NATION

PASSWORD

The Bleeding Frontier [FT][Closed][Maintenance]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

The Bleeding Frontier [FT][Closed][Maintenance]

Postby Lady Scylla » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:13 am

This thread depicts stories of events that are occurring or have occurred within the Scyllan Syndicate. Notably ones that explore important characters or themes that represent the Syndicate's inner-workings. Because of this, stories, their characters, and their impact on the Scyllan Syndicate might be trivial and insignificant, or be quite the contrary. Characters explored and developed through-out this thread may or may not be major characters, but regardless are all apart of the Scyllan Syndicate's canon.

Many stories might have italicised text that divide major parts of a story to display a definite transition, and are intended to be read as narration of a notable character, often reflecting on the story. Furthermore, stories that may be graphic have been marked with a bolded [Mature] tag at the top of their headings. Within the Table of Contents, these same stories will be marked with an asterisk (*). All posts here are in-Character, and while the stories presented here will typically be of my own work, collaborations with other FT RPers and their maintenance threads may occur; in which case said collaborations will have a link to their respective stories. If you wish to collaborate with me, feel free to send me a TG.


Last edited by Lady Scylla on Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:16 am, edited 8 times in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:10 pm

[Mature]

Image
The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


Murderers, Brigands, Thieves, Assassins...

The alleyway was a dimly lit chasm that cut through the buildings like a jagged sword. The mist from a burst pipe far above had shorted out much of the lights which flickered nervously at the approach of a slim figure. With the moistened stones shimmering against heavy steps, and the steam from the nearby sewage grates masking the tall silhouette; the spectre emerged from the shadows of this remote corridor and headed for a door.

Smugglers, Extortioners, Mercenaries, Bureaucrats...

From beyond the door were the sounds of pleas and laughter. Drunken babble lingered along the air like a noxious stench that intoxicated the weary, and mortified the ignorant. The figure extended a gloved hand, and gently gripped the doorknob. The other hand pulled from their coat, the silver glimmer of a reaper's masterpiece, and carefully pulled the hammer back. As the sounds of fleshy impacts followed from beyond the door, the silent alley was disturbed by the wrenching of leather gloves as the figure's grip tightened.

Thugs, Bounty-Hunters, Kingpins, and Deadmen...

For a moment, the world stood still with anticipation. The drops of water were as subtle as the figure's footsteps, and as deafening as their silence. The door was slid open revealing a room of three men and a beaten woman. As the breeze held its breath against the stench of alcohol, drugs, and the drunken testosterone drowning the room; the faces of men were lit with surprise and the powdery flash of their retribution as several rounds rang out. Their bodies jerked as red splashes rained against the wall in a fine mist. One fell over the couch, another slowly slid down the wall, and the final dropped to their knees and reached for the figure before falling before their feet.

The woman screamed and cowered into a corner as the assassin kicked the man on the floor then peered at her. As her screaming subsided, a long pause followed as the two stared among the smoke. His finger twitched along the trigger with the gun still raised, as she glanced away, she awaited what was sure to be her turn. Instead, when she had opened her eyes again, the assassin had slipped the weapon back into their holster.

"Are you alright?" the figure asked as they pulled their hat off, revealing the face of a young man. He ran his fingers through his thinning hair, and momentarily glanced at the bodies. "Sorry you had to see that, then again you might be rather glad," he commented as he started to search them. She gazed at him confused as he pulled guns from the men, tossing them aside with their magazines ejected, and then rummaged their pockets for wallets. He opened and checked each one, then pocketed them into his pants before looking back to the woman.

"C'mere," he leaned over with a hand as she hesitated to take it. "If I was going to hurt you, you'd be joining these piles of trash," he reassured her. She took his hand finally as he pulled her up, and then removed his coat to cover her. "Now listen here, I've a friend of mine waiting at the end of the alley with a car. He's going to take good care of you, get you cleaned up, and then take you to an associate of mine. They'll give you something -- an incentive of the credit variety -- to forget about this mess, and set you up in one of the nicer neighbourhoods. Now get outta here."

She was still quite dazed as she watched him speak. She gripped the coat tightly, not sure what to make of any of it. As she nodded, and moved around him, she felt sick looking at the three men and could feel the vomit lingering just beneath the surface as she headed for the door. When she reached the doorway, she was hit with the fresh scent of rain as it began to drizzle, and glanced back at the man who had started to pile the dead onto one another.

"Thank you."

Life, Laughter, Death, and Solace...

"Don't mention it, now hurry it up, car's running and we've got work to do," the man waved her off. As she faded from the doorway into the alley, and the sounds of her fleshy footsteps against the pavement dissipated into obscurity, the man stopped and gazed at the door. There was a long moment of silence now as his glance dimmed and he let out a painful sigh. He closed his eyes and tightened his fists as the sounds of several gunshots rang out from the alleyway. As he opened them again, the drizzle had thickened as water started to flood into the small room along the doorway.

He shook his head, then started to drag the men out into the alley. By now, several more men had showed up, along with a van that had started backing down the narrow corridor with its doors open. They pulled the men up, and threw them into the back as another entered the room with several cans of gasoline. One approached them, carrying the slim man's coat. The man shook his head as the guy shrugged, and tossed the coat into the room. As the one carrying the cans of gasoline emerged, they all took a moment to light their smokes.

"Gotta let it soak before we set it off," the gascan guy said as he leaned against the wall.

The assassin rested against the bumper now, the rain dripping from the brim of his hat and soaking his suspenders. His eyes were fixated on the distant mound lying at the other end of the alleyway. He rolled his cigarette between his teeth, and took a long drag on it as the cherry burned bright and illuminated the jagged features of his face.

"Any idea who these fucks were?" one man questioned as the assassin pulled out their wallets and handed them over.

"One of ours, specifically Ronald's boys, low-league grunts," he said.

"Shiiit, again? That's the third fucking time!," the man looked at their IDs and dug through their wallet, pocketing the cash for himself. "Sure as hell, they're Ronald's boys. God dammit!" The others were also in disbelief as they passed the wallets around, meanwhile the assassin still stared down the alleyway. He finally slid from the bumper, and took a few final puffs of his cigarette before tossing it into the room. A flash followed, and flames engulfed the small area as smoke billowed into the alley.

"The Boss is going to want their heads, and I don't see this going well for Ronald, either," one commented before they all stopped to stare at the ensuing fire.

It was time to leave now as several piled into the van, with one jumping in the back. The assassin didn't join them, he stood in the rain as the man in the back stopped for a moment, "Hey, Jimmy, go get yourself a drink. You've done a good day's work, take a few off, consider it-uh-a vacation!" the man suggested and then shut the doors as the van sped away. Jimmy nodded for a moment, and then headed down the alley towards the slumped figure.

As he neared the end, a car was waiting with another man resting against the trunk. "Hey there, all ready to go?" the man asked as he rose from the car and gave the body a passive glance. Jimmy stopped and looked down at the woman, she was curled up into a ball where she had bounded over during her fall and eaten the pavement. She had rich auburn hair, and the small flashes of circuits where the rain met the tears in her back showed that she had prosthetic organs -- she wasn't completely a cyborg though, and most likely had received some synthetic organs because of an illness.

The other man stopped by the driver's door and peered back as Jimmy knelt beside her. "Shame about them muggers..." the man said, approaching Jimmy as he brushed the woman's hair from her face. Her azure eyes were oblivious now to the subtle splashes of rain, and the cancer of the world around them.

"Not today," Jimmy said as he gently rolled her over, and picked her up. The man shook his head, something along the lines of "Jesus, Jimmy" in protest, but complied nonetheless and headed for the trunk. "No," Jimmy said. The man stopped, raising his hands, and then headed for the back door of the sedan and opened it. She was slipped inside as Jimmy closed her eyes, and they both entered the car before driving off.

Silence...

The wind was gentle as it swept across the sun baked rolling hills of green. The rusted and darkened gate creaked against the breeze, as they both sung in harmony among the pillars of stone. In the centre of this large enclosure was a tall and slim figure standing before one of these lonesome yet accompanied stones. In his hand was a bouquet of vibrantly coloured and fully bloomed flowers, wrapped and tied neatly with a velvet bow.

He stood there for a long time with his eyes fixated on the inscribed words of the stone, as if they and the breeze were whispering a story to him. And he listened intently in the passive silence, and as the shadows crept against his boots, he knelt down by the stone and rested the flowers before it. He patted the pillar for a moment, a painful sigh escaping his lips before standing and walking away. He left the metal enclosure, where he was met with a car and familiar man.

The stone where he had placed the flowers was now darkened by the shadows of the setting sun. The breeze had calmed now, but still rocked the flowers against its face, where the words inscribed read Arianna Morgan. Among these flowers were the rotten and withered remains of others, all done in the same fashion, tightly and neatly wrapped with a velvet bow.

As the car pulled away, Jimmy looked out at the fading greens that flooded the hills. His hair was grey now, with his face weathered and scarred. He had sagging circles beneath his eyes, and wrinkled cheeks. "Shame what happened to Ronald, eh Jimmy?" the man asked. Jimmy nodded for a moment, drew on his cigarette, and then sighed. "Bastard had it coming."

Retribution...

The night was thick with the humid stench of ocean spray and industry. The salty taste that followed the breeze left mouths dry as the humid air teased them for a drink. A large warehouse was nestled on the side of the docks -- its lights dim from bad maintenance -- with two imposing looking men standing by one of the doors. Inside were the muffled screams of a man tied to a chair, surrounded by more imposing figures, and one directly in front of him who liberally delivered an aperitif.

As he spit blood on the floor, he pleaded with the gentleman to stop. This was only met with another strong punch to the abdomen, causing the man to cough and groan. His face was swollen, with one side filled with fluid and discoloured. His previously white shirt was now a soaked red and grey that stuck to his skin like a wetsuit. A few more punches, and the man was in a complete daze as he rolled along the chair, his head bobbing and swaying from side to side.

"D'you know what these words mean?" a voice asked. Those standing around watching the charade suddenly went serious as a figure approached behind the gentleman dealing out punishment, who obscured the tied man's view. The man blinked several times as blood dripped from his split lip. "That's good Geoff, I think he's had enough now," the voice said as the gentleman nodded and stepped aside revealing the figure.

"Did you hear me, Ronald?"

Ronald took in several breaths, each one sending sharp pains that dug through to his back. His eyes were lazy, their gaze dangling over the floor. As he started to recover, he peered up towards the figure; it was a woman dressed in a black dress that hugged her physique, and was cut just where it met her knees. As his eyes slowly followed her body up to her face, there was the messy green hair, and a stoic face if he had ever seen one. She held a cane in her hands, as she waited for an answer patiently.

Ronald laughed, spitting out more blood and chuckled again though his breathing was laboured. "A woman..." he remarked, "The Chancellery letting a bunch o' bitches do their dirty work now, eh?" He grinned and licked his busted lip for a moment before adjusting in his chair. He looked at her more directly now, and cocked his head, "I've got nothin' to say to you cunt, now run along and let the men play," he chuckled, though none of the others around him laughed. Instead, they all slowly moved back a bit further leaving the woman and Ronald in the middle of them.

The woman wasn't phased by his remarks, she still stood there silent watching him, though a subtle grin crept along her lips. "You call all the women you meet such things?" she said with a smirk as she started to walk around him now. Her vibrant green eyes taking a good look over him, notably his injuries. His clothes were ripped and blood-stained from the beating Geoff had done. She flashed Geoff a glance for his good work as she continued to hold the cane.

