. The Kortir sector was fifteen minutes away using a gate. It would take more than several life times to reach the sector without one. She leaned back in the chair, wincing as her weight rested on her injured back. She took the time to get a better gauge on her injuries.

It was becoming harder and harder to stay conscious. Her head was pounding and it felt as if it weighed a thousand pounds. The needles in her back had slowed the bleeding, but she knew it was still escaping her body. She had spent half the night aggravating the puncture wounds. Every time a muscle in her back shifted, sharp and shooting pains surged through her body. Her left arm and shoulder were starting to feel like dead weight, the muscles and ligaments likely torn. Her legs were exhausted. They wouldn’t carry her much further. Her physical state was deteriorating and she didn’t believe she would be able to fight off unconsciousness long enough to make it to her safe house and treat her own wounds. She made the logical decision and changed her plans.

Once through the gate, she piloted the shuttle to the planet Marlia II. She fell into the traffic lanes that orbited the planet until she came upon the exit for its third moon Andis. Marlia II was massive and Andis had the warmth of the solar system’s sun as well as the heat that radiated from the planet itself. The moon had been colonized with farmers and tourists eager to lie on its crimson beaches.

She went through customs for the last time, all her focus centered on maintaining her cover and fighting against the growing desire for sleep. She was forced to set the shuttle to autopilot. The town she went to was small and located by the sea. It was night there, the town mostly void of activity. The residents there farmed seafood and other natural resources. A simple town full of simple people.

Kira’s shuttle traveled at the proper speed limit to avoid attention and found its way to a small cottage five miles outside of the town. The cottage was about five hundred yards from a series of high dunes that separated the beach from land solid enough to support buildings.

The shuttle put itself in park and Kira stumbled out of the flight deck, quickly succumbing to her wounds. Her legs gave out on her on the way to the cottage and she hit the ground hard just as the front door opened. A tall man with dark hair sprinted out, a woman much shorter than him right on his heels.

“Kira!” he yelled, bare feet skidding to a stop beside her.

She looked up, offering him a half hearted smile and she whispered, “I found them.”

She didn’t feel his arms as they lifted her. She didn’t hear the woman’s voice call out orders into the night. She was lost in a nightmare filled with pained screams, flesh falling from bones in long, acid burnt strips, and sprays of blood painting her with the mark of death.

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Old 07-23-2013, 05:28 PM   #23
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Last City: Chapter 2

Agent Ava Clarise Hudson stood at attention outside the Admiral’s office, doing her best to disguise her irritation. Anger from being recalled from Tythis mid-mission had been stewing for forty-eight long hours. She had been so close to gaining the last bit of information she needed to assault a Resistance base of operations. Another day, two at the most, would have brought Unit 64 sixty three new prisoners. Ava was not a woman who left before the job was finished. Nor did she appreciate being replaced by someone she knew to be significantly less qualified than her. The kid had less than fifty missions under his belt, none of which were off world.

While she knew her handler wouldn’t have ordered her back to Last City for something trivial, it did nothing to erase the bitter taste of probable mission failure from her mouth. Her body and mind were itching to pace around the small reception area, but intense and rigid training locked her in place. Ava’s temper was known to be cold and deadly throughout the Unit. She did not tolerate stupidity, ignorance, or failure. But she knew her temper and willingness to punish inefficiency paled in comparison to Admiral Tikes. Ava had no desire to have his fury aimed at her, and she wished she had been able to work off her mood before the meeting.

Time ticked by slowly. The reception room was completely silent except for the subtle tapping of a computer console by the receptionist. The digital clock above the Admiral’s office counted the seconds with an eerie green glow. Ava didn’t understand how the receptionist could sit in complete silence for her eight hour shifts, but she knew that Tikes would not have placed a soldier outside his office if she wasn’t combat capable. It was another agonizing twenty minutes before the automatic door slid open and Tikes’ stern voice sounded from within.

“Enter, Agent Hudson.”

Without hesitation, Ava formally marched in, the door sliding shut behind her. She stopped exactly three feet in front of the Admiral’s desk and saluted. There were no chairs for the comfort of his guests. A soldier did not sit in the Admiral’s, or any commanding officer’s, presence. The Admiral, however, sat with perfect posture in his uncomfortable-looking chair, his gaze bearing down on her. She was used to his stares. They had stopped making her uncomfortable about a year ago.

She knew Tikes had been genetically altered to give him telepathy. The horrid magical creatures had forced the Unit to alter some of their strongest soldiers in order to win the war. Those troops sacrificed their humanity to defend the rest of the race. They would never be able to live a life that wasn’t military. They would never be able to mingle with the rest of civilization again. Tikes was one of those heroes. She knew if she wasn’t careful, he could tear her mind into pieces and she would spend the rest of her days babbling incoherently and drooling all over herself in the psychiatric ward. She was in no hurry to make that possibility a reality, so she prepared herself for the test she knew was coming.

Ava was a natural born empath. Unit 64 had freed her from the Resistance when she was a baby and gave her the chance to make a difference; to use her skills to fight for what was right. She believed that the extra boosts magical creatures were born with did not give them the right to prey on and arbitrarily destroy the human race. They were monsters and Ava considered herself lucky to have been saved from them.

