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Topic Summary

Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 09:19:34 PM »

Honestly, I didn't create the idea, nature itself did. Granted, parasitoid wasps don't target humans, but other arthropods and larvae.

Yeah, though, the sickness setup part -- that was another spur of the moment thing (I think that I conceived of it as I walked to work, honestly). It wasn't part of the original outline (which, for the most part, I keep deliberately vague). And, you have to admit -- I am no stranger to dark stories. There is a future book that gets really dark at one point, but nothing more shall I say -- spoilers and all.

New chapter.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN:
Scorpio hominidparasitus

Cloak dodged the initial tail strike. Vaulted the left pincher. Ducked the right pincher. And, still, Cloak did not attack. He was actually testing the beast, looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Granted, it was an arthropod, and should have all the weaknesses and vulnerabilities inherent with such.

But Cloak knew that this thing must have been different. It would not be able to reach this size and survive for long if it respirated like a normal arthropod, which was passive. It had to breathe actively, like higher organisms. Like the human that it emerged from, as if it were molting.

The creature also seemed relentless. Tireless. Single-minded. Obstinate. It was tenacious -- Cloak had to give it that.

But Cloak had yet to find a chink in its armor. Sure, he probably could incinerate the beast into oblivion with the Fire element. He probably could. Probably. He could not be sure it would even work, and it might cause collateral damage.

Cloak ducked a backhand from its left pincer.

He could drown it in water, but this area was arid and the air dry, so that element wasn't really viable to utilize.

Cloak sprang away from a tail strike.

He could spear it with wood, earth, or metal, but, again, he didn't know the durability of the chitinous shell. Same with crushing it with said materials.

Cloak sidestepped its snapping right pincer, slashing left.

Air? Maybe he could -- no. No! How dare he even consider the possibility of even using breathbending? Besides, it might not even work . . .

Cloak somersaulted another tail strike. This one accidentally shattered what was left of Scott Roberts body, his face splitting neatly in quarters. But thing was . . . no one would care. He had already done away with any family ties (him having killed several of them, not being convicted of a single one, pinning them on a poor outlier).

Cloak felt bad about this, because he did not know Scott Roberts' history nor his heartlessness. But he had bigger concerns at the moment, as he dodged its right pincer, then its tail, then its left pincer.

Cloak formed a golden-scarlet blade on his wrist. There was no sound, but it felt like there should be one like the activation of a lightsaber. Cloak knew what must be done.

It struck with its tail, but Cloak sidestepped that and slashed with his energy blade. The blade swept through the chitinous shell with one strike, making the scorpion shriek like a high-pitched Taxxon as the severed tail bit flopped to the ground, useless.

But Cloak wasn't done yet. He had formed another energy blade upon his other wrist, preparing to go full Wolverine on this scorpion, as its tail stub spasmed and throbbed. It was almost as if it did not realize, or recognize that it was now tailless.

It tried its left claw - pincher, whatever -- and Cloak ducked the blow. Only to come back up with a rising sword strike, slicing off its claw. It fell the ground with a rather sick, moist thud. The shriek shook the ground nearby.

It tried its last offensive option. It tried its laws remaining claw. This proved its rather low intelligence as that was a poor decision, as Cloak made a Jedi-like leap and sliced off this claw, leaving the creature defenseless with three gaping wounds. Cloak could have possibly just stopped there and let the creature bleed out.

But that would be too slow and Cloak was not that cruel. He opted to allow for mercy. So, with a deep breath, he rushed forward and slashed with both swords. They both bit through the chitinous shell easily, killing the creature instantly.

It was over.
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: Yesterday at 09:08:14 PM »

Caught up again.  Gotta say, the whole idea of these bugs eating people from the inside out, is hella dark.  I'm not sure why that strikes me as being darker than what Thousand/Million/Billion did?  Maybe because this time you sort of set it up as a 'sickness,' that there might have been a cure for, but then pulled the twist that the victims were already dead as their bodies were being eaten from the inside?  In any case, I find myself feeling truly sad for the thirteen.  Well written, you jerkface.  :P
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 06:39:18 AM »

I think it's safe to say that the last book was based of an episode of Angel, "Smile Time".