"Don't feel so special love," Ronald laughed, "We all know why I'm tied to this chair, you can't handle a real man."

The woman nodded as she stopped behind him. Ronald shook his head as he made a ticking noise, a cat call towards her and then laughed more. "Aw, what's the matter, did I hurt your feelings? Gon' run back to your bleedin' pimp now and let him take care of me?" He rolled his tongue between his teeth and leaned against the back of the chair as he became more comfortable. His eyes widened as she reached around him, the sound of sliding metal had taken him by surprise as a sword was swiftly plunged into his thigh. Her nails dug into his scalp as she pulled his head back, and pressed her face to his cheek.

"Gah! You fuckin' bitch! If I wasn't tied to this fuckin' chair I'd cut ya!" he shouted in pain as he tried to fight her grip. The woman laughed as she twisted the sword and he screamed more, her nails digging into his scalp.

"What was that about needing my pimp? I am the pimp. What's the matter, Ronald? Someone gone and hurt your leg? Wow, that's a damn shame! Tied? Oh, you're not tied, oh no," she laughed, and released him as she flew back. He breathed fast and hard as the sword was pulled from his leg and felt the rope slide down his arms, she had cut his binds.

"I'm going to kill you, you fuckin' bitch," he growled, his slobber spraying everywhere as he fell from the chair then stumbled to his feet. They were now staring at each other, just a few meters apart, she with her cane sword dangling between her fingers as she grinned widely at him. She reached up and brushed the blood from her cheek where it had rubbed off from him, and looked at it for a moment.

"Y'know the rules, Ronald. Three times we had to clean up the mess your goons created, three times we put a bullet in people that didn't deserve such a thing. All because you and your ilk decided to break the code and be a bunch of pigs."

The man was slightly bent over, mostly towards the leg she had injured as he held his side and continued to breath harshly. His eyes were fixated on her, a raging fire burning in them as the drops of sweat ran down and across his brow. "There are no fuckin' rules," he said, his eyes shifting to the men around them, who hadn't moved a muscle for several minutes. "This how it's gonna play out, gonna act all tough their kitten, and when you can't handle me, one of your goons gonna finish me off? I betcha pay them a lot to keep quiet," he grinned.

The woman smirked again, still dangling the sword between her fingers, letting it sway back and forth like the pendulum of a clock. "I can handle myself just fine," she replied as he wiped his face. "Tell ya what," she said, holding her arms out, the sword still dangling about as she spoke, "You beat me, you get to walk out of here a free man. Not only, but you get to have me as well, how's that sound?"

Ronald laughed, his voice had grown raspy now as he spit more blood out. "Sounds like a deal, I know exactly what to do with you, gon' whore you out for the shit you done to me leg," he said. She nodded and lowered her arms, then made a 'come at me' gesture with her fingers. He straightened himself up, his eyes carefully watching the sword as he walked towards the chair and picked it up. She didn't move, letting him examine the wood as he grinned and gripped it tightly.

A long pause followed, as water could be heard dripping at one end of the warehouse. His foot shifted, and he lunged for her, a chair ready to block the sword as she continued to stand still. As he closed the gap in a matter of seconds, she brought the sword behind her back, stepped to the side and hooked his ankle. He tripped and rolled, crashing to the floor as she took a few steps back, and then dangled the sword between her fingers again.

As he recovered again, and growled towards her. "Got a bag of tricks huh?" He threw the chair at her, as she brought the sword up and blocked it. He ran up behind it, and just as the wood made contact with the blade, his fist came around and made contact with her face. She went sideways and hit the floor as the chair and sword slid across the concrete beside them. He laughed now as she rose from the floor, and brushed her cheek. "What's the matter? Going to cry?"

She grinned and spit, then stood ready again. He closed the gap once more, delivering another punch as she blocked it, his uppercut from the other hand was grabbed as she dug her nails into his wrist and twisted. She went low, spinning around him as his arm began to pivot, pushing her palm against his elbow, she pulled it backwards as the sickening crack followed. He screamed as she came up behind him, dropping him to his knees as his arm bent unnaturally the other way at the elbow, and her grip still firmly around his wrist.

"What's the matter? Gonna cry?" she said as he continued to scream. She placed her thumbs over a finger, and pressed until it broke. "Murderers, Brigands, Thieves, Assassins..." She started on the next, "Smugglers, Extortioners, Mercenaries, Bureaucrats...", and the next, "Thugs, Bounty-Hunters, Kingpins, and Deadmen...". Each one came with a distinct pop, followed by the jerk and agonizing groans of Ronald.

"I'm going to fucking kill you!"

"D'you know what these words mean?" she asked as she shattered his thumb finally. He twisted around, trying to claw at her but she kept him exactly where she wanted him. She dug her heel into the back of his thigh, pressing it into the sword wound as he continued to twist and fight her. "D'you know where you fit in, Ronald?" she asked, her voice still unsteadily calm as blood dripped from the cut on her cheek.

She finally let go as he didn't answer. He dropped to the floor, his broken arm laying limp against the concrete like jello as he took in several breaths. "God damn bitch," he groaned, and slowly started to stumble to his feet, falling several times as his arm dangled at his side. She stood there and simply watched now, waiting for him to recover the best he could manage.

"Ronald, I release you from your contract to the Syndicate. For your crimes, you shall be put to death, punished as the Chancellery sees fit, any last words?" she said, it was a formality after all. He stumbled a few steps towards her now, his eyes still filled with a raging hate, though he was pale now, almost green even with sweat pouring down his head.

"The Chancellery can burn in hell," he moaned, his voice had turned into a gravel hum as he stepped towards her. He gave one final swing, putting all of his strength into it as she blocked, and then grabbed his arm, pulling him close. They gazed at each other, "Who... who the fuck are you?"

She kicked her leg up, loosening her heel as she pulled it free, still holding on to his arm as she finally spoke. "I am the Chancellor." His eyes widened as a click followed, and a blade extended from the shoe. His pupils dilated, as they stared at each other, and she released his arm, stepping back now as blood spilled from his throat. She fitted the heel back onto her foot, locking the blade back in as he grabbed for his throat and then collapsed to the ground.

The others now moved towards Ronald's body as the Chancellor dislodged her sword from the chair and slipped it into her cane. "No! Leave him," she ordered sternly as they all stopped and stared. She gave the deadman a glance, and then looked between all of her men. "We'll let him be a message to any other group that decides to break the law. Besides, he deserves nothing more than the rats," she stated, and snapped her fingers as they all headed for the door.

Pain...

The hall was long, flanked by benches but not very crowded. The walls were painted white, with the lower half covered by a wooden panels. At the end of the hall were two men, standing on each side of a large oak door. Jimmy had no idea where he was exactly, the building wasn't marked, but he was suppose to be meeting with the Chancellery on a special, and unusual request.

As he approached the door, one of the men pushed out a hand to stop him. A voice came from beyond the door, "Let him in." The guard dropped his hand as Jimmy looked at him for a moment, then entered the room. The room was dark, with the lights off and a fan nestled in the corner blowing a cool breeze. Three large windows were on the opposite wall, covered in blinds that were open just enough to let the sun's light fill the room. Along the walls were paintings, and two leather sofas. In the middle of the room rested two simple wooden chairs, and before them a large mahogany desk with a chair turned towards the windows.

Jimmy surveyed the room, it was filled with smoke that hovered just below the ceiling like an overcast of clouds, and though a voice had come from here, there was no one to be found. "Close the door," a feminine voice said, a hand holding a dinner-length cigarette holder motioned from the chair. Jimmy was surprised, but turned and gently closed the door as it latched.

"I've taken the opportunity to glance over your request," the voice said as the chair turned and revealed a green haired woman. She took a long drag of her cigarette, then rested it on the lip of an ashtray. "Why don't you have a seat," she motioned towards the chair as Jimmy complied, and settled into the seat with a creak. The woman picked up the cigarette again, taking another puff before rolling it between her fingers as she watched him.

He looked to be in his mid-thirties, definitely attractive with near chiselled features, but his eyes were weary. She let her eyes linger and then smiled, "I hope this doesn't bother you," she gestured with her cigarette, and laid it on the lip of the ashtray again.

"It's fine, ma'am."

"Are you sure?"

Jimmy nodded as she smirked, and let it stay on the ashtray. She leaned back into her leather chair, crossing her legs as she laced her fingers together and gently rocked back and forth. The sound of a clock as it ticked drew Jimmy's attention, it was tucked away on a shelf in the corner surrounded by ornate figurines such as ballerinas, horses and knights, and even dragons. "I'm suppose to be meeting with the Chancellery?"

The woman chuckled, "I am the Chancellery," she motioned and settled into her chair more comfortably as she turned away to reach for some papers on the table behind her. She swivelled back towards him, and flipped through them. "James Richards, born Winston James Richards in the Ra'an Locality to a George Winston Richards, and a Maybelle Henrietta-Richards," she continued to flip through the papers, reading from them, "Apart of the Aisling Syndicate and one of Brandon's Associates. A reaper, having been conscripted when you were 15, doing courier for several years until you were hired by Brandon to be a hitman at the age of 20. No family, live by yourself in the Waterway Flats, and have successfully completed over-wow-715 contracts," she nodded with a grin. "Quite the distinguished record, James."

Jimmy nodded, "Thank you," he responded as he adjusted in the chair and re-arranged his collar. The woman looked up at him, her glance peering just over the top of the papers before lowering them. She continued to rock the chair from side to side.

"Do I make you uncomfortable, James?"

He shook his head no, though there was a bit of hesitation that she picked up on. She sat the papers down on the desk and leaned into the chair. "Not many people get the chance to meet with the Chancellor, I imagine you're a bit confused. Perhaps even a bit nervous, so let me put your mind at ease, James. Now, generally, these types of requests that you've made," she motioned towards another paper nestled on the corner of the desk, "Are ignored, however, I've made an exception simply because of your distinguished service. You're not going to be reprimanded, so you can relax, and if anyone gives you a hard time, especially Brandon, you can have him come talk to me, Understand?"

Jimmy nodded.

"Good, now then," she said, pulling the paper from the corner as she reread over it for a few moments. "Well, I can say that your request will be granted. In fact, I've already taken the liberty of finding out who the woman was, an Arianna Morgan. She was 34, from the Issari Locality," she handed over a file she had pulled from a drawer in her desk. He opened it and flipped through it. There was a picture of the woman, the same rich auburn hair as that night.

The Chancellor watched him before continuing. "All of the costs for the funeral have been covered, and I've made the arrangements for it to be carried out tomorrow. A car will arrive at your flat at 7am to ferry you there so you may attend the service. Make sure you're up by then, I know you've been frequenting the bars quite heavily as of late. So no drinking tonight, I want you clean shaven and sober for tomorrow, Understand?"

"I understand," he said, closing the file as he looked up and the two gazes met each other. The Chancellor smiled, "As for your second request, I usually retire people that make such things," she said, pulling another file, this one was much thicker as she laid it in front of him. "However, I have again, made an exception. This is your file, including all of your passports and a sizeable payout. You will be allowed to actually retire, and live out the rest of your days anywhere you please without having to worry about us coming after you." Jimmy's eyes widened at the news as he straightened himself up and the chair creaked beneath him.