Her power over the mind was more subtle than Tikes’. She could interpret people’s thoughts and even draw on their memories through emotion. Almost all memories and thoughts contained emotional attachments of some kind. Though her power was not the same, Tikes routinely challenged her. She knew it was designed to keep her sharp, but the little battles were often time consuming and tedious.

Ava felt a very subtle push against her natural shielding and she immediately tightened them. She cleared her mind of all thought and put her sole focus on finding the chinks in Tikes’ armor. She let herself open to what was flowing in the room. It was filled with frustration, anger, and tension. While she shared these emotions with him, every individual had a unique feel to them. But it took more time to separate out an individual’s emotion in a massive mixture of the same kind of emotions. So, she focused a bit more and searched patiently. There was something the Admiral was feeling that she was not. It wasn’t long before she tasted the sharp, bitter flavor of betrayal.

None of it showed in his appearance. He was a fastidiously neat man, every aspect of his uniform perfectly placed. His black hair was kept in a tight, military buzz cut. He was handsome in his mid fifties, still young with the advances in medicine. The uniform itself was tailored to a rigidly fit body that was still more than capable of doing field work. His empty, piercing gray eyes slammed into hers, revealing nothing of his thoughts. Only an empath could tell the Admiral’s mood was sour.

The silence stretched between them. Ava knew the game well enough to be patient. She sorted through the emotional pool and latched onto the sense of betrayal, since it was the only emotion she did not share with him. She followed it to the weakness in his shielding. Instead of slamming through the small crack like a tank, she slipped in quietly and hoped she’d gone unnoticed. She immediately learned the source of his frustration was a recent attack against the Unit by a former agent. Tikes seemed to be more emotionally bound to the traitor than usual, mixed feelings of affection, hatred and sadness surrounding the idea of the agent. Ava attempted to take advantage of the strong emotional attachment to pull a face from his memories.

Intense, debilitating pain shot through her mind and brought her to one knee. She didn’t cry out or panic. She didn’t have the time to indulge herself in those wasteful reactions. Instead, she counter attacked. He was already past her defenses. The only way to save her mind was to stop him in his. As painful as it was, she gritted her teeth and enhanced her own discomfort and broadcasted it, sharing it with Tikes through the connection they had made with each other. The more he hurt her, the more he would hurt himself. He could still break her, but not without a devastating cost to himself. Most mentally attuned people would not accept those consequences.

Soon enough, Tikes’ smooth, calm voice finally broke the silence. “That’s enough, Agent. Tell me what you learned.”

The pain vanished as quickly as it had come and she felt him retreat from her mind. She returned the favor, breaking the temporary connection between them before rising to her feet to stand at attention once more. She went back over what had transpired in her mind before answering, ensuring she didn’t leave out any details.

“Sir, I noticed the room was filled with anger, frustration, and tension. However, those are emotions we share, so tracing one to you specifically would have taken too much time. So, I looked a little closer and caught a small hint of betrayal. Since that emotion was isolated to you, I traced it back to the micro fracture in your shielding. I learned there was a very recent attack against the Unit, no older than sixty hours. The attacker was a former agent and you have a strong, but mixed emotional attachment regarding this person. The traitor is the reason I’ve been recalled from Tythis, Sir.”

“Very good, Agent, but it is far from your best. In your own negative mood and impatience to get the test over with, you forgot that slipping into another established a reciprocal connection and you must adjust your defenses accordingly. You learned nothing I didn’t want you to know and I was able to break into your thoughts without your awareness. Do you really find Agent Peters to be so incompetent?” Tikes asked coldly.

Ava almost lowered her gaze in embarrassment. She hadn’t even felt him sneak in. It was a careless error in tactics and she knew better. But she couldn’t take it back now and he had already seen inside her mind. She wasn’t sure how much he had seen. Sugar coating or hiding parts of her thoughts from him would now result in well-deserved punishment. She wouldn’t have lied, regardless. She didn’t lie to her superiors, especially when she was more than happy to offer up her opinion.

“Sir, yes, I do. He is young, inexperienced and bloodthirsty. He isn’t capable of capturing the mission targets. He will end up, accidentally or purposefully, killing them. It will most likely be the latter and the mission will become a complete waste of time and resources, Sir.”

Tikes regarded Ava for a moment or two before he nodded once. “I happen to agree with your assessment. Agent Peters is only there to observe while we find a suitable replacement for you. Your work will not go to waste and your performance has been noted. Free yourself of the burden. Your next assignment will require your complete focus. You must be better than you just were, the sharpest you’ve ever been. Because of this, before you even begin, you will report to Dr. Evans for a week of extensive mental training re-education. In addition, your cybernetic implants will be upgraded. I assume you will tend to your own fitness.”

Ava had to fight to hide her annoyance. She despised Dr. Evans. Everyone who had the unfortunate experience of her “training” did. However, the idea of upgrades appealed to her. It also made her wonder why she would need them. But she kept her answer straight and to the point, as was expected of her.

“Sir, affirmative, Sir.”

Tikes took a data drive off his desk and walked around to the front of it. He leaned back, folding his arms across his wide chest as he studied Ava intently. “At ease, Agent. Speak your mind.”

Ava visibly relaxed her stance, spreading her feet shoulder width apart and folding her hands in front of her waist. She did her best to resist the urge to go on a rant about all the things she currently found irritating.