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWELVE:
Scott Duke Roberts

Cloak headed to the outskirts of the city and suburbia. It was a rather desolate place, forgotten to time. It seemed that planets didn't even want to grow in this gray, rocky soil. Another cause for concern was the no-man's land between the forum and the Bannedlands was rather closer than he would have liked. But he was following the scent he had picked up. It was only vaguely human, but distinctive enough to follow.

Cloak had a feeling that that scent harbored another familiarity to it but he couldn't put his finger on it. Which lead him to believe Malice somehow had a hand in it. Which also meant that she apparently wasn't just content sending fiends every now and then to cause havoc. She was resorting to her old antagonistic ways. Cloak had hoped that she would only be content sending the fiends every now and then because she is a lonely, old spinster who needed the attention.

Cloak maneuvered around this forgotten area, with its buildings falling into disuse and disrepair. He swore some buildings just had two-by-fours over the windows and stoop doorways. None of it had been renovated, and it looked as if there was a car that had recently been on fire. This was a part of the suburbia that people didn't want you to see.

And Cloak knew that the Nexus wasn't any better. The Nexus was just rife with corruption started by the oligarchs and plutocrats just as they were on this planet. One reason why Cloak knew that Realm Walkers were not superior to Dwellers, like some of his species like to claim. Both Walkers and Dwellers had ugly sides to their societies that they rather hide from view. Cloak believed it to be true of any society.

Cloak continued, well aware his twelve fellows were searching other areas at this very moment for the patients. He wondered idly if any of them had discovered them, and what had made these patients do this.

There. The scent was stronger there.

There he saw Scott Roberts. He was looking at the dry, gray, rocky soil with black, empty eyes and a slack, placid face. He was on his hands and knees with his open hospital gown draped down his sides. His face betrayed no emotion, as if it was just a vacuform mask.

Cloak was perplexed by this, until he saw the crack in his back. And Cloak immediately suspected a Hyvectoid origin, assuring Malice's hand in this. From the crack in Scott's back, a chitinous mass of black and bits of gold, crimson, and metallic blue.

It solidified into the form of a way-too-big scorpion, while Scott looked like a porcelain doll, whose body was porcelain as well, with a crack in it. The scorpions pincers were metallic blue while its walking legs were a deep crimson color as well as the venomous barb on its tail. The rest of it was black, with gold at the joints.

"A scorpion," Cloak muttered, "because of course it would be a scorpion."

Cloak was never fond of the creatures. He could never legitimately say way, as he never had any bad encounters with scorpion Realm Walkers that he could recall. Then again, scorpion Realm Walkers are anthropomorphic, so that could have been a key difference.

Cloak noticed the creature's body steamed as its chitinous body hardened and dry quickly. It didn't seem to notice Cloak as he watched on. Cloak noticed that it was quite a deal larger than Scott now. About the size of a two-seater car. It was immobile while this was happening.

When it moved, it saw Cloak. Cloak didn't have the presence of mind at the moment to "pull a Batman", and, besides, that was not really possible to do that without being noticed in this location. The creature attacked.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 18, 2017, 07:14:03 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER ELEVEN:
Anisoptera hominidparasitus

With a sound like a woodchipper, it powered its now perfectly dry wings and charged forward. Phoenix would later, as a matter of pride, would say he dodged it easily, but it was not as easy as he would boast later. The creature was a lot faster than he had initially anticipated.

Phoenix's hands began to smoke in an unconscious, instinctive reaction to his life potentially be jeopardy. He had to consciously stop it. He was afraid he might accidentally ignite the swamp gas or cause a raging inferno, despite the dampness. He didn't want to have any more collateral damage than necessary.

He glanced at the former body of Sean Stone, and felt a pang of guilt and shame as he dodged the dragonfly. There was nothing he could do to help him. There was no saving him, no curing him. He was gone, and there was nothing Phoenix could do about it.

It was then that the dragonfly managed to nick his left check, and Phoenix realized that he must pay attention to this battle with this creature. Sean Stone's murderer. But could he really blame this creature for it? Could he really blame a creature just doing what nature programmed it to do? He may not like it, but that's what it was. Just a creature doing what it was biologically programmed to do -- even though it was clearly not of this world.