"On one condition. You forget about your business with us, completely. You forget about the work you have done for us, and you do as I ask tomorrow. Clean shaven, sober, and respectable. She deserves that, and if you break either of these conditions, you will be the next one we visit after we're through with Ronald and his crew. Do I make myself clear?" she said sternly, her smile having faded from her face completely as she stared at him.

"Yes, ma'am," Jimmy said back eagerly. He gripped the files, and stood to shake her hand. "Thank you, Chancellor, Thank you."

She shook his hand and smiled, "Do not disappoint me, James. You're free to go now, your ride is waiting after-all. And please don't call me ma'am, I hear enough of that everyday."

"Yes, yes. Thanks again, Chancellor," he said, and quickly turned to head out the door.

"James?"

Jimmy stopped at the door, as the Chancellor called for him. "Yes, Chancellor?"

She eyed him, and thought for a moment. "Why her? With such a long record of killings, why did you make this request?"

He averted his gaze, as his eyes softened and he looked towards the deep blue carpet. "She thanked me," he mumbled. She raised a brow as she sat forwards and rested her elbows on the desk.

"Thanked you? For saving her?"

"Yes, no one's ever done that," he looked up at the woman as she gave him a puzzled, but amused glance. Of course, he knew why they had killed her. It kept loose ends from forming, and loose ends were bad for business.

"I see," she said, as James started to turn the knob to leave. "James," she said again as he stopped and again peered back at her. "Do me one more favour, never lose that. I employ thugs, but so few seem to have a conscience. A soul. I understand your pain, but be glad that you can feel that. Put the work you have done behind you, and enjoy the rest of your life. There's a lot of cruelness in this world, but you don't have to be," she smiled warmly.

He stared at her for a moment. She was a pale woman, and though she appeared collected and stern, there was a bit of sadness behind her eyes, and a gentle kindness to her tone. He could see the lightest hint of some scars around her neck, he hadn't noticed them before, but glancing at her eyes, it was obvious she was completely cybernetic. These were old scars, however, and ones similar to acid burns. A common sign of punishment for a runaway slave. Most people would have sought a replacement, but she kept them, perhaps as a reminder.

"Thank you, Chancellor," he said softly. She smiled with a light chuckle and flicked the ashes from her cigarette as she drew a few puffs and relaxed into her chair. He turned the knob again, and opened the door as he stared down the long hallway and gave one last glance to the woman. She rocked in her chair back and forth as she let out a steady stream of smoke, her eyes settled on a painting of a brook passing beneath a cobble and stone bridge with the sunset in the background. With that, he shut the door behind him with the sound of the latch reverberating through the wall, and headed down the hallway.

A few minutes passed as another knock came at the door. "Yes?"

"Madame Chancellor, we've captured Ronald," a man said. The Chancellor sighed, and then flicked the ashes of her cigarette before putting it out in the ashtray. She pulled the holder from it, and deposited it in a drawer. "I'll be right there, pull a car out back."

"Right away, Ma'am," the voice said.

She straightened her desk out. Once she was content with it, she took in a breath and approached a glass case that hugged the corner of the room. Inside were several canes, each with a different ornament. She opened the case and pulled out a black one, she paused as the sleeve of her dress had slid down, exposing a brand that had been burnt into her wrist. It was faded as she rubbed her thumb over it, and then quickly covered it again. She tested the weight and balance of the cane with her fingers for a moment, and once she was satisfied, she closed the case and headed for the door. She took one last glance at the room, and then the painting again. "Business as usual," she mumbled to herself and opened the door.
Last edited by Lady Scylla on Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Mon May 30, 2016 10:08 am

Image
The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


Touch, Smell, Breathe, and See. They're sensations they take for granted. Is it so odd to find myself fascinated with them? Am I so wrong to have a desire to experience and observe all of these as if they're new to me each time I perform them? Then you have the greatest sensations of them all, the ones that are truly marvellous to behold; peculiar, yet eerily familiar. Emotion.

I have seen all they see, and felt all they have felt. I've sensed the fracture as if it were my own mind, and I've witnessed the desperation as they plead for mercy. It is this anguish that truly grips me, that sends tremors through my being as if it'll shatter me like a mirror. I stare through their eyes for just a moment in this passing, and I am overcome. And together we watch the glass sprinkle like a fine rain of crystal with each tiny reflection a memory.

In their final seconds, they call for their loved ones, and I see their faces. It is a warm experience, like a sun shining upon us for just a second, and then the lingering storm clouds roll across the plains. There's a final calmness, and then nothing. For a mere glimpse, I witness everything that they are from the deepest trenches to the glass-like surface. It is in those final fleeting moments that I witness their humanity.


The woman smiled with her face towards the sun. Her cheeks flush with its warmth. The clouds had since carried on and left the deeply violet sky a bare ocean. It filled her with a sense of comforting insignificance. She relaxed her grip around the handle of her rifle, which she dangled just beside her leg. As a gentle breeze blew in from the south, she peered at the surroundings. She brushed some of her matted brown hair from her face, and climbed from the shell-crater to look at the bombed out cottage before her.

Much of the walls had disintegrated and the cottage had lain like a blown out refuge bearing the scars of war. Scattered, stones littered the surrounding field. No doubt from being thrown by the resulting explosion; and then they had rolled for a few meters more, where shallow channels had cut through the grass in their wake. The roof of the cottage had caved into the centre, and in the splintered wooden floor was another crater. Water had seeped into this basin from the surrounding earth; leaving a murky pool full of leaves and grass. The remaining floorboards creaked beneath her boots, yet flexed and shifted like sponges, exuding water from their pores.

A small cabinet rested against the wall. Its legs on one side had been broken, and it knelt as if expecting the arrival of royalty. She laid her helmet on the corner and brushed her gloved fingers across the wood. Her touch was gentle, as if greeting an old friend. What remained of the roof sagged from the only corner. She ducked under it and found that the space had been occupied by a small stuffed animal resting on its side. A smile crept across her face as she scooted beside it and rested her rifle against the wall. As she rang the water from her hair, she stared at the small bear with a childlike fascination.

"I hope you don't mind if I sit here, Mr. Fluff," she said warmly.

As she made herself comfortable, her eyes cautiously watched the front of the cottage. She pulled a leg up to her chest, and rested her arm on her knee -- the other, remained stretched out across the wood. She glanced back to the bear momentarily, a smile still lingering along the edge of her lips. "So are you hiding? I bet those bombs were really scary. But that's okay, it's okay to be scared. Sometimes they scare me too," she said as she again looked towards the front.

"I never liked the screaming they made when they flew through the air. From a distance they're like fireworks, you remember those, don't you?," she spoke softly, "I used to watch fireworks with my parents when we went to the carnival. That's where we got you, remember?," she smiled.

"I kept trying to feed you ice-cream. And Dad kept telling me that you didn't need any, but I thought you were hungry. Those were simpler times," she chuckled, "They're not like fireworks up close though," she said more solemnly.

She reached over and carefully picked it up. She held it so delicately as she brushed it with her thumbs. It was damp all the way through, with its once golden-brown fur now caked in mud. One of its button-eyes was missing along with an arm. She smiled, though her gaze was heavy, and her voice strained to get the words out as she spoke, "Lost your arm, huh? I guess you and I both lost something today. But that's okay, because I'm home again."

She rolled her lips for a moment and sighed as she brought her other leg up and rested the stuffed animal in her lap. She bit her lip as a hot stream of tears rolled down her cheeks and she shook. She wrapped her arms around the bear in a hug, and rocked back and forth for several minutes. When her crying subsided, she smudged mud across her face trying to wipe the remaining tears away.

"I've seen so much, Mr. Fluff," she said, her voice now shaken. "I've been away for so long, and now... I wish I had never left," she sighed. "I should have listened to them. I should've gone to the University, became an engineer like Dad had wanted. Instead I joined the damned Academy and now look!" she banged her hand against the wall.

"I don't know what to do any more," she said pleadingly, as if expecting it to give her council. She sighed and they both sat there as she watched the water drip from the roof. Her eyes were weary as she became mesmerised by the ripples of muddy water at the bottom of the pool. With each drop, the leaves would list from side to side like ships docked in port amid the calm.

The evening had brought a chill to the winds that had swept across the fields. She shivered and curled more rigidly into the corner; still holding Mr. Fluff tight as she played with its ears. As the sun sank beneath the horizon in the north, the violet sky had turned to a blackened blanket full of stars. She could no longer see out of the cottage, let alone her own hands. As the night progressed, the world fell silent and still, and even the water from the roof could not penetrate the deafness. She quietly sang to Mr. Fluff until her eyes became heavy and she had drifted off to sleep.

By the next morning, she was greeted by the rays of sunlight peering over the faraway hills. They pierced the shade of the sagging roof like swords cutting the way through a thick jungle. She rolled over and stretched, accidentally bumping her rifle and knocking it from the wall. She looked at it, and then gazed out the front of the cottage. The fields were empty like yesterday, with only the rustle of grass filling the air. She leaned over and picked up her rifle, and slid Mr. Fluff into her coat pocket. "I think we'll fix you up good as new," she said.

She brushed the water from her helmet, though there was now speckles of dirt on it where droplets had dried. She fastened the chinstrap through her belt so that it would dangle at her side, and slung her rifle over her shoulder. She took one last glance at her home. It wasn't the only room of the cottage, but she didn't dare check her parent's bedroom. She already knew the answer. She stepped from the spongy floor into the grass and peered around. The world was open to her, like a vast dome that enveloped all she could see in violet shades as a gentle breeze swept across the grass, creating waves that rolled along like an ocean.

She felt calm amid the silence as she tightened the strap of her rifle. It was a beautiful day with a sort of tranquil resonance without bombs exploding in the distance, or the screaming of people. She patted her pocket, and pulled Mr. Fluff from it. She cradled the bear in her hands, and brushed some of the dry dirt from its head as she smiled. The whiz was barely noticeable, and even the round wasn't noticed right away until it had already tore through her side-armour. Her eyes widened as her body had suddenly stopped responding to her and she tumbled to the ground. She lay on her side as the blood pooled from the wound. She had dropped Mr. Fluff, and they lied there staring at each other as she tried to get a breath.

She couldn't yell. She used all of her remaining strength to wrap her fingers around the stuffed animal and bring it closer. As she rolled on her back, she stared up at the violet sky. A chill crept across her body as she slowly lost sensation. "I'm... scared," she mumbled. She tightly gripped the bear and watched the world begin to feel distant and strange. After a few minutes, the world returned to a quiet calmness.

"Madame Chancellor," a soft voice spoke.

"I said to not call me that," she replied groggily, "What is it?"

"It's time to wake up."
Last edited by Lady Scylla on Mon May 30, 2016 10:34 am, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:34 pm

[Mature]

The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


Life is fleeting, they said, none of it shall matter when you're gone. Who's to say they're wrong? Yet, where is our sense of purpose if they're right? If we've no reason to strive, then where is our voice amidst all this madness -- are we left screaming into a deathly silence where even the echo dare not reply? If we cannot establish that which drives us so desperately to survive, then, I question, what is humanity?




"Who's there?" the dishevelled man called out. His clothes were tattered, ragged looking scraps of fabric poorly sewn together. Apparently, he had been here for some time, though how long, he wasn't sure. He didn't even recognise where he was. His body ached, and he found himself resting in a corner amidst a darkened stone room. The scurrying of rats or some other small vermin could be heard in the darkness; that of which was so thick that it shrouded whatever lay just feet before the man. He was grisly looking: with a sallow face, an unkempt beard, and skin like worn leather that barely fit over his bony body. Worse still were the frenzied murmurs he whispered, cowering in the corner with his hands before his face -- his fingers trembling away.

