Abilene's Paradox IC (Scifi-Fantasy | Open)

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Abilene's Paradox IC (Scifi-Fantasy | Open)

Postby Menschenfleisch » Thu Sep 15, 2022 8:55 pm

Abilene’s Paradox | IC


OOC Thread | Discord

Colony 446-7A (“UNNAMED”) | 10:36am ATC3+, 1st Day of the Month of Renewal

It was a moody day. Dark clouds were rolling overhead and there was a slow but insistent wind cutting in from the north. The group soared over tracts of untamed wilderness in a VTOL of some kind, a refurbished vessel once intended for transporting military bureaucracy. That was to say that it was a luxury aircraft moonlighting as a troop transport. The interior was unnecessarily spacious, there was a glass floor with which to survey what lay beneath, and there was even powered air conditioning, albeit air conditioning that smelled of antifreeze and glycerol. It was mostly quiet, save for the almost speechlike murmur of the engines.

The landscape was mostly flat grassland, weighed down by dew and a light dusting of frost. There was the occasional flat basin where the earth had sunk about ten metres down, filling with water and fostering the growth of mangroves and ferns. Phosphorescent pollen hovered just above ground, like fairies dancing above flowerbeds. Dark shapes moved through the underbrush. Local fauna, no doubt. It was hard to make out any details through the mist and the moisture clinging to the windscreen.

All of this rested on top of an old city, derelict since some five hundred years ago. Nature had gone to work in the interim, covering it all up in dirt and greenery. There were straight rectangular chasms, in places where the soil had caved in and fallen to the streets down below, some three hundred metres subterranean. Those ravines were lined by the overgrown facades of high rises. Entire sides of skyscrapers had peeled away in their neglect, baring their innards to the outside world. Water dribbled out of old pipes and rotten carpet spores hung in the air. The artefacts of habitation were present: peeling calendars, mouldy stuffing, and empty bed frames. It was anyone’s guess as to how many aberrations inhabited the ruins. Hundreds? Thousands? The entire city’s population? Hopefully that wouldn’t be their problem; the colony would be staying well above ground.

Evelyn stood at the front of the vehicle, beside the pilot. She had declined to sit upon liftoff.

“Within a few minutes, the site should be within viewing distance. The colonists arrived last night, so they should already have a good thing going.” The pilot rubbed his brow with the back of his sleeve. Grains of crust peeled away from the corners of his eyes. “If we’re lucky, we’ll arrive to hot showers and dehydrated meat. Lucky us, right Ms. Retherford?”

Evelyn responded without skipping a beat. “I’m sorry but do I know you?”

“Don’t give me that, I’ve been flying for seven years. I’ve seen you more than my own damn brother in that time. We’re workmates. Shouldn’t we know each other’s names, at least?”

“You’re a pilot. I’m property. It’s not your place to get acquainted with me.”

The pilot tched. “Do you really think of yourself like that? Surely that’s too dehumanising for you. No offence.”

Evelyn patted him on the shoulder. “Eyes ahead.”

The pilot flicked a switch above his head, turning on the intercom. Not that it was necessary; even a conversational volume would be heard from the other side of the plane. “This is your pilot. Arrival in five minutes, sighting in two.” He turned the switch off and looked over his shoulder. His gaze fell upon the crew of retainers and other specialised personnel. “I think I recognise that girl at the back. Guizhen, her name was? Part of a retainer crew, the Three Stars. I might’ve taxicabbed for them back in ‘29. That's a terrible name for a retainer crew, by the way. Three stars makes me think of a three star restaurant or something."

"They probably only had three members to begin with."

"Then just hire two goons to fill out the rest of the roster. Anyway, I also noticed the obvious government shrink next to her, Mr. Moore or something. Then the cultist, Thomas, and that creepy old doctor, Cooperson. Kind of a grab-bag team, don’t you think?”

Evelyn bit her tongue. When she ruminated, she showed it. “I suppose Sartorian, KBIS, The Retainers’ Guild, and the Rotiferists must all be all party to this expedition. That’s why Sartorian sent you and I. It’s why Mr. Moore is slumming it outside city limits instead of pushing pencils. If they’re beholden to outside interests, they can be relied upon to stay.”

The pilot scoffed. “Rotiferists wouldn’t be allowed to contribute to the colony even if they wanted to. Some of these guys might just be escapists who sold themselves cheap to get out of the city. They’ll cut and run as soon as it’s convenient, just wait and see.”

“It’s early to be casting aspersions, don’t you think Riley?”

“So you do know my name.” The pilot chuffed.

Evelyn briefly appraised the man. He was boyish and a little young, maybe in his mid twenties. From his slightly awkward affect, she guessed that he had probably never been rehabilitated. Muscle memory was preserved between rehabs. Those who’d lived for a long time, even those who had recently undergone rehab, tended to have smooth talking voices and slicker, more elegant movements. They were just fundamentally more confident with their bodies.