After being force to execute a midair pirouette, Phoenix decided that he would have to end this sooner rather than later. Maybe the dampness of this swamp will counteract the potentially flammable swamp gas? Or maybe he was worried about nothing in that case? If he wasn't mistaken, swamp gas was mostly methane -- which was flammable in low concentration.

But he was left with little choice. He couldn't dodge forever -- especially because the difficulty was really amping up. This creature would kill him if he did not act. He hadn't any other option, any other alternative available to him. He would just have to be extremely judicious with his pyrokinesis,and hope the dampness would help counteract any possible spontaneous combustion.

He would have to do what he must, because if it killed him, it would go on to do more. It was obviously male, as it was lacking the ovipositor of its mother. Malice, however, had screwed up the DNA of each of the thirteen eggs. So this dragonfly was really a recombinant of his mother and Terran DNA, which makes their genetic stability . . . questionable. But Phoenix did not know any of this, but it mattered little.

Phoenix waited. Timing would be important. Essential.

There. The dragonfly buzzed by, attempting to get Phoenix, but Phoenix dodged, but caught it by the tail, and climbed aboard. He climbed up the dragonfly's body, to the creatures wraparound eyes. He placed his hands on them as the dragonfly became little more than a bucking bronco. This just upped the difficult of this endeavor.

He began to burn the creature's eye facets, one by one, without moving his hands. It shrieked, but Phoenix forced himself to ignore it. He was slowly, but surely, blinded him. In mere moments, it was done. And with no spontaneous combustion either.

Then he had to leap off and roll on the ground when he landed, as he heard a loud, sickening CRUNCH. He looked back and saw a mess of wings and exoskeleton bits. Phoenix waited to see if the smushed bug was truly dead.

After a few moments, he breathed a sigh of relief. It had crushed itself, flying full speed into a tree, full George of the Jungle-style. It was gone. But Phoenix's work was done. A harder part remained . . . as he looked at the hardened, porcelain-like skin of Sean Stone.

He had to deliver this to the Stone family. They would not be happy.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 17, 2017, 07:21:46 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TEN:
Sean Connery Stone

Phoenix was scoping out a marshy woodland. The area here seemed rather volatile environmentally -- almost as if he utilized his pyrokinesis, the woodland would go up like kindling. It seemed unusually dry, despite being swampy. Phoenix found it concerning, but he had other concerns to deal with at the moment.

He found it difficult to navigate this unforgiving, spongy terrain with the occasional tree root hidden from sight to deviously trip unsuspecting travelers. All in all, Phoenix found this place rather distasteful. It smelled to high heaven, the ground was saturated with water, and the bugs were unbelievable. They either flew into Phoenix's face, just to be insectoid pricks, or otherwise were more interested in biting him, the bloodsucking parasites. Fortunately, his pyrokinesis innately incinerated any insect stupid enough to try, by superheating any bug that tried to bite into his skin.

Phoenix continued to make his way into this swamp, and, in the back of his mind, he began to second-guess himself with his decision. Maybe he was just wasting his time when he should be finding at least on of these thirteen patients. He had no idea what to expect. But he kept his guard up, as it was prudent.

This search was starting to become monotonous. He quickly realize that it wasn't dry here, but humid. He didn't know how he made such a mistake -- perhaps he was was distracted by having to plow through oscillating cyclones of gnats, or gnat-like insect swarms. Or, otherwise, looking at all of the stagnant water with all the insect larvae and frog spawn.

Phoenix stopped and reconsidered venturing further into this quagmire. There were no signs -- or at least, no overt signs that any of these patients came this way. No footprints, no snagged clothing or hair on a tree branch. Nothing. But, then again, Phoenix didn't considering himself an adept tracker. Besides, he was told that these patients weren't human any more, and he had no idea what they became. As this was happening exactly when Yarin was approaching the haunted mansion.

What's this now?

A flapping fabric caught his sight and he approached closer to see Sean Stone, the actor. He stood gripping a tree overhanging a small stagnant pool of water. His placid, motionless face stared at the tree without any emotion. It was almost unnaturally blank. His back was laid bare and there was a cracked formed. A green, black, with bits of gold amorphous shape was struggling to extricate itself from Sean's hollowed out, porcelain body.