“I’m one of your best agents, Admiral, but Internal Affairs isn’t my field of expertise. The rebels on Tythis are dangerous and of extreme value. Why yank me from something I’m damn good at to toss me in a case I’m completely unqualified for? Why can’t Jakobs or Veren take it?”

“Both Agents Jakobs and Veren have been terminated in action while pursuing this mission. The target has evaded us for years and has more value to the Unit than the entire Resistance combined. You are not one of the best, Hudson. You are –the- best. You’ve adapted to every assignment I’ve given you and this mission actually falls right in line with your specialty. But even taking all your skills, enhancements, and attributes into consideration, this assignment will be the most difficult and dangerous one you ever face. I want you to hunt a hunter.”

Ava raised a curious eyebrow. “What is powerful enough to take out Jakobs and Veren working together? Its not like they were a couple of garden variety grunts.”

“Everything you need to know is in this file. You will return to your quarters for a full night of recuperation and data assimilation. The biotechnologists expect you at 05:00 hours. You are dismissed,” the Admiral said, offering Ava the file.

Ava accepted it and walked out of the office confused. She knew by his tone he wouldn’t have answered any more questions or tolerated her asking them. Tikes wasn’t typically so vague. He wanted successful missions, so he provided his agents with any and all information and equipment necessary. It wasn’t like him to shove a file in her hand and send her on her way. It concerned her.

As she made her way through the maze of hallways and elevators to her apartment, Ava began to wonder who from the Unit would be able to kill both Jakobs and Veren. They had been the best of an elite squad of agents trained to find holes in the Unit’s security and plug them. She had trained with them often. Eight out of ten times, she’d beat them, but both still had been capable of besting her. Considering she had yet to encounter a magical creature she hadn’t beaten, being able to defeat her twenty percent of the time was no small feat. The more she thought about the events in the past forty-eight hours, the more the file both intrigued and frightened her.

When she finally made it to her quarters, she slipped her hand into the genetic lock and waited. It measured her pulse, scanned one of the three sub-dermal dog tags in her body and poked her palm for a small blood sample. Once her identity was established, the door opened and she headed straight inside. She didn’t bother with the door, knowing it would seal shut and lock on its own.

Her apartment was sparsely, but tastefully furnished. It was also impeccably clean, but that could have been because she was almost never there. It had a bedroom, bathroom, office, kitchen, and both living and dining rooms. Her apartment was large compared to what most soldiers were issued, but she was a higher rank and her missions were often more dangerous. There were hints of her personal taste scattered around the residence. There were occasional paintings on the wall, a candle on a table or two. However, most of the apartment was left as the standard military issue.

She headed straight to her office and sat at her desk. Her computer was a 32 inch flat screen console with full touch screen capabilities. She could drag data from the console to the smaller tablet beside it and walk around the apartment if she chose. All images on the screen would be three dimensional and able to be manipulated. She loaded the data file onto her console and the image of her target filled half the screen while basic, physical data filled the other. The image itself hit her like a mass cargo shuttle, stopping her heart and stealing her breath away.

The woman on the screen seemed to have matured, her features hardened by war and violence. Ava had seen a similar effect in her own face when she saw old pictures of herself. But the intense, emerald gaze hadn’t changed. She knew a picture, not even a three dimensional, maneuverable holographic image, couldn’t do the target’s eyes justice. A person could drown in those depths. Ava suddenly realized why she had been chosen and why Tikes hadn’t provided her with extra details. She already knew most of it. Once upon a time, she had been the target’s best friend.

Ava sighed and leaned back in her chair, looking away from the screen and out the window. As the rain endlessly splattered against the glass, she tried to come to terms with the fact that she would be hunting Kira Donavan. The Admiral hadn’t been joking about the difficulty of the assignment. She had her work cut out for her, professionally and personally.
Donavan was the last of the druids. It was also believed she had the potential to be an Arch druid, the strongest magical creature the Unit had ever come across. There was only ever one at a time and the limits to their power only seemed to come from their skill at manipulating it. In ancient times, they had guided and ruled over the many druid clans. Almost all other magically attuned creatures came to them for wisdom and protection.
Not only was Donavan immensely powerful with magic, she had also been trained by Unit 64. She had been born and raised within the Unit, groomed to be the perfect soldier. She had been the hope to end the Resistance and bring humanity safety. Ava knew this because they had grown up together. When Donavan defected, the Unit advanced Ava’s training. They had needed a replacement.
The list of all training Donaven had received in combat, weapons, vehicles, and technology was in the file. The list would be longer than Ava was tall. Everything the Unit had acquired on her would be in the file, but before Ava could even begin to look through it, she had to decide whether or not she was willing to hurt Kira.

She brought to mind the last time she had seen the druid. She had been trying to escape the training facility, the place they had called home for as long as either of them could remember. There were fires and debris from multiple explosions all over the building. The smoke was thick and the fire suppression system was spraying white foam from the ceilings. Bodies had littered the floor. Ava had recognized most of their faces.

When Ava had finally caught up with Kira, she had found her standing over the body of the man who had taken care of them since birth. All Kira would have to do is jump through one last window and she would be out of the facility. Ava called out to her, not understanding why she had murdered their friends and destroyed their home.