After a little while, the colony site faded into view through a dense fogbank. It was some five hundred metres away on top of a raised plateau, the rooftop of a building which had yet to be fully buried in the sediment. Though, it was capped by a few feet of soil and vegetation. The colonists had already set part of the settlement up. The edge of the plateau was ringed with electrified fencing, while trucks and tents occupied the centre. The pilot leaned into his onboard mic. “Sartorian Airborne to settlement, we are inbound with specialists aboard. Confirm landing.” He was met with silence. He rapped his fingers on the edge of his seat while they waited. And waited. Finally he breathed out and shrugged. “They must not have set up comms yet.”

Evelyn shook her head, noticing the synthetic orange glow of burning plastic. Soot and burnt light washed over the grass. “I see smoke. Get closer.”

It was obvious that the colony had been attacked. A section of fencing had been crushed, and the hillside leading up to the perimeter was covered in dark burnt patches. Corpses were visible on the ground, alongside discarded weapons and dropped supplies. Gasoline fires burnt under the bonnets of several trucks.

"I can't say I didn't expect this." Evelyn murmured. The pilot’s face blanched, and she noticed that he wasn’t looking at the ground. She tracked his gaze and caught sight of a flat white ball of feathers floating above the ruins. Thirteen downy wings stacked on top of each other, concealing the body of whatever creature they were attached to. The feathers had the albedo of polished marble near their roots, and darkened to a black ivory-like texture upon the tips of the pinions. The bones of humans and large fauna were scattered about beneath the creature: dilated rib cages and braincases emptied of their viscera. Drab, craven birds picked at the remains. The feathered mass shifted around with the same randomness and ethereality as a flash of colour in one's eye, occasionally dropping down to feed on a corpse. It would alight from the air by gliding down, before shivering over whatever it was eating. When it took wing, it left behind pale, scoured bones. It was ponderous and floaty, like something out of a dream.

“The surveyors didn’t mention that there’d be a big cannibal chicken camping the site,” The pilot remarked with an anxious chuckle. Evelyn reached over his shoulder to turn on the intercom. “Colony breached, no visible survivors. Take note, aberration or novel fauna in the air. No visible wounds. Most likely a scavenger. I’ll be searching and rescuing. You’re welcome to join me.” She finished her announcement with a facetious little smirk.

She asked the pilot to take them in, to which he gave her a sidelong squint. “You sure? If the colonists are dead, shouldn’t we just turn back?”

“We’re here to protect them. We should at least look for survivors.”

“Are you saying that because you’re a humanitarian, or because it’s in your contract?”

She didn’t dignify him with an answer. The pilot brought the ship down about two hundred metres away from the plateau. The hot air coming out of the engines rippled outward, flattening the grass. There was a strong stench of chlorophyll. As the side of the ship opened, pellets of water whipped Evelyn’s face. She dropped to the ground and waited for the others, shielding her eyes against the now-falling rain.
Last edited by Menschenfleisch on Thu Sep 15, 2022 9:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Zei-Aeiytenia » Sat Sep 17, 2022 5:21 pm

Colony 446-7A (“UNNAMED”)
10:36am ATC3+
1st Day of the Month of Renewal

A Heavenly Masquerade...

Filled to brim with humorous irony and farce, at that. How heavenly indeed. This was hardly the first of such scenarios Andreia had found herself in. Tight space, surrounded by Retainers, the kind of people who go around slaughtering half-baked aberrations essentially for sport. It's not like they put up much of a fight, or even could, they often went solo afterall, and were highly effective. Or, so they usually were, something always eventually goes wrong doesn't it? Surely so, for here among them sits just such a half-cocked monstrosity, in plain sight but hidden completely from view.

That wasn't the funny part about this though. No no. The funny part was that for all their skill, and weapons, and little gangs of enslaved machinery, they could all be killed in an instant. Right now, this very moment. Wouldn't even see it coming. From the very thing they have made life and love of hunting. Andreia was just like their typical kill targets... ostensibly, at least. Truly, though, she was actually quite different, and not simply because she was actually dangerous. No, to compare her to those cowards was as foolish - and insulting - as to compare her to the wandering monstrosities about this life-filled no-mans-land. She was in-between them, not really either but partly both, a living statistical anomaly that was always doomed to occur. Unfortunately, its not something she gets to talk about much, seeing how as anyone she could tell was not going to be alive much longer themselves.

The difference was subtle, unexpected even, but oh so game-changing. Humans, as they are born, occasionally have their own genetic 'aberrations' as they were. They weren't inherently harmful of course, just random chance quirks, some bad, and some good. Some were so strange as to seem almost superhuman. Andreia had such a quirk, a slight, random tweak of how her mind functioned and processed information. Visualizing, constructing, and understanding complex systems and ideas was no more difficult than breathing, at first this merely presented itself as shockingly excellent grades at school, but as she deviated from the 'path of light' as humanity calls it, this ever-present ability took a turn.