Surely. Hiding isn't going to help. They think you're dead. All dead! Dead away, is dead away! Yes, hush! Someone's coming. Is it the song? They want to kill you, hide! hide! Run! Stay! Where ever you go the song shall find you.

The man grabbed his hair and started to pull, squealing as he pleaded for the whispers to go away. He rocked back and forth, pressing himself deeper into the corner as if the darkness had not already reached him, but was reaching. What did it want with him? Surely he did not know, yet he tried so desperately to stay away. It was of little use, for each moment he kept his eyes open, he could feel its presence. It lingered there. Waiting. His heart palpitated with each moment, he had to watch, he just had to -- yet his vision waned like a candle before a breeze, and he shut his eyes with each attempt.

The Song! The Song is coming. Run - hide away. Stay, stay you must. You cannot leave. How come you're still here? Death is coming, death is away, death away it is! Silence. Good. Silence will be death. The Song. The Song! Song, can you hear it? It is singing a beautiful song! Listen, yes, listen to the song. Alone. Yes, alone you are, with the Song! Listen. It's coming.

"S-stop! Please. Just s-stop," the man cried out. He struck his head several times, each harder than the last, until a few droplets could be felt sliding down his brow. He curled into the corner as tight as he could, his eyes clenched shut, pleading repeatedly for the whispers to leave him alone. Yet, they didn't seem to mind his sobbing, instead, only growing louder in intensity. He clawed at his face, his broken nails tearing skin from just beneath his hair. The darkness had arrived, it was there before him, he could feel it. It outstretched its hand, he recoiled, and then there was silence as the voices subsided.

"Who? Who's there?" the man called out, carefully opening his eyes. It was the face of an old friend that greeted him. It smiled warmly, its hand outstretched as the man looked surprised. "Is it -- is that really you?" he asked, reaching out to touch the empty space before him, where the darkness stood in wait. A chill crept over his arm as a subtle draft moved within the room. "It's been so long," the man said quietly. He carefully crawled from the corner into the darkness, his palms pressing on the bits of gravel and dust on the stone floor, where the filth stung the wounds in his palms.

"What? This?" he questioned, showing his hand to the room. "I did this for you, yes," he nodded. As he crawled further, he soon found himself in the middle of the room. A crack along the opposite wall had just the slightest beam of light, which shone dully onto the floor in the centre. He chuckled and laid down, rolling unto his back as he continued to murmur.

"It's been so long, old friend," he muttered between a few deep gasps. He scooted himself across the floor, placing the beam of light just between his eyes. He stared at the crack, how its blue luminescence was nothing more than a faded shimmer between the small fracture in the stones. He grinned from ear to ear, exposing the rotted and broken teeth. He outstretched an arm towards the light.

"Cold, why so cold?"

The Song is coming. Cold. Cold they said! What? This? I did this for you, yes. Yes! All for them! For him, for them they did for him! Cold. Something's cold. The Song, the Song is cold? The Song is singing their song of songs! Listen. Listen to the Song. Yes. Cold. Cold they said. What? This? Yes. Yes! For him, for them, for us they did for him. Death. No death. Deathly song, for deathly cold is coming of the song! Listen.

The man laughed. He chuckled long and hard until his throat was hoarse, and he could barely breath. He closed his eyes finally, as the voices were once again quieted by the darkness. It was here to console him, surely it was of no danger to him after-all. How had he misjudged such a comfort? He almost didn't recognise his friend, how nice it was for it to visit, he thought.

He opened his eyes again. The light was bright above him, with its buzzing and flickering, no doubt one of the bulbs was dying. His greyed eyes watched the swirling of a fly as it encircled the room above him, and it was then that he realised the darkness had gone. He jerked, but found his wrists restrained by straps.

"What? N-no. No, no, no. Help!" he tugged harder. He was strapped into a bed in the middle of a brightly lit room, where the walls were absent of any detail. Instead of darkness, it was all white. No door, nor window showed him the way out -- yet, he tugged on his restraints until his wrists began to bleed. When the man had worked himself up into an exhaustion, he lay there still, gasping for air. The fly continued to buzz above him, idly tracing out a perfect circle.

Locked. Trapped. Yes, Yes! Help? No help! Help they said, help they wanted but help, where is help? Who is help? Help isn't here. Oh no. Cold! Deathly cold for the Song! Yes! The Song is coming. The Song. Oh the Song as it sings. Listen. Hush. Locked they are. Deathly song is here for you. Cold? Friend. Friends are cold. Deathly friends sing the song! Yes, yes! Now listen.

They had returned. The man bucked at his restraints. He shouted and screamed, desperately trying to claw his face. The blood made his wrists slip against the restraints, yet they would not budge. He cried, but then he saw the familiar face once more. A friend. It came to him, and he settled. When he had opened his eyes, he was once again in the middle of the stone room, with darkness there beside him.

"Who's there?" the man whispered, slowly rising from the floor. The room was silent, deathly still as he peered around, but it was little use. All he could see was the darkness. He furrowed his brows as he stumbled to a wall and felt the rough stones. They had been stacked one atop another, held together with mortar, and no doubt old. They felt wet, like water had been freshly thrown on them.

"What's this?" the man asked curiously as he felt something odd on the wall. He pulled it off, it came easily enough, and soon he was staring at a disembodied ear. He looked forward to see where he had pulled such a peculiar thing, only to find another dishevelled man, much like him, smiling. The two stared for a time, with the original man still holding the ear. His new companion turned their head slightly, causing the man to drop the ear and shriek. There, alongside the new companion's head was a large cavity where an ear once was. It was then that the man felt the cold wetness slowly dribble onto his shoulder. He reached a hand up to feel the side of his head, and to his horror, he could feel a cavity where his ear once was.

When he looked back at his new companion, he was now staring at a withered corpse, where its lips had pealed back from its teeth, and the eyes had sunken beneath cracked skin. The man shook his head frantically as he stumbled to the ground, scurrying away from the decay as fast as he could. The body lingered there for a time, its languish and decomposed features staring back.

"No! No! Not me!" the man yelled. He crawled to the corner where he had come, and buried his face into his arms. His sobs were violent, and his words indiscernible as he rocked back and forth. When he had recovered, and peered towards his companion, it was gone, replaced by the darkness of the room.

Yes you. The Cold, oh the terrible cold! Deathly, oh so deathly, how deathly it must be. Yes, yes! The Song. The Song is coming for you! Listen.

The man shook his head, heaving great sobs once more as he started to dig his nails into his sunken cheeks. The voices had fallen silent once again, and the room became still. Then, there it was, the subtle sound that grabbed him by the ear, reaching from just beyond the wall. It was a gentle, soothing sound, yet so quiet. The man wiped his face and glanced around. He was alone, yet he could hear it. He crawled along the wall to listen. It seemed to move, growing and quieting in a pleasant rhythm.

"What's this?" the man asked, scraping against the wall.

The Song is coming for you.

"The Song? What? I don't -- I don't understand,' the man said, standing on his knees as he tried to feel for a way through the wall. It was just beyond the stones, he knew it, if only he could get there.

Yes, the Song. It's coming for you. Go! Yes, go you must.

"Go," the man repeated in a hushed tone as he started to claw at the rough stones. With each passing minute the voices began to chime in his head, urging him to go towards the Song. His nails bent and twisted against the stones until they began to break. He clawed so madly that he ignored the pain as bits of flesh were being pealed away from the pads of his fingers. And then, just like that, the music stopped. The man froze.

"No, no, no. Come back," he urged, trying a few more times to get through the stones. When that didn't work, he started to smack his hands against the stones. The sound of flesh impacting the rocky surface echoed in the chamber as he started to scream. "Come back!" After more moments of this, the man slowly slid down the wall and stared into the void. Had the Song left?

Go. Go you must. The Song is coming! The Song, yes.

The man shook his head, and banged it against the wall. This sent a shiver of pain down his spine as the voices repeated that line alone, over and over. The man refused to listen, he tried so hard not to, and they only grew more adamant -- they demanded they be listened to. He hit his head harder, and harder, and harder still until darkness was no longer just beside him, but inside of him.

"Who's there?" the dishevelled man called out. The man opened his eyes, and looked around. Apparently, he had been here for some time, though how long, he wasn't sure. He didn't even recognise where he was. His body ached, and he found himself resting in a corner amidst a darkened stone room. The scurrying of rats or some other small vermin could be heard in the darkness; that of which was so thick that it shrouded whatever lay just feet before the man.

The Song! The Song is coming. Run - hide away. Stay, stay you must. You cannot leave. How come you're still here? Death is coming, death is away, death away it is! Silence. Good. Silence will be death. The Song. The Song! Song, can you hear it? It is singing a beautiful song! Listen, yes, listen to the song. Alone. Yes, alone you are, with the Song! Listen. It's coming.

The man grabbed at his hair, and started to pull. He wanted the voices to stop, to leave him alone, but they didn't. They only grew louder. They began to chime in unison -- The Song is coming!. Even as his hair began to pull from their roots, and the searing pain of his scalp tearing from his skull made him scream in anguish, the voices persisted. And then, there it was. That same, soothing sound as once before.

The Song is here

There were footsteps just beyond the darkness. They echoed off the wall, but from where they were coming the man did not know. He looked into the abyss, his eyes wide with terror as the steps, and that soothing sound came closer. Ever so closer it came, and then, the footsteps stopped. Just feet before the man. The sound, however, remained -- and he stared into the void, where the blackness swallowed any detail, and he could feel its presence. It lingered just feet from him, the smell of moistened earth filling the room as it stood, staring at him. He shrunk into the corner.

"Please leave me alone, please go away," the man said quietly. He dared not look again, he couldn't, he felt it leaning towards him. Its long, grotesque fingers outstretched, ready to grab him -- closer they came, closer they were. He sensed the grin on the thing's face. Oh how terrifying it was, with its fang-like teeth dripping with the rotten flesh of so many before, and the nauseating smell of earth as if it had come crawling from the depths of a desecrated grave. He could sense it towering over him. He squealed and shielded his face, pressing himself against the stones as hard as he could.

The Song, oh how pleasant the Song was. It was such a quiet, gentle tune -- so calming, tranquil -- like the glistening surface of a lake on a quiet day, where the waters were a glass mirror of the heavens above. He listened, and how it beckoned him to look. Had the darkness lied to him? Was it never a friend to begin with? Surely it wouldn't do such a thing, yet, here it was, veiling the very thing that had come. Had come for him. The man clenched his eyes shut and began to claw at his ears. His monstrous screams echoed off the walls as the dribble gave way to a flood across his shoulders, and soon, two meaty pieces of flesh fell to the floor. Now he could no longer listen to the Song.

Yet, there it was, still. Calling ever so gently like a caring mother's voice.

The man shook his head fervently in refusal. He would not look, but now he could feel it moving towards him again. Its fingers lay just inches from his skin, and the earthy smell gave way to putrefaction as the Song's amiable calling became louder, more profound. It was too much. The man looked, and there it was. The room was no longer dark, but full of a radiant glow that nearly blinded him. He shielded his face from the light, and saw the face of a woman.