Phoenix was repulsed, but he always had an interest in animals. He likened what he was seeing before him to an insect molting. Only on a vastly large scale. And he knew, whatever insect was pulling itself free from what was once Sean's body, had have an active form of respiration, as no insect could survive at this size without one on the current climate and atmospheric composition. Bugs tended to need higher oxygen content to be really big.

The chitinous mass solidified into a heavy-bodied, strong-flying insect that held its long wings horizontally, which unfolded and dried with astonishing rapidity.
It had three distinct segments -- the head, thorax, and abdomen, as in all insects. It had a chitinous exoskeleton of hard plates held together with flexible membranes. Its head was large with very short antennae. Its head was dominated by the two compound eyes, which cover most of its surface. The compound eyes met at the top of the head. Also, it had three simple eyes. The mouthparts were adapted for biting with a toothed jaw; the flap-like labrum, at the front of the mouth, can be shot rapidly forward to catch prey. The head had a system for locking it in place that consists of muscles and small hairs on the back of the head that grip structures on the front of the first thoracic segment. The thorax consisted of three segments, as in all insects. The prothorax was small and is flattened dorsally into a shield-like disc which has two transverse ridges. The mesothorax and metathorax were fused into a rigid, boxlike structure with internal bracing, and providing a robust attachment for the powerful wing muscles inside it. The thorax bore two pairs of wings and three pairs of legs, the foremost of which possessed human-like hands. The wings were long, veined, and membranous, narrower at the tip and wider at the base. The hindwings were broader than the forewings and the venation was different at the base. The rear four legs were rarely used for walking, but are used to catch and hold prey, for perching, and for climbing on plants. Each has two short basal joints, two long joints, and a three-jointed foot, armed with a pair of claws. The long leg joints bear rows of spines, and in males, one row of spines on each front leg is modified to form an "eyebrush", for cleaning the surface of the compound eye.

Phoenix chanced a look at Sean and saw that his porcelain complexion remained, and, through the crack opened by the dragonfly parasitoid (Anisoptera hominidparasitus) and it was like looking in the inside of a hollow figurine. Sean was gone, and could not be cured.

However, it was at this time that the creature took notice of Phoenix. It was territorial, and carnivorous. A potent combo.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 15, 2017, 10:16:30 PM »

Since I'm posting this now, the chaoter will probably be late tomorrow, or maybe even the day after. Gonna be busy.

New chapter.

CHAPTER NINE:
Allomyrina dichotoma hominidparasitus

Yarin only had moments to react before the creature, this parasitoid beetle, charged forward with all the momentum and destructive capability of a rhinoceros. The Nyac had barely dodged to the right as the creature charged straight through a wall. It had the proportional strength of a Japanese rhinoceros beetle of the same size, and this did not spell out good things for the telepath. Yarin's telepathic abilities were well regarded (and for good reason), and his latent telekinetic abilities were only a tad atrophied from lack of use. Durability wasn't one his powers. He was very mortal, and very much not wanting to be gored.

Even with the loss of this interior wall, this building still stood, almost as if in obstinate defiance of its obvious age and poorly maintained state. This showed a surprisingly masterful work of the architects who build this place, though not surprisingly. Whoever owned this place clearly had enough money to spring for the best of the best.

Whoops. Yarin had allowed himself to get distracted as the creature, traveling on all six limbs now came barreling at him, narrowly missing because of his poor eyesight. It was this that saved the Nyac from being gored. Yarin had to focus -- attempted to read the creature's mind, but it was far too primal, far too primitive, to have coherent thoughts. Its thoughts weren't in words but powerful emotions -- emotions so powerful, so basic, that it gave Yarin a splitting headache any time he tried to telepathically probe the creature.

The creature stopped and apparently, in it's simple, brutish mind, it tried to look for Yarin. It reared up to its back legs, apparently more keen to travel on six, despite being . . . "birthed" . . . by a bipedal creature. It bowed its massive head in a quick nod as it pointed. It was telekinetically moving debris that laid either long forgotten or outright created by this creature.