Kira had turned and asked Ava to come with her, to trust her. She had promised to explain everything, but as Ava looked around at the destruction and the body of the man she had considered her father, Ava felt nothing but hurt and betrayal. Kira had become a traitor in a matter of minutes, a perfect example of the volatile, dangerous monsters that they were trying to protect innocents from. When Ava said as much and advanced to stop her, she felt a brief flash of intense sadness from the druid. It only lasted a moment before Kira began to shield too tightly for Ava to penetrate.

They had fought and Ava ended up unconscious. She had awoken the next day in the infirmary. The doctor told her she had been lucky. She had suffered very little injury, only enough to incapacitate her. Donavan had killed eighteen soldiers and critically wounded fifty-three others that night. It was believed she defected to the Resistance.

With the memory of all the death and destruction Donavan was capable of fresh in her mind, Ava knew she could hunt the other woman. She was no longer the girl Ava had grown up with. She was, hands down, the largest threat to Unit 64 in current existence. She was nothing more than a rebel now, just another beast wanting to prey on innocent people. Donaven deserved the same fate as every other piece of trash that she routinely brought in. With her moral dilemma solved, Ava returned her attention to the screen and began to study the file.

Since Ava’s last encounter with Donavan, it had been confirmed she had grown powerful enough to wear the title “Arch Druid.” She was the most powerful magic user in the Resistance. Her power was elemental in nature and she was able to make connections with anything that had a life force. She was also creative in how she used it. She had undergone training to help master it. The notes of her instructors had been provided.

Donavan’s combat training was just as extensive, if not more so, than Ava’s. The same could be said about her education. She was an expert in human and most alien anatomy, medical treatment and technology, biotechnology, computer programming, hacking and engineering. She had been built to be an untraceable ghost, completely capable of functioning independently.

A detailed and complete list of all attacks made against the Unit involving Donavan was also included. Each attack had been broken down and came with surveillance of combat situation, archives of the algorithms she used to hack into the Unit’s mainframe and her most common targets.

The most recent strike had been fifty-eight hours ago. Donavan had uploaded a virus into a data storage facility in the Northern Quadrant. Computer scientists were still trying to find and stop the virus. It was unknown if anything had been stolen. Ava would be notified the minute the scientists had more information. Ava knew Kria wouldn’t have wasted her time just uploading an annoying virus into the system. She was using it to cover her tracks and hide what she was interested in. Even knowing that, Ava was forced to wait for the scientists. It was irritating to know another attack was coming but she had no idea where or when.

As she continued reading, Ava began to run numbers in the back of her mind. It appeared Donavan had been successful in making enough sabotages and prison raids to almost nullify all the work Ava had been doing to bring the rebels to justice. The research laboratories were running low on experimental material and the prisons were no more full than they had been prior to Ava’s initiation into the field. She began to share the Admiral’s frustration. Kira was everything they had hoped for, except she was working for the enemy.

After several hours of studying, Ava finally shut down her console. She had the rest of the week to memorize the file and she needed a shower, food, and rest. She walked to the bathroom and stripped down, taking a look in the mirror. She was 5’11” and 160 pounds of solid muscle. She had four inches and fifteen pounds on Donavan. She could run, life, hit, and shoot just as well, if not better, than any of the men in the Unit. Her body reflected it. Her skin was naturally tan and her shoulder length blonde hair was always kept in a sleek, practical pony tail. She never had problems attracting company, but she preferred the short term, female kind.

As she looked at herself, she genuinely questioned whether she had the ability to complete the mission. She was required to bring the arch druid back alive. Given Donavan’s skill set and magical ability, Ava wasn’t sure she could keep up. It was the first time she ever had a doubt about a mission. Donavan had been trained as an agent. Soldiers with the potential to be agents were few and far between. With Jakobs and Veren gone, there were only thirteen of them left in all of Unit 64. Ava was the best out of all of them. She was the only one even remotely capable of getting the job done. It did nothing to boost her confidence, but she knew she couldn’t back down. If left unchecked, Donavan was capable of taking Unit 64 down. She just needed the right resources.

Ava was suddenly grateful for a week with Dr. Evans. It would be a disturbing and, all around unpleasant, experience, but she would need it. She had a gut feeling taking down Donavan would come down to whether or not she could break through the woman’s incredibly thick shielding. She knew Donavan had powerful emotions. Ava had felt them from time to time during their training, but Kira’s ability to shield was so formidable she may as well have a heart of stone. Dr. Evans helped train soldiers in mental combat. Ava could use all the help she could get.

She looked away from the doubts in the mirror. They were counter productive. While it was good to have a realistic view of the mission, doubting herself would only cause her to hesitate when it was time to strike. There would be precious few chances with Donavan and Ava didn’t intend to waste them. From looking through the attack reports, Donavan didn’t waste her opportunities, either.

She showered quickly and ate a light meal packed with the protein and nutrition her body had used during the day. As she moved through the kitchen, she brought as many memories of Donavan to mind as she could recall. She had no idea how she was going to break through those shields. Some of Kira’s skill had come from constantly sparring with Ava. Kira was well versed in combat with an empath. Ava would need every little detail she could muster if she hoped to reach the core of the woman’s heart.

When Ava laid down to rest, she tried to come to terms with the personal feelings the memories brought. They were destructive to the mission, so Ava needed to sort through them before it started. All the other rebels she had captured were just enemies, dangers that needed to be stopped. Kira was different. She had been a good soldier. She worked hard, protected her teammates and did what was best for the Unit and the human race. Growing up, Ava had never felt closer to another person. Even now, there were more memories that made her smile than ones that made her angry. She had always wondered what drove Kira to defect. Perhaps now, seven years later, she’d finally get her chance.