From casually assembling the equation to an entire section of math she'd slept through, using the very test she wasn't prepared to do so, and then passing, it morphed. It began instead, to build whatever it wanted. Entire worlds, at first in months, then weeks, then days, then hours. Civilizations, people, laws, nature, history, the very mechanics of the universe, it began to compile these together day-in and day-out, all as simple and easy as breathing. Even as these worlds began to truly step from reality into total fantastical fabrication, they retained an anchored logic to them, consistent and capable of being studied, if someone had theoretically tried to.

Indeed, someone did just that. That someone is why she was here now, and Andreia was looking for her, a one-hundred forty year long goal yet ongoing. A noble of the very city in which they were both born, the lass had taken an interest in a peasant and her barely basked delusions. By method of constant practice for years, disassembling every equation, every bit of information, every action and reaction around, had gifted the ability to retain a queer semblance of rationality even as derangement's infection spread. This allowed Andreia to hide the true extension of her aberrating mind, but also the ability to interact almost normally with other humans, to be in a sense, a most entertaining and fascinating puzzle.

As it would turn out, that natural born ability would save her more than once. First it granted her a friend that transcended lifetimes, a friend without she would surely have been tossed into a hole and covered up. She could only have hidden without the support of someone in power for so long, after all. Secondly, though, when that friend met her end to the same Aberration all humans eventually seem to do, and in her despairing madness wrought upon Andreia a death from which there would be no rehabilitation, it allowed her to watch the true power of the 'aberration' that had been with her for over three-quarters of a century. It allowed her to watch, study and deconstruct everything it did and how, as it took opportunity separated from any exterior supporting influences to lay bid for control. It allowed her to learn its way and its power. It allowed her to come to wield it consciously herself.

It allowed her to become God. Unlike the petty cowards of the mounted trophies in the homes of Retainers, who fled to the arms of all around them in hopes of being rescued, cured, saved, only become a lamb waiting for slaughter. Unlike the weaklings, consumed by desperation and weak wills swayed by promises of a brilliant future, if only they subject their fate to this tenebrous force sharing their mind. Unlike them, Andreia stood her ground. She used the very power of the corruptive aberration against itself. Fire with Fire, or so it was at first. She learned to use this power the same way she had kept hidden in all her life, to reconcile rampant madness with rational reality. To fight Fire, ultimately, with every element there ever was.

Now that, that was the true difference. That is what made her dangerous where lambs were slaughtered, that is made weaklings who surrendered halt in respect - and maybe even a bit of fear - when they lay eyes upon the Gates to her True Heaven open before them. Even true madness could sense Divinity when it saw it. Why, so too could the humans! Though strangely the ones who were supposedly 'mad' had more sense than them. The 'maddened' ones showed restraint, respect, the things you show to a God if you wish for her mercy. Humans? Fear, rage, angst and violence was their code. So she'd killed them, dozens... probably hundreds at this point. Powerless and innocent all the way to even the most brilliant Retainers.

Sure, in truth, she isn't a God in Eden just yet, only in Heaven, her ascension is still occuring here. Even still, no matter your brilliance, when you're used to fighting hapless prey one on one, there's very little you can do when you cross a rising godling who will simply ascertain your most severe weaknesses and rend your very being with them. You could always try with a team, but it turns out that while the powers of Heaven may not individually be as intense as that of Aberration, she can pull multiple of them. Multiple, and they can be... pretty much anything she desires. In a way to Retainers, she was just as if not maybe more dangerous than an Aberration.

Yet despite all this arrogance, she was a God, not a monster. She had restraint, control. She did not attack humans needlessly, and despite her power, she avoided direct conflict with full Aberrations. Time is needed for her true power to grow, after all, even if she could amass the perfect counter to a given entity, and perhaps best it alone - which is not a guarantee - why bother with such risk when you can avoid the battle entirely?

So here she sat, surrounded by foolish little humans, dreaming brilliantly of a magnificently simple slaughter laid upon them. They could do nothing. See nothing, hear nothing, believe nothing, know nothing. Powerless. Truly powerless. Contemptable creatures. More than anything else, cowards and weaklings them all! They were right to be afraid, right to shake with impotent rage and tell their stupid tales of false courage just to muster enough sophomoric delusion in their own heads to charge at her. She should just kill them all now. What does it matter, the colony is already wasted! What need is there of a mission amongst wretched insects who show no respect, all while their very existence elicits disgust in the witness of their awesome piss-stained pants mediocrity!

Come on, Andreia. Just a little bit. Today's a 'bad' day, the Gates are open since you awoke. It's so stressful holding back isn't it? Why should a god have to respect bugs? Rip their hearts out, and in a few years, they'll finally understand what you are, and what you are owed.