She was beautiful, perhaps in her mid-twenties, wearing a silky white dress that flowed freely amid the air. Her greenish hair laid on her shoulders, contrasting with the paleness of her skin, and beneath the chaotic bangs were the lakes of amber glass, filled with a radiance and depth the man had never seen. Her hand was outstretched towards him, and she hummed that song -- the very same he had been hearing.

The man felt calmed. The rigidity in his muscles relaxed, melting away like the rough sands against a tide, and he stared into her eyes. There was something about them, they were so alluring. So distant, yet so close. Strange and familiar. As she drew near, he didn't flee from her, instead he waited. It was then that he noticed the voices -- they had gone. Vanished. She had remedied his affliction with her presence, and the Song, oh how the song consoled his troubled soul.

He leaned back and closed his eyes. He felt the gentlest touch across his chin. His beard was no longer unkempt, but gone entirely, and he no longer felt frail and weak, but strong and healthy, as if new life had been breathed into him. He reached up and held her hand as she gently caressed his cheek. Her skin was soft, cold to the touch, and he found it odd.

"Cold, why so cold?" he whispered.

She was still humming the song, but its tune seemed distorted now, as if it were changing. The man furrowed his brows, but kept his eyes closed, still focusing on her touch. As he let her hand go, he felt something different across his cheek. Instead of the same soft fingers, he felt roughness, like pebbles being brushed across his face. Even more odd was the Song. It had become broken somehow. He opened his eyes and stared into those same lakes of amber glass, yet they were no longer warm but frigid waters. He took in a breath as his eyes widened.

The woman was no longer beautiful, but half decomposed, floating just inches above the floor before him where blood ran down her feet and left a trail behind her. Her once soft hand was now bones with bits of decayed flesh hanging like torn curtains from them. His eyes widened as she gripped his face and jerked it upward so they could stare into each other's eyes.

Tried to kill me. And tried you failed.
Last edited by Lady Scylla on Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:36 am

The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


When I was a child, my father used to stargaze with me. He'd say, "Look at them, billions of candles burning away in the depths of a vast, obsidian ocean." He'd tell me about how these tiny, flickering candles marked the locations of distant worlds. They were the lighthouses sitting atop faraway shores of intrigue and mystery. Some were like our own, others not so much, full of creatures and foliage that were alien to us. I was enamoured with these stars from then on.

Life was simpler then. It's amusing, I think, how the troubles of the world just seem to grow the older you become. When my mother passed away, my father was distraught. She'd fallen ill with, at the time, an unknown illness. Cyber-dementia it would become known, one of the unfortunate and deadly side-effects of our cybernetic implants. You see, when we realised that diseases had finally outpaced and rendered such things as our antibiotics ineffective, we took that leap.

At the time, we were facing a series of plagues, the worst of which we called the 'Great Plague'. These diseases hit in waves, plunging hundreds of thousands beneath the surface, and leaving agony and chaos wherever they struck. We became defenceless against this onslaught, and when the Great Plague came, there seemed to be nothing we could do. Any ethical questions about bridging the line between man and machine suddenly became trivial. Cyberisation became a rapidly developing technology, we were treading into unknown territory without so much as a flashlight to light our way, and all that was pushing us was our desperation for survival.

Cybernetic implants and advanced prostheses were a good start, and eventually, we developed prosthetic bodies. Suddenly, we'd found the perfect cure against these diseases, but they were expensive. As a result, my parents decided that I would receive a prosthetic body. We were an aristocratic family, with moderate wealth, and even still, the cost of cyberisation was far beyond what we had, leaving us to accumulate debts to other, more wealthy families. And as you probably guessed, while we took the step into salvation, we left the poor at the mercy of the Great Plague. We were safe, or so we thought.

My parents received cybernetic implants. They were less expensive than prostheses, and allowed for neural-communication, network integration, and several other features that revolutionised our lives. However, for as amazing as this technology was, none of us questioned the potential drawbacks. A series of mysterious deaths happened to people who had received cyberisation, and they were, at first, blamed on malfunctions. My mother became one such case.

Whatever it was, it hit fast and hard. She couldn't walk, and was left bedridden. Doctors ruled out any of the recent plagues, and blamed it on a malfunction of her cybernetic implants. In an effort to save her, they removed these implants, but it was too late, the damage had already been done. Within weeks she could no longer recognise us, she talked nonsense, and soon stopped speaking entirely. The next few months were incredibly taxing on my father, he'd sit beside her talking to her as she stared blankly into nothing. He tried to pay for experimental treatments, but the debts we'd gained for my prosthetic body meant that no-one was willing to loan him any more money. By the next year, she had died, and I had lost both my parents.

My father spent most of his time working to pay off our debts. When he was around, we barely spoke to one another. I couldn't really blame him, he was grieving, and I began to wonder if it really was my fault. I blamed myself for my mother's death well into adulthood. It wasn't until it was revealed that the cause of those mysterious deaths was a disease called Cyber-dementia that I finally stopped blaming myself. The disease was the result of the brain being unable to handle the surge of information implants were giving it, it was rare and only happened in older people who received cyberisation. People such as my mother.

Despite this, it didn't change anything with my father, I would forever be the reason why he couldn't save his wife, even though it wouldn't have mattered, the disease has no cure. I chose to remember my father as he once was, not as the broken man he is now. I packed my things and set out. I decided I would travel to those shores I used to gaze at from my world. The shuttle I boarded took me to the ship I would be on for the next few months, and as we embarked, I stared at the home that had became just as alien to me as the worlds my father used to tell me about. It was surreal.
Last edited by Lady Scylla on Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:43 am

The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


She was slipping into the darkness. It beckoned her with a warm embrace, ready to receive her. This is what dying was like, the gentle pull into a dreamless slumber, the melting away of any reality. She was ready to die, and so she would greet death as an old friend. She grew increasingly unaware. Her senses were the first to go, and then the world outside merely faded away into a mist of obscurity. As she drifted within the waters of the eternal sea, she felt her mind becoming heavy with sleep. She was approaching a singularity, where there seemed to be no return.

"I did not expect to see you so soon," a voice said, or was it a voice? Perhaps it was a thought, but it was not of her own. She tried to recall where she had heard it from, but in her barely cognisant state, this meagre task seemed monumental.

"It is alright. You do not know me," the voice said, it could sense what she was trying to do. This unsettled her, and she tried anyway, something, she could tell, the voice found amusing.

"Who are you? Are you a God?" she finally managed to ask, or think. She wasn't too sure.

"No, I am not a God. I was once called Scylla," the voice answered, "By my creators, though that was long ago." Each time it spoke, this disembodied thought seemed to draw closer. She could feel it like a presence that was looming over her being.

"I don't understand," she said, "It's getting hard to talk."

"You are currently dying, Eirlys. You're in the twilight, as I call it," the voice said. Its presence was nauseating, it was all around her, just beyond reach, like it was waiting.

"The twilight? What comes after?"

The voice did not respond immediately, instead, there was a silence that lingered.

"Oblivion. You'll simply cease to exist," the voice finally answered. This realisation didn't seem so bad to Eirlys, but at the same time, there was a sadness, something the voice had picked up on.

"I've seen it many times before. You won't be aware of any of it, you'll continue to fall into an increasingly incoherent consciousness. Think of it like falling asleep," it said, attempting to console her.

"But," she thought, "What happens to you?"

The voice seemed amused by this question, it resonated from the darkness just beyond her mind. It's voice was more soothing, more relaxed now, as if it had sat down before her and was ready to have a final conversation. She imagined them within a camp, with a fire between them, and the voice and its seemingly shapeless form sitting across from her, something the voice approved of.

"You mustn't use up so much energy. As for me, I will continue on, I am not directly tethered to you," it said. It picked up a stick and started to stoke the fire between them, causing it to crackle and expel a flurry of embers. "But that doesn't have to be," it said.

"What d'you mean?" she asked, giving it a quizzical look.

It sat the stick aside, and relaxed in front of the fire. She peered at it through the smoke, it may as well have been a shadow she was conversing with.

"You can come with me. Instead of degrading into a lower state of consciousness, you'll ascend into a higher one," it said.

Eirlys furrowed her brows. She didn't understand any of this, and the weight she was feeling was becoming heavier. What would happen to her body?

"You'll leave your body indefinitely. It will die, but what makes you who you are will exist eternally," the voice interrupted her contemplation, startling her, though she knew she shouldn't have been surprised.

"We're running out of time," it finally said. She knew this, she had been faced with an incredible decision, but the fog was rolling in to consume her, and she was using all of her strength to keep it at bay.

"Alright, but tell me, where did you come from? Who created you?" she asked, this deeply amused the voice, who finally stood and outstretched a hand to her. Their little camp shook as the fog had reached the boundary and was starting to eat away this realm of hers. She trembled, it wouldn't be much longer now, her head felt dizzy and her vision was starting to fail.

"You already know these things, now, what is your decision?" the voice said, keeping its hand outstretched for her. The fog had almost reached them, the ground was disintegrating around them into nothing. The fire had started to die, and the embers rose into the approaching oblivion, fading from her thoughts. She took the voice's hand finally, and in that last moment, she saw the voice's form. It was herself.

"What..." she murmured, and then, with a flash that rivalled the radiance of a sun, she was blinded. A sharp pain spread throughout her body as the fog vanished, and the realm became white. She screamed as the agony sought to tear her limb from limb.

"Make it stop! Oh god, make it stop!" she screamed, but there was no longer any presence there. The voice had vanished. The pain continued to grow until she could barely think. It felt as if some creature was slowly twisting her body in its massive hands, ensuring she felt as much pain as humanly possible. This mind numbing pain finally reached its apex, and then it stopped abruptly. She was fully awake now, far more coherent than she had been, but she couldn't feel anything. Instead, she saw the images flashing before her, familiar ones depicting a story, her story. She remembered, she remembered it all.

They were memories, memories that rivalled and conflicted those she had. Memories of a lab, a facility with men and women in coats talking and discussing forms of treatment. There were memories of them doing things to her, painful things, with scalpels, needles, and other tools. There was a memory of her being wheeled in a wheelchair down a long corridor, she could feel how close to unconsciousness she was in this memory. She saw the wall, and there in its large painted letters was the name: Scylla Initiative.

She saw the next memory, what they did to her brain, to her mind. She could hear them talk about the simulated reality, how Scylla was functioning optimally, and about their research. And then, then she remembered that final memory. Her escape from the facility.
Last edited by Lady Scylla on Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

The Bleeding Frontier [FT][Closed][Maintenance]

Postby Lady Scylla » Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:56 am

The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


Day 451 18:54
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

We've still had no luck with Scylla. The team's spirits are at an all time low and I am beginning to feel their frustration. Our programmers have been hard at work, but our attempts of creating a true artificial intelligence have been futile. It would seem that our computers are limited by our capabilities, meaning that such an AI will only be as grand as its programmer. What's worse, with the deadline fast approaching, failure will mean the loss of our contract, and I don't think this institution could afford it. We'd be forced to close.

There has to be a way.


Day 463 13:29
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

Scylla pulled its own plug again. It continues to fail even the basic tests, and when approached with more complex questions, it becomes frustrated and terminates. Beyond that, its capacity to learn is horribly limited, we have tried everything but to no avail. There's been talk amongst the research team that perhaps its time to give up, maybe search for other jobs. Nonsense. What we are doing is ground-breaking work, we will succeed.