Ava knew she could separate business from personal. She searched for the middle ground between too much and not enough confidence. Realistically, Donavan would be almost impossible to capture alive. But “almost” was the key word. She was not invulnerable. Ava knew better than most. She had never failed in a mission and she didn’t intend to start now. But as she drifted off to sleep, she was plagued by dreams where those shimmering, penetrating emerald eyes hunted her through dark forests of a planet she didn’t recognize. It left her with such a strong feeing of being exposed that she woke several times in the night with cold sweat dancing along her skin.

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Old 11-12-2013, 11:24 AM   #24
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I rarely write straight up smut...but something motivated me...its alright, I suppose. I kind of like it, so I'll keep it here.

The room was full of flickering shadows, lit only by the light of a few candles tucked in small, scattered nooks. Though I enjoy music, there will be none tonight. Right now, the silence is perfect. When it finally breaks, it's not music I want to hear. Tonight, I feel like being picky. So, I will be.

She's standing in the middle of the room...waiting. Because I told her to. She listens. Not in that superficial way most people do. The "uh huh, sure." and nod while playing on a phone. She hears me. She listens and acts because she chooses to. It rocks me every time I see it. I hadn't instructed her to be naked, but she heard me and knew it’s what I wanted.

She had known when I walked in, even though I was quiet. She jerked a bit. The muscles in her back had twitched. That was ten minutes ago. I took my time, wanting to just look at her. Okay, maybe I wanted to make her wait, too. I enjoy making her think, making her wonder. Her unspoken questions echo in the silence between us. So, for those few long minutes, I stood there, enjoyed the side benefits, and studied every detail of the back facing me.

Her skin is pale. Not the sickly kind, but the kind that makes you think of alabaster. A canvas. My canvas. She's mine in every way. The thought alone is enough to tempt me to make her scream it now, but that's for later. I don't want to rush tonight. I only need two tools and each was already on my person.

I quietly slip out of my shoes and socks. My shirt and bra follow. I leave my jeans, though. I want her to feel my skin. I want to feel hers, too, but I also want to remind her that she's naked and I'm not. She's vulnerable and I'm not. I'm top. She's bottom. We both like it that way.

I step up behind her, my breasts to her back, my head over her shoulder, cheek brushing hers. I can feel her relief. Being the center of attention makes her nervous. It's something I both exploit and protect her from. Tonight, I liked it. I liked the way the tension melted out of her shoulders, the way she leaned back into me. My fingertips danced lightly up her arm, lingering at her wrist, the inside of her elbow, bringing goose bumps to the surface. My nail drags along her collar bone, the pads of my fingers feel the slow, steady beat of her pulse. Finally, my fingers dive into her soft locks, twist, and yank her head sharply back and to the side.

A surprised, pleasured gasp leaves her lips and it’s almost enough to make me shiver. But I'm in control. Of myself. Of her. She pleasures me in ways I can't describe, but she will only know that when I choose to let her. I watch as the simple hair pull starts to shove her deeper into the head space I want her in. She goes there so easily. It's this intoxicating switch I can flick whenever I please. I want her deeper. I want her world to be me. I want her head to be filled with thoughts I put there, not the bull shit garbage that usually plagues her daily. She hides it well, but not from me. I want it gone. Tonight, she’ll be free.

My free hand slips to my belt and pulls the sharpest of my spring assisted blades free. I want the hard edge tonight. I want the challenge of knowing if I slip once, I will harm what is precious to me. I want the beauty, the steel, the danger. I want her. What can I say? I'm fucking greedy.

I squeeze my hand in her hair a bit tighter; force her head back just a little farther. Her eyes go heavy and drift shut. So, I finally bring the blade close to her ear. A simple flick and a resounding "click" fills the silent room as the blade locks into place. Her ears twitch. She shivers. She knows that sound. It's been driven into her psyche by now. I know she's already wet...and the knowledge does the same to me.

I spin the blade in my hand quickly and press the non-sharp edge against her throat. The silver, clean blade shimmers against her skin. Her life is in my hands. She trusts me with it. She trusts my hand won't slip, or that the spin move I've practiced a million times doesn't fail, which would put the sharp edge to her neck instead of the safe side. She freezes beneath me. All of the little muscle movements stop. Her breath holds. Her skin heats. Mine matches it. She knows her movement can make me slip, just as I know forcing her to be still intensifies...everything. She's such a good little knife slut.

I hold the blade there for several moments, pressing it back into her skin. Just to set the tone. But I pull it away eventually and press the tip to her now racing pulse. She gasps, but she stays still for me. I drag the point of the blade down, following the curve of her pulse. A pleasured whimper escapes her and I drink it down. She'll make more before I'm done. I’m thirsty.

The tip of the knife continues to fall, a thin but prominent crimson trail marking my path. With how sharp this blade is, I don't have to press hard. The weight of the knife will do all the work. The soft flesh of her breast caves in just slightly as my knife moves over it, the tip finally finding its home at her nipple. Her hands snake back and twist into my jeans, making sure I don't leave her. I wouldn't dream of it, but I like that she clings. I step closer, skin to skin, making sure she feels more of my presence, before I twist the knife back and forth, driving the tip into her nipple. It hardens. Instantly. Gives me resistance. It makes me smile. It makes her stiffen and suck in a breath.