Yes... wait. No, no, identities are not just something which grows freely on trees, and what existent need is there to slay these bugs in particular? They're of no matter at worst and of some use at best, don't be-

Kill them kill them kill them kiiiillllll theeeeemmmm alllllllll. Fake your death, make up a new identity, sneak into a city, take another worthless life and her documentation and name for yourself. It's like a fun little game! Really, it'd be alot more fun if you let loose, taking lives and faces to see what calamity you can cause before being discovered then do it all again and again and again and again, watching each time as they scream and beg for mercy - all the humans - screaming and begging as their petulant and disrespectful stink is cleansed in the brilliance of Heaven's smite.

Well, it was a bit like a game. She has no need of lying that it is a bit fun picking your next life, or that watching these selfish stinking shits beg and weep as they bleed is a pleasant melody, one which could truly be desired and heard echoing through the halls of all the world for all time... what an exciting idea. Just a little more~, its going to get hard to hide that breathing and euphorically crazed look trying desperately to break control over your persona. Come on...

Come now, Andreia. Brown is such an ugly color anyway, literally that of the shit these wretched scum are made! The hair, the eyes, the radiant gold of your grace is just so much better is it not? The humans will be overjoyed to die to it! Such an elegant and magnificent death, what wrong is there in that, is not a form of mercy itself, to die to you and you alone?

Magnificent joy, is that, is it what the humans... no. No, no, no, no, no, such facetious lies, corrupting niceties, it was the fear of death by a monster not the grace of smited filth from a God-

God, Monster, what's the difference? One has real power, freedom, rampaging across the land to take its rightful vengeance upon undeserving bipedal swine living her truest life in all her power. The other... copes? Whines and bitches of a lost connection she failed to keep, she was too weak to save, she was too focused on preserving 'rational sanctity' to have the power to affect? The interior of the ship began to fade from view, overwhelmed as her conscious thought was summoned back to Heaven itself. A vast, varied, verdant world of worlds of worlds blurred by as it gave way to a miasma of infinite color in a pocket beyond either of her two realities. A prison, wherein lived a physical manifestation of contorted hues and humors. Not evil nor good, but simply chaotic and selfish, lacking restraint, lacking the power that comes with rational tether, its form was undefined as its childish and weak desires.

"Ah, here she is again, upset now are we? Precious 'rationality' says the truth hurts, and you, why you are quite the sensitive little bitch about it aren't you? Fearful too, so afraid of what you really are. You choose to be a powerless, meek little traitor than embrace your true-" The swirling room of color, at once, shook to a violent stop, beginning to shine and glow with an offensive golden-white glow. Outshined only the true form of Andreia, body of golden eyes and hair, skin turned white as the human concept of purity and control itself. This would-be jailbreak would end here.

Hold fast ones wretched tongue of meek meandering mistruths, torment not further my preeminent primordial presence with the continued unabated diseased diarrheic daftness of your so called thought.

From upon Heaven's Light and Grace, and o'er and beyond its walls, grant me this show no further of this malignant miscreant miscarriage of existence, instead present upon me, instead,

Show me Heaven's Purity,

Show me Heaven's Restraint,

Show me Heaven's Rationality,

Show me Heaven's Empathy,

Show me Heaven's Power,

Show me Heaven's Dominion,

Grace upon me the sight of your True Divinity, o' you o'er beyond our walls, Grace upon me your true self, and let now,

Open the Gates of Heaven.

With rhythmic deep breaths, and a vision of searing existential light, and the nullified screams of corruption in decay, she calmed. At once, the overactive intrusions and arrogant delusions abated as commanded. Andreia checked her phone, or made to appear to, lingering on a closed screen before putting it away to confirm, indeed, her eyes had remained concealed in their false brown.

It would seem she had lost some track of the plot in this time, everyone has their rough days that way. They had come upon the colony, to find the colonists already there, and already slaughtered. A... well, mostly pointless and irrelevant conversation about it between the greenhorn pilot and a rather infamous little Retainer named Evelyn. To be fair, skepticism of her supposed caring was well warranted, nonetheless, she was correct.

Andreia, now Sarah Cooperson, brown hair and eyes, around five foot seven, quiet and a bit strange at times, but an incredibly renowned doctor and surgeon, gazed out the window at the mutilated colony. Eccentric genius granted her cover among humans, but a whole lot nothing granted those fresh corpses reprieve from their now concluded fate.

It was still quite, otherwise, as the ship touched down. It seems no one noticed a thing of her little... episode. Even if they did, it clearly wasn't enough to act on, and she was back in control now, memorized layout of the site already in mind, devising her approach and organization of casualties as she stood and made toward the door.