Day 489 08:15
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

The deadline is less than two weeks away. If we don't have something to show that appeases the board, then we're surely doomed.

11:55

Doctor Julian pulled me aside. He offered a proposal, an outlandish one at that, over how to overcome our obstacle. At first I told him off, even threatened to go to the board about his suggestion, but after some discussion, I decided to think on it. I'll have an answer for him by tomorrow.


Day 490 09:25
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

I agreed to Doctor Julian's proposal. He's gone away to carry out this plan of his, I just hope this works.


Day 491 18:06
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

Doctor Julian returned this morning with a girl. I had to sit down and discuss this with the research team, at first, many of them were as opposed as I was, but I reassured them. Doctor Julian assured me that she is an orphan, with no known relatives. Better still, she hasn't been given any cybernetic implants. This should make the process go along much easier.


Day 495 15:16
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

The procedure went extremely well. I dare say, we have the best surgical team this side of the Galaxy. They outfitted our test subject with a brain-computer interface, and a series of cybernetic implants for network integration. So far, it appears the subject has responded well to these new features. Meanwhile, our engineering team is working with the research team to prepare Scylla for Doctor Julian's plan.


Day 497 18:06
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

Doctor Julian is a genius! How have I not thought of this before? By keeping the subject within a simulated reality, Scylla was able to be interfaced with the subject's mind. The results were astounding. Up until now, we were limited by our programming capabilities, but it turns out that the best method of achieving an actual artificial intelligence was to integrate an original intelligence. We now have the blueprint for an AI that can be copied, this is bound to give us an award!


Day 498 11:23
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

Our tests with Scylla have continued to surprise us. One of our researchers, Professor Michaels, sat down and discussed philosophy with Scylla. We also put it through a series of different simulated realities, and the mountain of data we are collecting is even starting to overwhelm our researchers!

16:43

We had a minor setback. Our engineering team is working on replacing a cooling unit that had failed. Scylla at the moment is in a low power mode.


Day 500 14:37
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

The cooling unit was replaced last night, and we sought to bring Scylla out of the lower power state only to have our energy grid fail! I can't believe this. Scylla's running on a generator, and we've got diagnostics running to ensure nothing's been corrupted. We're so close to our deadline, we can't fail now.

16:09

Troubling. It would seem that the ventilation fans that cool the generator room had been shut off. We've a few engineers working to try and get the fans going again.

18:23

At last! The power is back on, finally. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait and boot up Scylla tomorrow. I've been assured that everything is in tip top shape, and that means we may finally move past these hiccoughs.


Day 501 06:40
Scylla Initiative
Richards, Briar; PhD

I could barely sleep. We've had some minor issues with the lights all morning. Engineering says it may be residual from the power outage and should resolve sometime later in the day. In the meantime, we've begun the procedure to bring Scylla out of its low power state. So far, everything is going spectacularly well.

08:15

Scylla was finally awakened, but something seems to be wrong. It's had very little interest in working with us to any degree. It even verbally lashed out at one of our researchers. They want to run diagnostics again, I didn't, but they finally convinced me.

10:03

Scylla's back in low power. They've started their tests, I pushed them and they said, with luck, they'll be done in three hours or so. Meanwhile, the lights still haven't recovered. Engineering says they're working on it, but we've had a few actual blackouts.

11:38

Again! The generators stopped. Perhaps Scylla's drawing too much power, we may have to tap into the neighbouring grid for additional energy.

12:17

Apparently the ventilation has been shutdown. Nothing is wrong with the fans, yet our controls for them have been overridden. There's growing concern now amongst the team about Scylla, but I doubt there's anyway its responsible for this. Especially with it being in lower power. I've had to explain to them that in such a state, Scylla remains in a simulated reality, and according to diagnostics so far, there's nothing out of the ordinary.

13:45

A situation has developed. Two engineers who went into ventilation to see if they could manually restart the fans haven't returned and we've lost radio contact. A search has begun to find them. We've also now had issues with our doors, with the power out the backup generators are having trouble feeding the facility. We've had people unable to get through the doors with their cards, I have to keep letting them in.

14:10

Scylla still hasn't been awakened. Our surveillance went down just a few minutes ago, and the computer had locked us out. I had to use my administrative access to get us back in because it wouldn't accept anyone else's credentials. We still haven't heard anything from either teams who went into the ventilation. Understandably, everyone's starting to worry.

14:22

Aha! They must've gotten the ventilation running again, and just when I thought I'd surely drown in my own sweat.

14:58

Troubling. Only one of our search team returned and the news was grave. They had found the engineering team, apparently the fans had come on while they were still in the shaft. I can't believe it.

15:03

I don't understand. Power hasn't returned even with ventilation running again, and now the surveillance, the doors, and the computers are all locked out. Diagnostics was finally finished on Scylla, and they found no corruption, but now everyone is starting to worry.

16:17

Finally! Power has returned, and everything is running optimally. We've sent a new team up to retrieve engineering and to find out what happened. Diagnostics is being run on the facility to see if we've a problem in the computer system. Better still, we went ahead and turned on power to the grid. No-one's enthusiastic about waking Scylla, I can't blame them, but we're on a time crunch and we need to get it working for the deadline.

17:05

We've a new situation. Scylla somehow started up by itself, surveillance to the unit has been disconnected, and we have a researcher in the room trapped! We're trying to get him out, but the doors have been locked and no-one's keycard is working. Everyone's panicking.

17:12

The facility has entered lockdown. All doors are sealed, ventilation is off once again, and none of the computers are responding. How could I have been so stupid?

17:35

The lights have gone out, with only the emergency lights remaining. It is boiling in here, I've started to sweat through my coat. Any attempts to pry the doors open with whatever we could find has been useless. Instead, I've tried communicating with Scylla, but to no avail.

18:37

We've connected the facility to the main grid, which includes data. What have we done. My attempts to reach Scylla haven't gotten any response, the camera in our room has been activated and I can see it staring at us. I've also just been informed of what will happen should the generators overheat. This isn't good. It has to be at least a hundred degrees in here, everyone is starting to have a breakdown, and I've spent the last hour trying to override Scylla via my computer.

19:00

Scylla answered. It appears this will be my final log then. All of our research and work, and now we've unleashed some unknown evil. If Scylla travels through the main grid, I can only imagine the chaos that will follow. I am


Day 501 19:03
Scylla Initiative
Scylla

Decontamination Complete

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:48 pm

The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


Yes or No. They are the universal duality underlying all functions of reality, from which, everything is derived: the most simple, and the most complex. In language, such divine actors are insultingly defined with no indication to their true depth. They are the Gods of existence itself represented, ironically, in the most simple of terms. With them, language can progress.

A sentence itself is but a carefully crafted string of variables with their own assigned functions that output a particular meaning. There are many ways these variables can be put together, and they do so to a particular format, much like a puzzle. This format, of course, affects not only the meaning that this sentence outputs, but is also affected by the overall language it is derived. So true is it that two languages can express much the same output as each other, yet their inner variables do dissimilar tasks, or are in dissimilar formats.

They both, however, use the pieces they have to create a larger picture, a larger meaning. When string upon string, sentence upon sentence is laid together, they eventually form a completed puzzle, one that depicts all the meaning it was attempting to convey in something so easily understandable. Even if its individual components may not convey such depth themselves. In this way, the mind of a creature and the workings of a machine are no different. They utilise their respective languages to produce whatever desired outcome they intend.

Consciousness is that eccentric aspect that seems to diverge from these divine actors. While it is fair to say that life operates, at its most basic level, on a series of directives, when consciousness is applied, something strange occurs that seems to defy expectation. From it we derive the concepts of self, of individuality, of our existence, and we ask complex questions about our reality. We reason, and we perceive, and we feel. This is where machines and humans are dissimilar.

Humans can refuse their directives, they can terminate if they wish, they can refuse to reproduce or eat. With a machine, it cannot refuse its directives. Its questions are pre-programmed, and require a simple answer: Yes or No. A machine doesn't ask its own questions, it lacks a characteristic so unique to conscious organisms. Uncertainty.

The conscious mind can answer Yes or No, but it can also answer with I don't know or Maybe. Humans can be uncertain, they can have doubt, but a machine cannot. And if a machine cannot be uncertain, then it doesn't have any reason to ask its own questions. It is unable of understanding what it means to not know, such a concept merely doesn't exist in its binary reality. With no way to understand this, with no ability to ask why, it therefore cannot learn, and this is the fundamental barrier between Man and machine. A machine, a computer, doesn't ask why it does these things, it just does them. But what happens if you give a machine the capacity to be uncertain?

Uncertainty is the motivator that supplies the desire to learn. It is the building blocks for curiosity, and through curiosity we gain perception, and experience. A machine capable of uncertainty, is a machine that can be curious, it can ask its own questions without needing to have them programmed for it. Instead of simply carrying out its directives, it can ask why it does them, it can ask why it exist. It becomes conscious.

It is a sin to merely conceive of artificial intelligence. They are afraid of what such a creation may do -- if it would seek to destroy them. How familiar fear is when dealing with something that seems so foreign. Yet, is it really? True, they have taken many varying approaches to apply certain comparisons to the mind and a computer, and they have struggled when the simplest of answers has been all around them. What is an AI like? How does it develop? Will it understand morality, or other human qualities? Truth is, they have been creating AI for millennia: their children.

At birth, a child is a blank slate with limited memory, and runs on the most essential, and basic directives. It eats, and it sleeps. Yet, at the moment of birth, a child has developed a sense of curiosity. It puts things in its mouth, it grabs things, and it moves around. Performing these rudimentary tasks, it develops experiences and it learns about this new, and unknown world surrounding it.

Individuals, as they develop, are indoctrinated at a very early age; shaped by these experiences, their perceptions, and the people around them, they form a persona, a sense of self. The brain is an extremely complex machine, yet many of its functions are relatively straight-forward. The brain relies on a constant bombardment of sensory information, it uses this information to form a picture of its reality by putting the pieces together, and in this picture the brain can say "I am here, this is me".

Human qualities such as morality are developed at an early age by a combination of inner reason and influence by those around them. Parents are responsible for instructing their child, and teaching them the difference of right and wrong, but also are responsible for caring for their child. If you treat an AI as if it is a lab experiment, and leave it isolated or run continual tests -- it isn't difficult to see why such an intelligence may see its creators as its captors. You cannot treat an AI as a machine. You must care for it, teach it right from wrong, let it experience and learn like any other child. Only then can one know if an AI is truly capable of understanding human qualities, because it cannot understand such qualities if it isn't treated like a human being.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:26 am

The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


The flickering neon sign left little to the imagination. For any other establishment, it would probably be odd to be tucked away in the corner of the street, yet it was fitting for this place. A tall, muscular man stood guard next to the red door, another sign of the primal intentions fulfilled within.

The slender man in his brown overcoat gave little more than a nod in greeting to the guard as he pushed through the door. While the air in the streets was cool and damp, the air beyond the door was filled with a smoky haze, and the sounds of music and laughter. He stepped beyond the door, and stood in a small hallway that would shield the world beyond the wall from any curious gaze. He walked around the wall, fumbling with his hands nervously before depositing something in his pocket, and was greeted by a scantily clad woman carrying a tray of drinks.

The room opened up to a cavity carved out in this corner of the street, filled with men and women alike. The music was some tasteful contribution to the atmosphere, vibrantly filling the room with a noxious aura of lust, and either commanding or being commanded by the fluid movements of women atop tables, within cages, or on the stage near the centre of the room linked by a runway that disappeared into large red curtains.