The one crimson line isn't enough. I need more. My knife moves. Tip only. Sharp side up and away from her skin. She's not bound tonight, so sharp side down isn't an option. But that's okay. I want her free to move. I want it to be my authority and her will that bind her. A crimson line forms across her chest to her other nipple, where I make her whimper for me again. I pull her head in the opposite direction and trail my knife back up her throat. My breath dances across her ear as I tell her to release me. She does, but I can tell she doesn't want to.

I move around to the front of her, staying close. The blade leaves her throat, but it's replaced by my hand. I squeeze just a bit, smiling when I feel her pulse jump. Her gaze opens slowly, but the only thing for her to see is me. My eyes lock with hers...and I drown in them. I lose myself in her every time our eyes meet. A piece of me spills into her and I'll never get it back. It's okay. I take pieces of her, too.

I raise the blade and press the flat of it against her lips. Her submissive head space gives her a strange kind of confidence she doesn't usually carry. She presses her lips back against it, kissing it because she knows I'll smile. I do. I can't help it. I raise the blade and smack her cheek lightly with the flat of it, reminding her I'm the one holding it. Her smile remains...until I trace the outside of her lips with the tip. Her lips part. It’s an invitation I’m unable to resist. I move the blade and lean in to taste them. But I don't linger long. I still have the rest of her body to explore.

I let the blade travel down between her breasts down her stomach, where I trace patterns of crimson just to watch her fight to stand still. Suddenly, I want to see her fail...

I move around behind her and kneel down. I press the tip of the blade into her leg, high up on her thigh, just beneath her fantastic ass. I press harder. Not hard enough to make her bleed, but the scratch I'm about to leave will still be there tomorrow. I drag the blade down, inch by inch, curving so I hit the inside of her thigh and then back around to the back of her knee. That's where I get her. She suddenly shifts her weight to her other leg, clenches her fists, and exhales sharply as her body shakes.

I knew it was going to happen. She squirms every time I hit the back of her knees. I compensate. I move the blade with her body instead of trying to force her body to follow the way I want. The latter will cause bleeding I didn't intend. I'm not into that. If she’s going to bleed, it’s because I want to see it. The scratch goes all the way to her ankle. But I don't let her rest. I give her other leg the same treatment, but I start at the ankle and rise to her butt. She dances for me, but I smack her ass with the flat of the blade and she stills. She shivers, though...and I can smell her arousal. I see it, glistening down her thighs. It makes me want her, more than I already do. But I'm not done yet.

I rise, trace the tip over her butt, leaving pretty, raised marks. I move up to her back, making it a beautiful network of crimson. She mostly stayed still, but she couldn't keep from squirming as I increased the intensity and took away her breaks. She whimpered and moaned, arched her back and cried out. With each movement, each mark and sound, I want more. And she wants to give it to me.

Finally, I can't take it anymore. But I want one more thing. I walk around to the front of her, press the tip of my blade into her chest and scratch the word "MINE" hard into her skin. She still didn't bleed, but for several days, when she looked in the mirror, she'd see it. So would I.

She looked at me and I could see her need. Her chest rose and fell fast. She bit her bottom lip. She wanted to ask me. To beg. But she's shy and tonight I find myself lacking the patience to make her voice it. Besides, she'll scream louder if I do what I really want to do, anyway. I finally close the blade and pocket it. I grab her by the hair and drag her to the bed. Drag is a loose term. She greedily keeps up with me.

Once we get to the bed, I bend her over the side and shove her face into the mattress. She moans and I grin, knowing I'm as soaked as she is. She has no idea how sexy she is. All the marks, her body, how she can't hide what the force does to her...I'm drunk with her and, still, I want more.

I unzip my jeans and kick them off. I had my harness on under the jeans. She had felt it every time I was close to her. All part of the game...I slip a condom on it, position her...and then, with one powerful thrust, I'm inside her...and I'll take her until the word on her chest marks me as much as it does her...

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Old 06-04-2014, 07:14 PM   #25
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This is the opener of an RP where my co-writer left. Been thinking about it lately and I still really like the concept....so, I'm dumping it here to remind me of it later...and maybe to search for a partner for it.

The rain had gone from a light drizzle to a full down pour when the sun faded from the sky, replaced by the shadowed light of the moon and the artificial, colored luminescence of Seattle. The helicopter's engines roared around her, but she was so used to the muffled sound that it was easy to filter out. Her ears were protected by a special headset that had a built in radio. The constant chatter between her and the hospital control tower as she approached the landing pad was almost automatic. Her windshield wipers constantly flung water out of her field of vision. Navigating through the endless rain drops was always a challenge, but Kylie Haynes had flown through much worse. Once she got cleared for landing, she set the helicopter down on the hospital roof.

She turned and looked back at the personnel in the cargo hold. "All clear!"