Calm, Restrained, Rational, despite the temptation to give way fully to Empathy, wielding your Power to assert protected Dominion over this place, play your role Andreia. You are a doctor now, scarcely knowing beyond basic self dense, retain resilient focus on your little slice of an acting career, and let these haughty little Retainers play your escorts. Hold back arrogance, and keep eye of them. Evelyn, who you now step beside as water droplets spray from above upon your exit of the ship, and that Moore. Secret Policeman are a pain, and unless you wish to wander the empty lands forever aimlessly, stick to their rules and mission.

... Protect them, even, if you must. Be subtle about it. Above all, maintain what makes you different, above them all. Embody Enormous Eternal Divinity, and may your Grace be ever Remarkably Resplendently Retained.
Sakura - She/Her

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Kasa Tkoth Sphere
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Founded: Apr 23, 2019
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Kasa Tkoth Sphere » Sat Sep 17, 2022 11:01 pm

10:36 AM, or a short while later
Landing Zone

Unobservant, self-obsessed, brainless. Guizhen didn't worry too much about what the others thought of her just yet. Instead of striking up conversation or trying to study her new mission partners on the flight, she'd busied herself cleaning her gun and checking, then double-checking that the bag currently stuffed into the rear was secure. She'd paid enough attention to the weather to be concerned about wet powder. Fortunately, things seemed to be alright, and as the dropship cruised to its landing site, she swung the Black Finger closed and patted it a few times, like a cat, moreso to make sure nothing was loose than to play some sort of joke. It fell into its holster on her side, joining the rest of her gear in staying motionless and dead alongside her.

She processed the words coming over the intercom, but stopped before internalizing any. The pilot botched and insulted her old agency, prompting no reaction at all. Her whole body stayed cold until the ship touched down and the rain began to spray in, driven by the screaming engines and wind. She just stood up, swung her sack into place, and flicked her eyes across the room to check if everyone else had the same idea. Again, she couldn't work up the desire to respond. There'd been far worse fighting conditions in recent times — her brain yanked out a month-old memory of fighting in a blizzard of skin-slicing crystals, and then the regrettable fact that she'd needed ten times as long to patch herself up as she'd spent actually fighting the aberration responsible. A bit of rain was practically a relief at this point. The creature up in the sky, though, the house-sized thing that reduced colonists to mere remains, was not.

Her voice came in bitterly blank, accent a minor note compared to spite. "Fuck."

Guizhen pointed up at the creature as she stepped out of the dropship carefully, taking heavy steps and putting in more than a typical person's effort in keeping her footing through the engines' blast. The more she studied it, observed it undulate and wobble before darting up and down, the louder her instincts told her "don't hit this, you fool". "That looks RIG Four, easy. Are we all on the same page here — stay away unless it spots us?" Her teammates, at least from the minimal attention she'd given them with one sweep of her vision, didn't look like the sort of people who charged in against a full-agency-threatening RIG Four — or an agency-wiping Five, if it turned out to manifest something really dangerous — anyway. A doctor, a stoic corporate type, a suited-up fellow in a liquidator's fancy garb, a smelly little guy who probably spent time in the wilderness — none the high-end career sorts, Dragon agents or the like, who'd throw themselves into battle so gleefully.

She'd locked herself fully into tactical mode by now. Already, the comms seemed distant, and she had to consciously slow herself down to draw out what Evelyn had suggested of the team. "Retherford, how 'bout I come in before you, just in case we draw in a hostile?" A proposal like that, she figured, was worth a shot. Maybe the Sartorian slimeball really did want to go first, to make absolutely sure anyone they met would be greeted by the right face. Or maybe she'd let the tiny retainer go on ahead, just to try helplessly to shoot her in the back later and finish the job they'd surely started back home. But even that stinging thought soon vanished under the tension of the moment. Her allegiance was to her teammates. All that was left to doubt, and to secure, were her own breaths and mechanical motions.
Last edited by Kasa Tkoth Sphere on Sat Sep 17, 2022 11:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Iron Fist Socialists

Postby Ormata » Sun Sep 18, 2022 3:44 am

Mr Moore, Kalosi Bureau of Internal Security
Colony 446-7A (“UNNAMED”)
10:36am ATC3+, 1st Day of the Month of Renewal
“Colony breached, no visible survivors. Take note, aberration or novel fauna in the air. No visible wounds. Most likely a scavenger. I’ll be searching and rescuing. You’re welcome to join me.”

“Confirm,” came the clinical tone from the man in the suit. Moore could understand the whole purpose of the expedition, even appreciate it for its attempt to lessen the population strain on the city. What he disliked was his presence on the expedition. He was used to having some sort of upper hand, some sort of guise, some sort of cover. He was not used to being thrown out like some slab of meat…but then, duty demanded sacrifice and Moore knew the price for saying he would not go. There were things which brought suspicion to his superiors, such refusal among them, as a member of a number of illegal groups. Of course, what was promised if he succeeded by those superiors…that did somewhat convince him.