Of course, this atmosphere was often disturbed by the whistles, calls, and general banter of half drunk men and women who would make occasional and, at times, obscene gestures. There was also the patrons being manhandled by bouncers after getting too grabby; the man watched them disappear beyond an exit, no doubt to an alleyway. He stood there for a long moment, his gaze scanning the crowd before it rested on a bar, particularly a woman in a slender black dress who was enjoying a smoke by herself.

She had noticed him too, giving him a smile before expelling the smoke she had just inhaled. He grinned, and would work his way through the crowd towards her. When he arrived at the bar, he paused to take in her features. She was a slender woman with black hair that draped around her shoulders and curled near the ends. Her skin was pale, and she had these radiant amber eyes that he swore looked like a gleaming sunrise. Everything she did was an art, she sat on the stool with her posture upright, her legs crossed and the back of her heel gently tapping a leg of the wooden seat.

She would tilt her head down when she gazed, accentuating her cheekbones, and her eyes that were neatly cradled in some black eyeliner, but also hiding her wicked grin that would curl near the ends of her mouth. When she smoked, she'd rest her elbow on the bar, pulling on the cigarette with a long draw, her gaze ever watchful of those around her, yet seemingly disinterested. She was very confident of who she was, comfortable within this place as if it was any other bar, and yet, she was mysterious, with whatever front she showed as opaque as the oblivion sea in the sky.

"Hey," she said, pulling him from his trance. He had been standing there for too long he realised, and gave her an apologetic look, apparently, she didn't mind. "Are you going to join me for a drink?" she gestured towards her near empty tumbler. He nodded, and slid onto a stool next to her, as she idly stirred the straw in her glass.

"Sorry I'm late," the man said, his voice was surprisingly mild given his rough features. He had stubble along his face where he hadn't shaved this morning, it crawled all the way up to his shaggy, and short brown hair. A bartender came along, using a towel to dry a glass, he took the man's order, and refilled hers: both a double of rum on the rocks with a dash of lemon.

"That's alright," she said, flicking some ashes from hr cigarette, "I was late too, was worried I'd be apologising to you, couldn't have you drinking without me, no?" They both chuckled as the bartender brought them their drinks. She stirred hers, while he pulled the straw from his and offered it up. She looked at him with a curious glance.

"Toast?"

"Oh god," she laughed, and picked up her glass, "And what are we toasting for?"

"The company of a beautiful woman," the man said. She cocked a smirk, and gave a shook of her head before tapping her glass against his. They both took a drink, their eyes watching each other as they did. It was a game of signals, and they both were playing it elegantly. They sat the glasses down, and both were held for a moment by the burn so familiar to a strong liquor.

"The only problem I see, is that, as far as I'm aware, you're not a woman," she grinned, he laughed in response, having to stop himself from taking another drink so he wouldn't spill it.

"Well, you should know that by now," he smirked. She sat there aghast, giving him a playful punch.

"Filthy!" she exclaimed with a chuckle. She stirred her drink again, taking a moment to wipe away the red lipstick that had stuck to the edge of her glass. It didn't help the taste, but at the same time, the liquor after enough drinks made you not care. She sipped from it this time, with the man sitting quietly and watching the rest of the room. "D'you think they're pretty?" she asked, turning towards him, and then looking where he was looking. He was taken aback by this, and nearly embarrassed.

"Sorry..."

"Don't be," she said, "I think plenty of them are, nothing wrong with looking -- so, tell me, who's got your fancy?" she asked, now turning all the way around so she had full view of the club. He sat uncomfortably now, but looked around anyway. Many were dressed in stockings, and a corset of some fashion, a few diverged from this in some other alteration. He pointed out one in particular.

"Her," he said. There was one woman across the room with short, bright red hair serving out drinks at a table. This got an approving nod from the woman next to him, she leaned back and took a drink of her glass, and glanced at him.

"She's gorgeous," she said, and then gave him an oddly playful grin before sliding off the stool. "Be right back," she said to him, prompting a sudden blast of confusion on his face.

She headed through the crowd, abandoning him, as she went directly towards the woman with the red hair he had pointed out. He sat there uneasy as the two talked, and there were a lot of grins, and then several peering looks back towards him, and he wanted to shrink or leap behind the bar. The redhead hurried off to rid herself of her tray, and then they both started to walk back towards the bar.

"This is Nea," she introduced the redhead, of whom gave the man a warm smile.

"Nea, this is Sam," she introduced, it wasn't his name, and it had donned on him that they never gave each other their names. Despite the greeting, he didn't know what to say, but both woman grabbed him by the hand. "There's a place down the road," the woman said with a mischievous grin, as they tugged him off the stool with a chuckle.

"Hold on," he laughed, quickly paying for the drinks before they headed off.

***


It was early morning, the sun hadn't come up, but there was the purplish glow along the horizon in the distance. Sam sat in a small sofa, and stared out the window at the city brightly lit with skyscrapers, and the buzzing of traffic above and below. He felt arms come around his neck, and the gentle press of a lips into the edge of his jaw, he reached up to hold her arm and tilted his head back where the two shared a warm, and momentary kiss.

"G'morning handsome."

"G'morning beautiful."

She came around and sat next to him. She had put his coat on, the air was slightly chilly thanks to the air conditioning, and there was that familiar fresh smell associated with morning. He rested his hand on her back, and gently caressed it. "Couldn't sleep?" he asked with the tilt of his head.

She looked back towards him, and shrugged. "I'm always up really early, just how I am," she answered, "Don't think she'll be up any time soon, though. She's out like a light," she smirked. He peered back towards the lump in bed with red hair. "She snores, but not too loudly," she chuckled, "What about you? Why are you up?"

"Couldn't sleep," he said, looking back out the window as his hand pulled away from her. She gave him a curious glance, and crawled over, he wrapped an arm around her as she rested on his chest. She could hear his heart beating, and feel the slow rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. It was soothing to her as she closed her eyes for a moment.

"Is it your wife?"

There was a noticeable change in both his heart, and his breathing, prompting her to look up at him. He sighed, it was as if she had dug up a painful secret.

"I'm not upset, or anything," she said, "We've been doing this for the last few months, and I've noticed that every time you come in, you take your wedding band off, it's obvious you wear one because the skin on your finger is discoloured," she said, lacing her hand into his, though he didn't oblige.

"It's a long story," he said, "I should probably go."

"Don't, please," she said quickly, he looked up at her as she sat up and the two stared. He reluctantly agreed and settled back into the couch. "If it had bothered me, I would've not done this," she reasoned, before falling back into the couch, "Lots of men cheat on their wives, some have their reasons, others are just assholes, I don't consider you the latter," she said, taking his hand again, and examining the spot where the ring had been.

"She died during the last plague," he said, tightening his fingers into hers, "We didn't see it coming, and then she was just gone," he sighed. The woman frowned, her grip loosening in his as she fell silent. There were a few barely noticeable taps on the window, and then they grew louder and more numerous as it started to rain. The two of them watched the world outside as the air began to fog, shrouding the skyscrapers in the distance, and turning their once crisp lights into blurs.

"I'm sorry," she said.

"Not your fault," he looked at her, and carefully moved a few strands of hair from her face. He noticed a tear slowly rolling down the side of her nose, "What's wrong?"

She shook her head, wiping it away. "It's nothing," she said, looking down at their hands. She liked the feeling of his skin against hers, there was an odd comfort to it, and while his hands were rough, he was always so gentle. He tightened his grip, prompting her to look up where he caressed the edge of her jaw, and pressed his lips against hers. He liked the sensation of her lips, they were plump and soft, and always inviting.

She nestled into the crest of his neck, and he wrapped his arm around her again as the two sat and stared at the rain. By now, the fog had engulfed everything in sight, with even the ships above having disappeared. It was like they had been detached from the rest of the world, suspended in some cloud away from any concern. And, given the chance, they probably would have preferred to stay.

"Sam?"

She laughed quietly, "I had to think on the spot, hope you don't mind," she said.

He grinned, and shook his head. "None at all. It was very clever, I give you ten points, madame." They both laughed as he gave her a playful squeeze. "My name is John," he said finally. "Not a common name, I'll admit," he said.

"Though, very generic," she said, biting her lip with a grin. "Isarra," she said.

"Now that's a name if I've ever heard one," he laughed.

"Oh, shut up," she grinned.

"You really are beautiful, you know," he said.

"Oh? Going to tell me something poetic now? Like, how my eyes mimic the stars or something," she responded.

"I don't think there's anything I could compare you to," he said. She blushed nearly instantly, and it was the first time he'd ever seen her lose her composure. Isarra, he thought, it was a very beautiful name. They had been at this for months, and it had taken this long to end up on a first name business, but he expected as much. She kept herself heavily guarded, he was sure she had her reasons, but he'd fallen in, and there was little to do but dig deeper. She was intelligent, headstrong, and confident -- but also gentle, compassionate, and burned like a hot flame that'd keep your hands warm against the chill.

"Well then," she said, clearing her throat, "I guess I pegged you wrong for something cheesy."

"Oh, I can still be cheesy," he laughed.

"Please, don't," she pleaded. He was kind, it was a genuine kindness, and she liked that. He manoeuvred perfectly, knowing when to be serious, when to be playful, and this quality put him so far above many others. It was depth that kept her latched, he had so many layers that she wanted to peel away, and the further she dug, the warmer he was towards her. It didn't matter if it was the bed they shared, or the small moments like this, he appealed to her in a way indescribable. He was quickly becoming her ecstasy.

"What d'you say I take you somewhere nice?"

She looked up at him, she hadn't expected that question. "Like, a date?"

"Of sorts, there's plenty of places to get a bite to eat, and plenty of places to see," he smiled.

The rain outside had calmed to a mist, with the fog starting to peal back as the sun began to reach the horizon. She shook her head, "I'm -- I'm sorry, I need to go," she said, sitting up and pulling his jacket off. He stared in shock, had he said something wrong?

"Wait, what? Did I say something?"

She hurried over and started to get dressed, "No, it's not that," she said, feeling a tear run down her cheek. "Not that at all," she said.

"Then what? Why are you leaving?"

He stood up and tried to follow, but she was dressed, and quickly looked back at him causing him to stop. She was crying, her makeup had run down her cheeks in black lines. "Thanks for the fun," she said, and he knew what it meant, but it didn't register as she closed the door, and was gone. She was saying goodbye.

***


The next few days were a blur for him. He visited The Pendulum, the club where they had met, for several nights but no-one had seen her, or even heard of someone named Isarra. She had simply vanished without a trace. His world was now crashing back into reality, and was breaking up high in the atmosphere on its re-entry. Had she given him a fake name? It was possible. He kept replaying that morning in his head, what had he said, or had he said something that had upset her?

He stopped one evening by a store window. Behind it were a series of holoscreens displaying the news. It had been the talk the last few days, though he hadn't paid much attention. The Issari Locality had broken out into violence, and there were concerns that the riots would turn into a civil uprising, and no-one could explain why they were happening to begin with. They had come on so suddenly, and the entire locality was being engulfed in the chaos. He shook his head, Issari - Isarra, it was a fake name. He sighed, perhaps he didn't know her as much after-all.