The medical team shoved the bay door open and filed out into the rain with the patient on a stretcher. They ran to the open sky doors where a team of hospital professionals were already waiting. Just like that, the patient was out of Kylie's hands. Earlier that morning, there had been a massive boating accident including a ferry and several smaller, personal water vehicles on Lake Washington. Kylie had been flying patients for hours, having started while the sun was up. Her most recent patient had been a teenage girl that had fallen from the ferry into the motor of another boat. She hadn't been found until two hours ago. Kylie was a trained medical rescuer. She knew the girl's prognosis was bleak, but Kylie had gotten her to the hospital alive. She had given girl had a shot at life. It almost made up for the two who had died in transport earlier that day...Almost...Not really.

"Mason to Valkyrie. Over," shot through her headset, bringing her out of her thoughts as she watched the hospital doors close behind the medical team.

"Valkyrie here. Over," she replied.

"Back to base, Valk. You're pushing sixteen hours of flight time. You know the rules. Tyler is already in the air to replace you. Over."

Kylie scowled out at the rain. He was right. She could feel the fatigue driving a spike in the back of her mind. Her muscles were stiff. Her neck wanted to crack, and her eyes were gritty. But none of that was stronger than the need to finish the job, to make up for the lives lost, despite knowing no amount of work on her part would bring those people back. It was a dangerous feeling, she knew. She was fresh out of the military. More soldiers had died in the back of her chopper than she cared to admit. Her heart had broken a little bit with each one. She mended tiny fractures every day, over and over again. She knew she wouldn't be able to change that about herself just because the people she hauled now were civilians. If anything, it would be worse. Her patients hadn't knowingly put themselves in the line of fire.

What did sober her was the knowledge that she would do more harm than good flying with that many hours under her belt. Mason was also her boss, the equivalent of her commanding officer. She wouldn't refuse a direct order, especially when another pilot was already heading to the scene. She sighed and resigned herself to the fact that she was done for the night.

"Copy that. Valkyrie incoming to base. ETA, ten minutes. Over."

"Confirmed. See you soon. Over," Mason replied.

Kylie unbuckled her safety harness and crawled back into her cargo hold to close and lock the bay door. Once back in the cockpit and strapped in, she got clearance for take off from the hospital. She brought her engines off standby and lifted the helicopter up to dance with the heavy drops invading her night sky. Within ten minutes, she was landing in the air yard of Rescue Transport Services, guided by the bright lights flaring out from the large private lot. Her company serviced most of the hospitals in Seattle and the surrounding area. Though Kylie had only been with them for two weeks, she had spent almost no time on the ground. Mason had put her skills to the test immediately. She was thankful she could back up the words on her resume, and that she had the ability to go long periods of time without sleep. The pay was already three times what she made in the military.

She used her radio to check her helicopter into the base office and then signed off for the night. She ran her post flight equipment check and recorded it into the log book, scribbling her name at the bottom of the sheet. She checked for missing supplies and noted which ones needed to be restocked in the maintenance log. She finished her patient paperwork on the helicopter's computer and submitted them to the office through the internet before shutting the helicopter down completely. She pulled off the headset and set it aside, leaning back in the chair and closing her eyes. She inhaled through her nose, slowly letting it all out through parted lips. She did what she could to let the stress of the day go, to leave the negativity in the chopper. But tonight, she knew it wouldn't be enough. It would follow her out of that helicopter. She needed to drown, to be numb. She wanted to forget the day until she wasn't bleeding all over her seat. She rubbed her eyes for a moment before opening up the door and slipping out into the rain.

It was a short jog to the warehouse, but she was still soaked all the way through her flight suit by the time she got inside. The part of the warehouse that was connected to the air field was a huge garage, filled with vehicles in need of repair and the tools to do so. There were helicopter engines, trucks, medical equipment, and part of a small plane resting beneath the protection of the building. There was a door on the far end of the garage that led into the locker rooms, offices, and sleeping quarters for over night calls. Kylie shook some of the access rain off, wiping it off her face just as Mason walked up to her, tucking a greasy wrench in his back pocket.

He was tall and hard, the way most career rescuers were. He worked and his body reflected it, even in his late forties. His eyes were a piercing gray and a peppered but trimmed beard covered his chin. He had seen his share of death. Kylie could see it. There was a certain quality a person gained in their gaze once they hit a certain point. In Kylie's experience, it was mostly soldiers and anyone who had seen war and terror first hand that possessed it. But certain career choices, even in the civilian sector, could give a man that quality.

"Great work today, Valk. You flew with more efficiency than any of my other pilots. You've been here less than a month and you're already making yourself invaluable. I'm impressed," he said, studying her with an eye that, she was learning, saw way too much.

"I wouldn't say great, boss, but thank you. I'm not afraid of hard work and I hope to keep it up," she replied, squeezing the water out of obsidian locks restrained in a ponytail, pulled out of her face and out of her way.

Mason narrowed his gaze. "How many patients did you fly today?"

Already knowing where the question would lead, she sighed. "Twelve."

"And how many died in transport?"

"Two, boss."

"I haven't known you long, but I've seen enough to know your military reputation is well deserved. You save more than you lose, Valkyrie. Don't forget it."

"I don't, boss," she replied, but knew it was a lie. Death always shrouded the living.

"You have the rest of the weekend off. You worked hard and I don't need an exhausted pilot on call. Hit the showers, Haynes, and go home," he replied before turning back to tinker with a dismantled truck engine.