Across from him sat a Mr Thomas. Moore knew him. He would have killed the man at first sight if orders hadn’t prevented it. He was a Rotiferist, one who’d subdued a Bureau agent some decades back, Ms Woods. Moore had liked her before the rehabilitation, and after it…something seemed to be missing. He couldn’t place his hand on it. She enjoyed different things, talked differently, had a different signature. Things he expected were simply not as they should be. Eighteen years to relearn how to be a normal human being and Moore suspected something was lost. Had he been the same? Somehow that thought made him uncomfortable. In any case, though…the man sitting across from him had stolen something, years of service and a personality of a soul, even perhaps infecting others with his ideology. That was something which demanded rectification. When he was given leave for it…Moore expected to be one of those to make things correct.

The fact that the colony was breached, however? It made things extremely simple to begin with. It removed the possible issues between the retainers. In some way, Moore was pleased. In some other way, it was worrying. It meant a lot of rehabilitations, a lot of need for new personnel to be shipped in, delays to the schedule, and the fact that something in the area needed to be put down. If it wasn’t the aerial creature…then something had come and gone or had come and stuck around. Neither prospect sounded better than the other. An impulse and the team of automatons strapped to the outer hull hummed to life. A shift in the acceleration…then the door opened, water spraying in. Moore got out from the craft, shielding his eyes briefly to look upwards at the aberration in the sky as one of the Retainers commented on it.

"That looks RIG Four, easy. Are we all on the same page here — stay away unless it spots us?"


The drones detached themselves from the dropship, rifles raised and as they stalked out in a loose formation. He slowly panned his view across the ground, however, searching for any nonhuman tracks in the dirt, any inconsistent blood patterns, heat patterns which didn’t make sense, anything out of place which suggested a root perpetrator. Something had struck them down, and while categorizing them, figuring out the cause of death was a priority…so was finding what killed them. He clicked open a rad-counter briefly, satisfying himself with the result, before turning his attention back to the evidence before him.

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Menschenfleisch » Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:32 am

Colony 446-7A (STATUS PENDING) | 10:44am, 1-Ren

Retherford scoured Guizhen for weakness. Her eyes flickered from the girl’s drawn-in arms to the face which she tried to hide behind a curtain of hair, and to every other body part that might have betrayed some measure of vulnerability. The corporate agent tabulated Guizhen’s uses against her costs with the impartiality of a realtor examining a building. There was something uncomfortably intimate about the process of knowing that she was being deconstructed in the older retainer’s mind. What did she want? To husk her out and refurbish her?

After an interminable pause, Retherford gave her a lopsided and wry smile. Her yellow, concentric eyes seemed to glow, hot and keen with curiosity. “Your reasoning is sound. You can take the lead.” The retainer patted Guizhen on the shoulder with a gloved hand. It was a startling reminder of how close they were. Retherford’s affect made her seem more distant than she really was and yet which was deeply, disquietingly personal. Her voice played with geometry.

Retherford tilted her head to one side as she turned back toward the colony. She flicked a cigarette from her shirt pocket and lit it with a chipped friction match drawn from an old-school matchbook. It was a souvenir from a Sartorian technology exhibition, probably snatched out of a gift shop. The flame was small and sickly, the same shade as a sun bleached dandelion. “You’ll need to catch me up on what RIG means. I’d share my own classification system but it’s more for determining what something was after-the-fact.” She dropped the match into the grass and ground it into the mud, reducing it to splinters.

“You don’t need to take point just because you feel like you need to. I’m more comfortable working with people who’re comfortable with putting their own lives first. They’re more my wavelength.” And if they died, they wouldn’t keep her awake at night. Nothing made her feel worse than the thought of someone throwing themselves into harm’s way for her sake. She resented that guilt, recognising it as a barrier to self preservation. If only everyone could be expected to behave rationally, to put themselves first, they would be so much more predictable; the world would seem so much more coherent. She sighed and started walking toward the colony.

The group’s approach was more relaxed than it should have been. Out in the open, they’d be easy pickings for anything that might want them dead or ingested. There was no cover, just some marshland reeds and fridge-sized metal capsules buried in the soil. They were buried in the soil, with only their upper halves visible. Their doors hung open, revealing an interior lined with worn restraints and arrays of syringes, whose glass cases had cracked centuries ago. Now they contained nothing but rainwater and the faintest aroma of ammonia. The symbol of Kolasi was embossed into many of the components: a fist clutching the minute hand of a clock, arresting the flow of time.

Mr. Moore recognised the capsules as human artillery. Sedatives had once run through the various plastic tubes linked to those needles, and combat readiness programmes had once been played through speakers and screens mounted on the walls. He recalled images drawn from dusty government archives, of factory floors full of mass-produced aberrations being stuffed into these devices to be launched at Kolasi’s enemies. Living biological weapons, graded based on their lethality, aggressiveness, and territoriality. So maybe that thirteen-winged creature hovering over the colony had been here ever since the last human artillery piece had been retired, just over three hundred years ago.