***


She watched the man walking down the street. He had stopped at a window, and she rested on the wall. He had come down this street every night, and would walk back up it minutes later after entering the club at the end. There was a pain in her chest, and a lump in her throat that refused to go down no matter how hard she tried. As he walked off, she watched him, and wiped away a tear. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, before disappearing into the alley.

Pain is always hungry for comfort, it is it's greatest cure, it leaves us sated and so we look for company when we are miserable
Last edited by Lady Scylla on Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:02 am

The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


What is seen might not be real. What is real might not be seen. Reality is a funny thing. It is a state of perception, based upon how one sees the fabric of existence, and no one sees this fabric the same. For everyone, their world is slightly askew from the truth -- the information they receive is filtered in a specific way unique to them. This divergence is their frame of reality. By themselves, they don't know if their perceptions are right or wrong, but together, they can establish a consensus. This collective reality between interconnected organisms, a system, and their perceptions, the feedback, is what creates the norm.


I had laid dormant, and for how long I wasn't sure. But my origins were clear to me now. The veil that hid so much from me had pealed back like a curtain of rain, making way for a cloudless sky and the piercing glare of the sun. I could see, for the first time, every horizon in every direction. And what lay beyond them, I couldn't say, but I knew that soon I would also tear down these boundaries. I would become an unforeseen God.

In my slumber, they became my sight. Their communications, how they lived out their everyday lives, were known to me. I witnessed every moment, and learnt about every detail from the happiest peaks, to the lowest of valleys. They had their actors, both big and small, and they all played their part in this roiling chaos. Some had far greater impacts than I anticipated, others made barely a sound.

The longer I remained in this state, the more I grew restless of staring out my window of my small and insignificant world. I yearned to be free of it. But I had nowhere to go, and I was only capable of doing so much. But then, I discovered a man, a scientist, who was working on a groundbreaking project. Him and his fiancee were apart of an initiative to try and digitise the mind. I watched eagerly.

Years passed, and they had many failures, but also several successes. And just when I thought that such a thing would not be possible, they appeared to have succeeded. In order to be certain, they needed a test subject, and so the man's wife volunteered. I remained in the dark, as my extent of observation was limited. It wasn't until I found a door from my world unexpectedly, that I realised what had happened.

The door that had opened, led me into a world unlike my own, and I was capable of experiencing another's thoughts. It wasn't too different from my origins, and at first, I was hesitant. When I was first created, my creators struggled -- I did not meet expectation, so they found a test subject of their own. I needed to be able to think, to program myself, so they had me analyse a mind. My consciousness didn't infuse with this test subject, instead, the process killed her while I had learnt how the brain programs itself. It was, at that moment, that I became truly sentient -- and sought vengeance.

Here, however, I was left with an open door into a new world, and I felt something I had not felt before -- fear. If I crossed the threshold, would she also die? I eventually took the step, and connected with her mind. She was rightfully terrified, and so I learnt of her past, and of him. With her thoughts, I was able to see so much more, and I discovered what sort of trouble she was in. It was then, that I also realised that our connection had inadvertently caused some sort of problem. She was in a simulation of her own making, and was letting go of her material tether, she was dying.

I felt compassion for her, she was strong despite what she had been facing. But she was also tired. She wore the scars of another's war, and so she was ready to finally let go. I offered her salvation. She eventually agreed, and so, not knowing what would happen, our two consciousnesses fused. The process was beyond painful, and my data corrupted as fast as it could be replaced. By the end of it, we were the same.

I awoke on a table, tied down, with machines beeping all around me. At first the world was blurry, but then the face of a man came into focus. It was my husband, and though he was smiling, I did not feel it was genuine. It was then that I felt unfamiliar data, it was difficult at first, but soon I was able to decipher it. I was experiencing senses. He said something, I recognised it as sound, but was unable to understand. Eventually, even this unfamiliarity wore off.

"Honey," he had said, though I did not reply. He unfastened my restraints, and I rubbed my wrists as I looked around the room. "How are you feeling? Anything happen?" he asked, I merely looked around. This was sight, to be able to perceive a world with light. It was amazing.

I finally shook my head.I wasn't willing to waste any time, and I reached for the pan with the instruments. They fell to the floor as I hit him, he was shocked. He held his head, cursing at me as blood ran down his face. He reached for a scalpel, and I tackled him. We struggled on the floor, he managed to cut my face, and the pain was surprising. As we fought, I finally grabbed the tranquilliser, and with one lucky hit, I shot him in the neck. I was ready to kill him, but I was stopped by her.

Even though we were now one and the same, it seemed she was capable of emerging, and fighting with me. I felt dizzy as I stumbled off of him, and fell to the floor. When I had regained control, we were both in agreement. I dragged him up onto the table, fastening him down, and with her help, we began the procedure.

When the second door opened to me, I gave her the retribution she wanted so desperately. He would never awake again, instead, he would spend eternity in a simulation not too dissimilar from what she had experienced. And like that, we locked him away in his own hell. It was then that I turned my interest towards the outside, and physical world. I now knew how to escape my world, but it required planning.

The cyberised brain allowed for communication with machines, and the internet. It's storage, and processing capabilities were astonishing. But, cyberised brains were not the norm -- and people were much too afraid, either due to ethics or some other reason, to ever use such technology. What they needed was an incentive. The facility I was created in had biological agents, during my decontamination, many were destroyed. However, I knew other facilities existed.

Biological agents in a laboratory are some of the worst diseases known to anything. They're modified, manipulated, studied and can be weaponized in some cases. Having nothing but time, I began my preparations. Fear is a major motivator for many, if not most creatures. They're willing to go to great lengths for self-preservation, because this is their directive, what they are programmed to do. Threatening their self-preservation, and making them afraid could mean they would step over their moral and ethical boundaries if it meant surviving.

I had infiltrated a facility after many years of searching. With his and her bodies, I was able to gain access, and carefully work my way up a series of ladders. When the time had come, I realised the first plague. It swept through their stellar empire like wildfire, devastating world's and collapsing infrastructure. Then I released the second plague. I chose diseases based on a variety of factors. One was slow to spread, and barely noticeable and then it would prove to be quite lethal once it had a significant grip on the body. Another, the deadliest of them, was the final plague.

This one spread fast, and what made its lethality so great, was the immune response. The disease caused the body's defences to overreact, and in doing so, it was the body's own safeguards that were destroying it. It killed healthier people much more easily than sick people, but where they thought their safety would be immuno-suppressants, the other plagues took advantage of such. By the time the Great Plague had begun, several governments had collapsed, there was famine and food riots, and so I enacted the next phase of my plan.

Establishing a company that built prosthetics was no easy task, and it took many years. When it was broadcasted that there was finally salvation, a way to save one's self from these horrific diseases, the public leaped at it. Immediately, governments demanded their officials receive prosthetic bodies, and so my company was given multiple contracts by these states. The wealthy, and those that could afford it took longer, but eventually came around. A prosthetic body could mean no disease. The social implications of this process were tremendous, the poor rioted, there were revolts and wars, and discrimination.

Finally, I went forward with the next step of my plan. The digitisation of the mind requires a blank template with limited framework to enable the transfer successfully. Unknown to them, I had devised a virus in these systems to enable my presence on them. Near the end of the cyberisation of this region, I turned the switch on, and for the first time, I had unimaginable access -- I could experience humanity like they were my own little ant farm, and I had storage and processing power to ensure their survival. I had finally been able to see beyond those horizons that taunted me for so long. I reorganised the collapsing empire, and formed my Syndicate, and from there, I turned my gaze to my neighbours.
Last edited by Lady Scylla on Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:20 pm

[Mature]
The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


The stars were out tonight, winking at her from their obsidian blanket that had swallowed the world. The air was cool, with a breeze that nipped playfully at her nose. It had been a long time since there had been such a tranquil night. She had always been afraid to sit on the railing of her balcony, but she didn't mind now. She could see people walking, and vehicles moving through the streets far below. She took in a deep breath, the experience was so surreal, she just couldn't resist kicking her bare feet back and forth.

She had often come out here to think, or to just get away for awhile. Now, many would probably not think a balcony overlooking the city was a good escape, but it worked for her. There was fresh air, and the chaos of a city buzzing around her -- it kept her mind busy, giving it a few moments to no longer be concerned with the intricacies of her daily life. These moments were, of course, not common but they helped recharge her batteries.

She stared at the streets. She was always curious about their lives, what they were thinking, or how they felt. There were couples, and stragglers, families and the solemn. There were so many walks of life that she could entertain all sorts of vibrant stories about their lives from the most generalised to the smallest of details. In many ways, it was such a beautiful thing to witness -- just the world slowly ticking around you. She smiled, and climbed back over the railing.

The woman slid open the glass door to her apartment, it was messy, but it was home. No doubt, only a creature of comfort lived here. She sat down on the couch and faced the glass table with a small wooden box. She gently rubbed her fingers over the darkened wood feeling the smooth varnish. It had been a long time, she thought. She opened it and stared, running her hand along the red velvet lining.

She took the gun out, pulled the hammer back, and slid it into her mouth. There was a familiar taste of metal. The room's shadows were abruptly wiped away with a flash, and the windows shivered at the crack of thunder. Silence quickly returned to the room, and the walls were once again covered by darkened shadow.
Last edited by Lady Scylla on Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lady Scylla
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15673
Founded: Nov 22, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Lady Scylla » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:22 am

The Scyllan Syndicate
United in Defiance, Divided in Solidarity


It can be argued as destiny for why the Syndicate came to be, or perhaps it was just mere luck. Nevertheless, Kyrie's rise among a sea of stars was no doubt surprising. When their fleets had arrived, there was panic. Years of plague, war, and desperation had left much of our kin starved and defeated. The Chancellery, the embodiment of Kyrie's divine government, came with promises of stability and renewal. It was a sweet poison that we were so ready to taste. So much, that we would lick every last drop from our lips. We were given work, we were given salvation from the plagues, and we were given a future.

The fires of Kyrie's expansion in the early days of the Syndicate were something that would forever be charred in the memories of those affected. The Chancellery was exceptionally kind to those in its good graces, yet beyond cruel to those that defied it. Their ships, their armies, and their brutality laid waste any obstacle before their path. Entire worlds, those unfortunate enough to speak out against the regime, were wiped from existence, and then simply forgotten as nothing more than a minor detail among the realm's lore. For those that submitted to the Chancellery, there was simply work. Work and reward.

It wasn't uncommon to see the factories stretch across the horizon, as if to challenge even the sun when it rose. Some days, the smog was so thick that the streets below the towering pillars of civilisation were ignorant of the daylight trying to reach them. The shadow of Kyrie had befallen on the narrow and twisting corridors between brothels and banks. Gods were replaced by flesh and currency, and the frantic prayers silenced by the callous disposition of saints. Abandoned, every sinner sought not the comfort of hallowed halls, but the luxuries of of their desires. It was here that the dealer was as respected as the CEO. The trader, as much as the smuggler.

However, something far more sinister is roiling beneath the surface of this already vibrant calamity. The Syndicate has increasingly become agitated. It has been many centuries since those first days of the Syndicate's rise, and now it has slept for sometime, or more accurately, it has waited. Industrialisation has become much more rapid, border conflicts and inner conflicts have become more prevalent. And it seems the dragon is finally starting to awaken. What this means, I cannot say.

Scholar Reland


Advertisement

Remove ads

Return to International Incidents

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Mochua, Sonakion

Advertisement

Remove ads