It had inherited Wesley's power -- only it manifested at its absolute potential. Granted, it wouldn't garner it godhood, but it was sufficiently powerful enough to make Yarin weary and not be complacent.

But using this telekinesis seemed to take too much of a toll on its animalian, uncomplicated mind. Its eyes weren't really sophisticated enough to use such an ability with its instinct-driven intellect. Perhaps if it was smarter, it could overcome this handicap. Might have been resourceful enough to overcome it.

It started charging willy-nilly, like a rhinoceros gone berserk. Yarin had to hand it to this mansion. It still stood, apparently none of the true load-bearing walls had been sufficiently damaged.

Well, actually, that changed in a span of thirty-seven seconds. After his current charge, the mansion roof shuttered. Yarin knew this was a clear and present signal to get the hell out of the building, and he did just that. He wasn't intending to get squashed like a bug.

Yarin had hoped that the creature would be crushed by the aged roof. But that was a vain hope, as it burst up from the roof. Its chitinous body protecting it from any real damage. Yarin felt aggrieved at this circumstance, as he hadn't any real means of attack left to him.

The Japanese rhinoceros beetle hesitated to do anything, apparently blinded by the midday sun. It's eyes were designed for low light. This was the Nyac's advantage, but how to use it successfully? There had to be a way . . . some way that he hadn't seen yet, had yet to understand, had yet to comprehend . . .

He had to think quickly. It would just be a matter of time before it would find an innocent person to kill. Yarin had to nip it in the bud. He had to . . .

He looked at the debris. It had fell in such a way that the splintered wood put him in mind of punji sticks. Then he examined and scrutinized the rhino beetle from this distance, doing fast calculations in his head.

Oh, screw it. He used his telekinesis to pull this splintered wood from the mound of debris and threw it full force at the beetle, aiming for the joints and underbelly. He gave it everything he had. This actually caused massive damage to beetle, even managing to gore him straight through. It was now dead. Yarin detected no mind, simple or otherwise.

Yarin bent over and picked up some shrapnel . . . only it wasn't shrapnel in the strictest sense of the word. It was Wesley's hollow porcelain head. It wasn't much, but it was something to give to his parents and little sister -- there was obviously no way to cure him from this. Wesley Andrews had died in the hospital, it was just a bug wearing his skin out here.

Yarin knew that this wouldn't be a comforting, or even believable, story to the Andrews. But it was the truth, and they deserved that at least.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 15, 2017, 12:58:15 PM »

Just wait, Dino. Just wait.

New chapter.

CHAPTER EIGHT:
Wesley Charles Andrews

Yarin had gone to a derelict mansion, as all thirteen RAFians were spread relatively wide to cover an enormous amount of space. There were only thirteen of them, after all and the world was a big area. When Yarin had approached the mouldering former homestead, which was more like a townhouse or a ranchhouse than a mansion.

The peeling letters of the sign showed the house was called the Hillhurst House at one point. But the name held no meaning to Yarin, unless the house housed a phantasm with a passing resemblance to Jay Leno, his phantasm backup singers, a sarcastic mummy, an inept vampire, a brainless Frankenstein monster, an often-ignored statue golem, a family werewolf, or a ghoul in a hooded robe. But Yarin highly doubted that. That sounded more like a promising premise to a '90s children's television show, and this was real life.*

It was amazing that this place was still standing, frankly. As Yarin continued his approach. He was not wearing an ID mask, and he had his identity as a Nyac fully on display should anyone come upon this deserted spot. Honestly, Yarin thought he saw a human movie or something filmed here once, but he couldn't imagine what.

He entered the building, which was falling apart and reeked of age. He was in what appeared to be, at one time, a communal area where the inhabitants of this dwelling would gather for familial interactions or to watch television broadcasts. There was a room on his right, about one o'clock ahead.

His innate telepathy was telling him that he was the only one here. Unless, of course, there were people here with telepathic shielding from his mind probing or minds too simple and bestial to be read. And he was glad that he didn't say that aloud, realizing just how that thought could have been taken out of context and made dirty. He knew that some people who would have keep bringing it up at the most inopportune times and annoy him.