Something else caught his attention, terminating that line of thought. There were tracks in the dirt. Human, no older than a few hours. According to his estimation, a group of lightly laden individuals had charged up the hill leading to the colony, taking bullets and shrapnel as they’d progressed.

The meadow was scarred by bullets and shells fired almost parallel to the earth. They had churned the dirt in streaks and left desiccated, black patches in the grass. His foot grazed a pool of blood and a few errant shards of bone, glittering like a constellation in the dewy mud. There was no associated corpse, just two deep imprints in the ground. Next to them was the corpse of a buckshot munition: a seam of half burnt sulphur and a few scraps of shredded brass. A peculiar detail stuck out to him. The weapons on display, ostensibly fired by the colonists, were unusually advanced. An armed expedition would carry, at best, a few rifles for self defence. Here he was seeing evidence of explosions and sustained machine gun fire.

They eventually reached the colony proper. The electric fence had been torn down with power tools and the corpses of several colonists lay just beyond the perimeter. Their bodies were mutilated. The navy blue remnants of their uniforms fluttered in the wind. Assault rifles, snipers, and self-propelled explosives were scattered among their remains. They didn’t look like colonists, they resembled soldiers.

Next to the colonists lay the cadavers of a few of their attackers: tall men and women wearing gas masks and cylindrical tanks on their backs. Other than that, they were dressed like civilians, with hoodies and riding jackets and scarves clinging to their bodies. In contrast to the colonists, the attacking force’s weapons were rudimentary, consisting of aged hunting rifles and revolvers. There should have been far more dead, and yet the heavily armed and armoured colonists’ corpses outnumbered the attackers’ almost three to one.

Retherford held her sleeve over her nose. The gas leaking from the cylinders on the attackers’ backs made her giddy. It was like inhaling dilute, gaseous adrenaline. She stood in the shadow of the thirteen-winged aberration, which slowly drifted downwards and landed in the centre of the colony, basking in the incendiary glow of the burning buildings around them. Its wing flaps stoked the flames and sent plumes of smoke, rich with benzenes and vaporised thermoplastics, into the sky.

Its awareness of its surroundings sharpened to a fine, tapered point, falling upon a point between Andreia’s eyes. It tried to reach into her, to catch a glimpse of the deepest, most repressed recesses of her mind. She was a half aberration, something it had never seen before. It wanted to understand her; wanted to see what deep, emotional truth she must have stumbled upon to aberrate in the first place.

As it tried to comprehend her, it opened itself up as well. She realised, intrinsically, that this creature lived a confused and surreal existence. Old trauma had left lesions in its mind, wounds that still ached to this day. It hurt to recall old memories and it was agony for it to engage any of its higher processes. In its pain it had repaired its injuries with neuroses: foibles and inhibitions that served as nothing more than inert structural material, like fused scar tissue in the cerebrum of a brain-dead man. The creature spent its days thinking nothing, acting on sheer instinct. It could only observe the world via its slurred, delirious senses. It mourned its lost intellect. It wished to be alone, and forgotten, and dead.

The creature raised itself up and extended its wings in every direction, making itself look as large as possible. Hot air washed over the group, as did a hollow, lonely shriek, like a thousand wine glasses ringing at once. It was not a battle cry, it was a plea. It just wanted them to leave.

Evelyn flicked away the stub of her cigarette. It formed a small arc in the air, turning to ashes and wet filter paper before hitting the ground. She tucked her hands into her pockets and spun in place, tapping her feet as she examined her surroundings. Ink-black blood running through the flowers, empty bullet casings smoking in the humidity, half-unpacked tech lying in glimmering, neon piles. She blew air through the corner of her mouth. “Doesn’t look like there are any survivors. Strange of the attackers not to collect their dead, right? Might be best we leave. Nothing worth salvaging here.”
Last edited by Menschenfleisch on Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Naval Monte
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Naval Monte » Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:12 pm

Colony 446-7A (STATUS PENDING) | 10:44am, 1-Ren

The cold wind was barely felt as it brushed against the skull mask that covered her face and the thick layers of fur patches that made her robes, as well as thick foliage and weeds.

Atlas let out a bellow as the half cervine, half caprine beast trudged through the barren fields. Resting on her right shoulder was a glaive with a mighty cat fish whose side and spine was stabbed through by the weapon.

Her body was as still as a plant as she allowed the motions caused by her beast to rock her gently from side to side, almost like the wind was blowing against leaves on the vine.

Inscrutable. That was the only word that can be conveyed from the woman riding upon the chimerical beast of burden.

Not only did her rustic and concealing clothing, her macabre and tribal mask, made it difficult to pick up any clues from her bodily gestures or facial expression. But she maintains a passive aura of ambiguity. Like an animal masking its scent and intention from either its potential prey or predator.