The time off was unexpected, but Kylie was grateful for it. She had been back in the States all of three weeks. She had no family left and her belongings included only what she had brought with her over seas when her rotation began. Her apartment was, at best, sparse. With her paycheck freshly in her account, she could use some furniture and possibly kitchen plates and utensils. But going home to her empty, vacant apartment alone wasn't appealing. The bed she planned on sleeping in wasn't going to be her current sleeping bag on the floor. She checked her watch, noting it was a quarter to midnight. She had heard of a club called "Pulse" in the downtown area. It would have everything she wanted for the night. Alcohol, women, and possibly food. She had no real priority of which was first, as long as the night ended with a woman above her, beneath her, tangled around her screaming or making her scream. It was still early enough that the crowd would be decent. With a plan set to block out what the day had brought her, she headed for the locker room.

She had a spare change of clothes in her locker. It was just blue jeans and a fitted black tank top, but it would do fine at a club. She had no intention of going home first and Kylie never struggled to find company when she desired it. It was even easier now that she didn't have to hide. Having been stripped of modesty in the Air Force, she stripped out of her soaked flight suit and tossed it down the laundry shoot. She was thankful the flight suits were handled by the company. Her apartment was equipped with a washer and dryer, but she hadn't spend much time at home to wash clothes. She stripped out of her underwear and bra as well, but she didn't subject her co-workers to cleaning those. She tossed them in the bottom of her locker.

She wasn't a tall woman, but she wasn't overly short either. She was comfortable with her 5'6" compact frame. She was fit, deceptively strong. Around each toned bicep was a tribal band tattoo, done in jet black ink that matched her hair. Across lean back was a large, beautifully done tattoo of metallic wings. The feathers were made of blades, connected to the wings through mechanical joints that had a slight steam punk influence. Her spine and two inches on either side of it was the only portion of her back not decorated in realistic art.

She was proud of that tattoo. It had been drawn especially for her by a soldier who she had taken a bullet for while she helped him struggle to get into her chopper. He had been holding his organs in his body with his hands. The evidence rested in the obvious gun shot scar along her lower right abdomen. Another marked her left shoulder. Kylie had earned the nickname Valkyrie from the soldiers she brought back who lived. She had become a symbol of Odin's battle maidens, that went out to war and decided who was worthy to enter Odin's kingdom. Her skills and her willingness to see patients on her down time had given her the reputation of deciding who lived and who died. She wasn't entirely sure she ever agreed with the latter, but if she could help the wounded get better, she would.

She was beautiful. She knew it. Her eyes were a rich, chocolate. Her skin was naturally tanned, her features carrying traces of her Hawaiian roots. Raven tresses spilled a little past her shoulders, straight as rain. A simple surgical stainless steel ring was pushed through her right nipple, a matching steel curved bar nestled into her belly button. Naked, she grabbed a towel and jumped into a hot spray, letting the heat sink into her bones in an attempt to help wash away the day.

She didn't take long, wanting to be out of work and into a club where the music was loud and the women were beautiful. She dried quickly, pulling on fresh black bikini style underwear and a matching sports bra. Blue jeans slid over lean thighs and clung to narrow hips. The tank top slid over her head, leaving parts of her wings open to be seen. She ran a brush quickly through her damp locks and pulled on her leather jacket. Black combat boots covered her feet as she slid her keys and her wallet into her pockets. She headed out into the rain, jogging to her jeep.

She had purchased the jeep a few days after rotating back to the States. It was a fully loaded soft top, complete with a working wench on the front. It was suited for any of the outdoor hobbies she enjoyed. She was fairly certain she paid too much for it, but it had been love at first sight and was the first thing Kylie had bought for herself in years. Twenty minutes later, she walked into Pulse. Industrial music slid into her, the mixture of electronic and heavy metal suiting an atmosphere, Kylie could already tell, was dark. But dark and dangerous were what she was looking for, so she paid the cover charge, flashed her ID, and made her way into the depths of the club. She passed her coat off to the coat check, noticing the club was packed, even for a Friday night. There were bodies everywhere, filling the dance floor, the social areas and crowding the bar. With nothing but a few shots of tequila on her mind, Kylie started to push her way through the crowd as politely as she could. But once she pushed deeper in, she paused, her thoughts of alcohol falling to the back of her mind.

There were metallic angels all around the club, roped off and on display. They were gorgeous, raw, and unapologetic. Their wings were mechanical and moved in time with the music. It was more than enough to draw Kylie to the closest one to her. It was welded art. A small card in front of the display informed her the club was showcasing an artist's work that night. She raised her gaze back to the angel, taking in the entire piece. She knew the amount of work that went into metal working. Creating something beautiful, something soft but steel, powerful but vulnerable, required a rare talent and vision. With the thoughts of her day already pushed aside, Kylie let the music flow through her and she slowly made her way from angel to angel.

She liked that most of the club's patrons must have already seen the presentation of the art. There were not many hanging around the pieces, so it left Kylie free to move around them, to see them from all angles and appreciate the work. She ran her fingers through still damp locks, pushing them out of her face as she lingered over one of the angels a little longer than the others. A soft smile tugged at the corners of her lips. Something about the work spoke to her. She crossed her toned, bare arms across her chest, the flashing, colored light of the club draping over her. The wings of her tattoo peeked out at the many onlookers that took notice of her. She didn't realize it, enthralled with the art, but she was a vision. A real life representation of the metallic warrior angel before her.

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