But he was losing sight of the objective. He had to find these escaped patients -- he hesitated to call them humans. Helen and Shen seemed quite positive on that point, he recalled as he went to the other room. But he had to find --

What was this?

He found what appeared to be a young human male whose sandy hair looked more like a detailed wig, whose placid face did not once look in his direction. Whose lips did no part once to speak. Whose eyes appeared to remain fixed in their sockets. His gown was open, only covering his front bits, fluttering in the slight breeze that flitted through the area.

He was hunched over a forgotten organ, with pipes that reached the fairly high ceiling. His grasp looked unnaturally tight and firm. Yarin easily understood why the staff at the hospital were reluctant to get near these patients. He was a RAFian and accustomed to the odd and bizarre. And, yet, he was creeped out by this.

There was a large crack, almost like a seam, going from the base of his neck to the top of his butt. There should have been a squishy, oozing sound. But there was not, as a blue thing oozed from his back. The boy's blank, vacant, placid expression never changed, as if it was carved from porcelain. This misshapen thing managed to quickly extricate itself from the boy's form, which Yarin saw was hollow and hard as if he was nothing more than a life-sized ceramic sculpture. There was no saving Wesley from this. Yarin was sure that this creature, whatever it was, was not a transformed Wesley either. It was a creature that ate Wesley from the inside out.

The creature's form quickly hardened into cobalt blue Japanese rhinoceros beetle -- Allomyrina dichotoma -- complete with the Y-shaped horn, which had formed from the blue mass first. It walked on two plantigrade feet, which were like a humans, and it had four arms with human like hands -- but the human similarities stopped there. There was actually what appeared to be tendrils of steam coming of its chitinous shell, as it dried rapidly. Its joints were colored a brilliant gold, and its eyes -- adapted for low light -- were steely-gray like chromium. It had a thoracic horn that was forked, and it lifted its shell to reveal large beetle wings, which steamed as well, revealing that it was able to fly, even at its massive size. It should not have been able to breathe, except it respirated like a human and not like a bug.

It was somehow much larger than Wesley had been, the human boy it killed, being the parasitoid that it was. But this one lacked the ovipositor of its mother, meaning this one must have been male. But that could be because it was a Japanese rhinoceros beetle instead of an ichneumon wasp, or that this species took on different forms depending on the type of human host it inhabited or some other factor.

It reared up, and appeared to see Yarin. And apparently it was very territorial. But it wasn't carnivorous, just territorial.

"This isn't going to end well," Yarin muttered preparing itself.



* ;) Yes, there is gonna be a fair amount of inspiration drawn from that series in this book somewhat. See if you can figure it out! ;)
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: August 15, 2017, 09:55:50 AM »

Thirteen victims, thirteen RAFians, and I have to try to operate a communicator with my tiny arms?  Geez, this is just not my day.  :P  If somebody uses me as a taxi while calling me a scavenger/reptile, I think that would cover all the pet peeves I even have.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 15, 2017, 05:38:21 AM »

Aaaaaand several of the banners are down again. Paradoxically, including the one in my sig.

New chapter.

CHAPTER SEVEN:
On Alert

"How?!" Verity demanded. Then she saw several nurses sprawled out upon the floor, apparently asleep. "Wake up, dammit!!"

"Don't be too harsh on them," Shen said, spotting something with a keen eye. "This isn't a natural sleep. They appear to have been drugged -- presumably with an aerosol agent."

"But how did this --" Verity said, seeing the keypad that allowed people in and out of this sensitive area. That allowed people outside. "This isn't humanly possible."

"A fair assessment," Helen said. "Suffice it to say, I don't think these thirteen are human anymore."

"Then what --" Verity said.

"I cannot answer that as I do not know myself," Helen said. "But all I do know is that we need to do a major sweep of the area. Whatever these thirteen are now, they clearly pose a very clear and present danger. They need to be contained -- and, hopefully, cured."

Helen immediately took out her communicator, and placed an all-out alert. She suggested that the RAFians should be scrambled, and these thirteen be found immediately. Meanwhile, Xeno, wearing an ID mask, which he found uncomfortable, came to fix the destroyed keypads in the dementia ward.