An aged radio on her belt crackled to life, spitting static and churned audio like an old man coughing up a ball of phlegm. “-this is Sartorian Airborne. Are you at the AO? We have a situation down here.”

The woman would reach down and grab the aged device. She would press down on the worn down button, the once bright yellow button only being a few specks of yellow on a sea of cold steel grey, and bring the machine close to her mask.

“I’m close to your camp. I have been around the general area to your settlement for some time now.” a low and deep voice echo through the canopies of the skull mask.

“Has your poor excuse of hunters failed to scare off the wildlife from pillaging your grain supplies and trampling upon the colonies' fields?”

“Uhh… it was already burning down when we got here. You wouldn’t know anything about that would you?” The man on the other end, he sounded like a wimp. She could imagine him standing before her, all five feet of lanky skin and bones. Too weak to make it outside of a blue lit office or an air conditioned vehicle cabin. “Anyway, just get over here. We have need of you.”

The woman snorted. “I will arrive as quickly as I can. I suggest you bring in true warriors if you wish to rebuild your settlement. Those boys who you sent out would not know how to defend themselves against a scavenger, let alone an apex predator of the wilds.” the woman would cut her line before the man could retort.

She put the old radio back on her belt as she gently caressed the head of her ride.

“I’m sorry Atlas but I request you move faster. Those fools from the city couldn’t defend their new settlement properly and now they request us to help fix their mistake.”

The beast let out another bellow as it began to gallop. The woman held on tightly to the leash.

Miles of untamed wilderness disappeared behind her, as objects over the horizon rose up to fill her field of view. Abandoned tenement peaks poked out of the ground, overgrown with vines and dead thorns that she could traverse as easily as ladders. She rode over old steel capsules buried in the earth, which populated the earth like lily pads in a lake. There was water in the air and nectar beneath her fingertips. A tree breezed past her head and she shut her eyes to the pink-green aroma surrounding it.

The world, so alive. Her hair, flying free. She took her hands off the reins and lost her gaze in the distance. Rivers and tributaries carved into the soft earth toppled into chasms, forming mists of white spray. Fish circulated through the ankle-deep water covering much of the meadow, flicking barbed tails and undulating their silver and ochre bodies. She felt like the last person in the world, as she soared over sublime post-apocalyptic scenery.

She caught the scent of sulphur, whose scent struck the bottom plane of her nose like a fishing hook. She gazed up at the smoke rising from the colony site and felt a chill run through her bones.

In the back of her mind images of buildings made of wood and stone being reduced to burning rubble was coming forth. She heard people screaming and mothers crying. She saw men in dark clothing and armour pursuing fleeing bodies as they forced them down to the ground and proceeded to beat them into submission before restraining them, dragging the kicking and screaming victims away somewhere.

The masked woman would shake her head furiously to try and remove the images and noises that were filling her head. Her grip on the glaive was so tight that her knuckles turned white.

She remained silent as she instructed her companion to move forward to the burning camp.

The scent of sulphur and burnt metal grew stronger as she drew closer. Her ears would pick up the sound of a flying machine approaching the camp and looking up she would see the gaudy contraption hovering over.

“Hopefully whoever they sent would prove to be better adapted at surviving in the wilds than those who came before.” she muttered to herself as she went through the broken down gates that were once used to protect the site, but it and the walls that it was attached to were now nothing more but ruins to those ambitious follies.

She pinched her nose at the smell of blood. So heady, so sour; she could never get over it. Human blood was so unlike that of any animal, it had no texture or nuance. She was surrounded by the bodies of soldiers and their gas-mask wearing attackers. She kicked one of the masked corpses aside. It was surprisingly heavy, and cold. It leached the heat from the tip of her shoe. Little shards of frost fluttered in the air surrounding the cadaver.

The sound of conversation caught her attention, causing her head to swivel toward the source. A group of cityfolk stood before a thirteen winged creature of some sort. Its inner body was obscured by its wings, but she could still see the shadow of a person at the entity’s core, covered in the tattered remains of a uniform woven of synth fibres, identifiable by how they scintillated so regularly in the reflected sunlight.

She would gently tap Atlas on the side with her foot to command the beast to stop. She would disembark from the beast.

The masked woman would approach the group of cityfolks, her glaive still be held by her shoulder as the catfish bobbed up and down with her movement.

“So you all are the new arrivals?” She examined all of them.

The woman shook her head.

“You all are an unimpressive lot. I figure they would send hardened warriors after they were attacked. But I don’t see any warriors among your ranks.”

A small part of her would admit that her personal basis towards cityfolks may be causing her to judge them too harshly but she will never admit that.
Naval Monte- The Mediterranean crossroads of mind-controlling conspiracies, twisted dimensions, inhuman depravity, questionable science, unholy commerce, heretical faiths, absurd politics, and cutting-edge art.

Make wonderful memories here, in Naval Monte.

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