***

The forum received Helen's message, and acted immediately. Aquilai, Cerulean, Cloak, Demos, Dino, Goom, Horse, Parker, Phoenix, Saffa, Underseen, and Yarin were the only ones available and on current active duty. Dino whimpered a bit when she heard that it was thirteen individuals, as well as thirteen RAFians, but she knew her duty.

All thirteen spread out -- using their communicators in its scanning mode to scan for the foot alarms. Granted, Dino, naturally, had the most difficulty with this -- her tiny arms weren't much useful for this task. Something irritated her quite a bit, actually.

***

Malice watched all this unfold with an almost detached interest. She didn't really care that she had introduced an invasive species into a biosphere that was not ready to support them. But she didn't really care if this world became overrun. She knew that Cloak would need to relocate to a different planet, or even a different realm entirely.

And she would follow him. And ruin that world for him. Not to mention, she still had plenty of Demos's fiends left to go through. She would have plenty of resources to make his life hell.

But why did she do this? Well, she was a prick by nature, but there was another reason. His grandfather, Sage. He really annoyed her. He continually meddled in her plans, mucking them up, most times unintentionally. But he was gone. And there wasn't anything that she could do hurt him, like he hurt her by interfering with her plans.

But she could do this to his grandson. Sure, it wouldn't be the same, but she didn't care. Not to mention, it's a lot more fun to do it to his grandson rather than the old fuddyduddy himself. Sage didn't have the same kind of problems controlling his emotions like Cloak did. Sage wasn't as . . . volatile as Cloak could be.

In Malice's eyes, this was what it was primarily about now. Fun. Entertainment. And Cloak always seemed to deliver that to her, far more than his grandfather, Sage, would have. This is why she was so persistent about doing this sort of thing, without any real regard to the consequences.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 14, 2017, 12:11:29 PM »

Okay -- it seems very like that this book will exceed the requisite twenty chapters. Don't hold me to that, but it looks very likely. And don't ask me how many precisely -- imma divide some chapters in my original outline in two.

New chapter.

CHAPTER SIX:
Escaped

"It was strange," Verity was saying honestly. "All thirteen seemed to rush the doors at the same time. And the x-rays showed some disturbing abnormalities. It could just be a flaw in our x-ray machine, but . . . I dunno."

"That's the reason you called us in, though, isn't it?" Helen said. She wasn't wearing her Star Sapphire attire, though still having the ring. She dressed very prim, with a debonair style, despite the business suit she wore, with a violet pin that held the Star Sapphire symbol on her lapel. Her high heels clicked distractingly as she walked. "RAF has experience with the unusual and bizarre."

"These patients are certainly all of those things," Verity said, as she looked away from Helen, who was accompanied by Shen, also dressed very formally, but opting for blues, which actually contrasted nicely with Helen's color choices. "They were not so . . . well, let's talk in my office."

They entered and took their seats as Verity prepared to fill them in.

"They've been trying to escape the facility all night," Verity sighed, "I swear we caught all thirteen of them trying to escape at least forty times in the past hour."

"Why?" Helen asked.

"Because they're clear danger to themselves, and possibly others," Verity verified. "The x-rays came back as empty. No bone structure or . . . or anything. All the doctors are flummoxed. They had partial bones when they came in, and even then it didn't make much sense. And, ever since, they seemed to be undergoing changes that can only be described as weird and unnatural. Their hair began to clump together, the individual hair fibers evidently fusing together so as if they have a vacuform wig on their heads, as if it was some sort of costume piece! And their skin all have become stiff and hard and rigid like alabaster or porcelain. Their movements have been jerky and awkward, but we cannot account for what may be causing it. All in all, we have no idea what's happening to these thirteen patients, nor why they have all collectively decided that they need to leave so badly."

"Have they said anything?" Shen asked astutely.

"Not a word," Verity replied, "not single one of them has made so much of as an utterance. At least in the presence of any of my staff. Its just so . . . peculiar. And their faces -- they don't move their eyes. They don't blink. They just turn their heads when they want to look at you and the way that they do it . . . it's like something out of a horror movie."

"They scare you," Shen stated, matter-of-fact.

"Honestly, they scare everyone," she admitted. "Nurses are afraid to go and check in on them. They won't even allow them to take their vital signs. Housekeepers are afraid to go and clean their room. They say that they get creeped out, as if they're in a room with a monster that wants to eat them. The CAs are afraid to visit with them and see what they want to eat for the day. Not that they eat anything anyway -- I don't know how they're still alive -- they haven't eaten a thing for days. And they don't sleep either."

"Huh," Shen said. "That is odd."

Cloak surely would know what creature was capable of doing this to people. He has a vast knowledge of beasts from many world inside and outside this realm of existence. He would know how best to deal with whatever did this to these people, and how to cure them.

"It's gotten to the point that we have put foot alarms on them, like we do for the dementia ward, to activate the alarms should they --"

And at that moment, a blaring klaxon was heard throughout the hospital. The thirteen had escaped while the RAFians were having their talk.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 14, 2017, 05:06:55 AM »

Whelp, I'm not going anywhere near this mission.

Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaah . . . about that . . .

Would this Cade person happen to also be a massive alcoholic with a rap sheet longer than Santa's beard?

Not yet. But definitely on the path to it.

Anyway, new chapter.

CHAPTER FIVE:
Hospitalized

These symptoms did not go away. They exacerbated. Their skin gained a waxy complexion, and their hair tended to clump together. It almost looked like they were rendered with PlayStation 2 graphics. All thirteen were affected and afflicted.

It became evident that they would need to go to the hospital, even Donnie and Lee. Lee didn't go willingly, but he was separated from his trusty, rusty shotgun, and his strength was deteriorating, while Donnie was extremely willing to go, hoping that it would delay his arraignment. That, and his strength was deteriorating, as well.

All thirteen were stripped of their street clothes, and put into hospital gowns with a loose floral print, tied in the back. These hospital gowns were made of a thin material, which made them rather drafty, and Diane was not particularly welcoming of being treated like the "peasants". She grew petulant and unresponsive toward the poor nurses who where just trying to help her. But Diane was accustomed to getting whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. Refusal of this was tantamount to a tantrum.

The hospital staff nurses were smart enough to know that thirteen patients with similar, if not identical, symptoms held meaning. What that it meant lead to some disagreements and of what should be done.

Should they notify the government? The media? Their families, surely.

But the x-rays came back as very odds. Some bones weren't showing up on the x-rays, and there were no visible distortions in their bodies. It made no sense, though it could explain their startling behavior differences when they were brought in. Lee and Diane were the combative ones, while the rest complied with grace and dignity. But all that changed in a matter of hours.

They became lethargic and silent. Their faces became slack and blank, their eyes never seemed to move in their sockets (they just turned their heads to look at something), and their skin paled and hardened, almost like porcelain. Their hair were almost as if they were wearing anime wigs. Their bodies strangely stiff and rigid, and when they required movement, their movements were always jerky and awkward. All thirteen of them. The hospital's staff nurses and doctors were flummoxed.

The D.O.N. -- that is, the Director of Nursing -- was Florence Ambrose, and she could only come up with a single conclusion. They would need help from those experienced in such matters. Matters of the weird and bizarre. But she would have to clear it with Verity Torres, the administrator in charge.

Verity did not like the suggestion very much, believing that they could solve this problem without any need to bring in outside help. She could be a very prideful woman sometimes, oblivious to the necessary thing to do.

That's when the thirteen suddenly decided to get flighty. It was all they could do to sedate them and bring them under control. But it was a hassle, and these thirteen were becoming more than a handful, more than a nuisance. They had to be dealt with, and soon. Verity's staff was just not prepared to deal with this kind of distractions. Her hands were tied.

"Go ahead, Florence," she said, out of breath. "Call 'em. But tell them to keep it low-key. We don't need any untoward attention right now. Not with state coming soon."

"Right away, Verity," Florence said, and she immediately got on the phone.

It rang three times in moderate succession. Florence was a bit nervous, she hadn't called into this place, but it was necessary. She jumped a bit when the call was picked up.

"This is RAF," said Xeno's bored voice, "how may I direct your call?"
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: August 14, 2017, 01:44:43 AM »

Wait, why do you need to apologize to me in adv- oh.  :P

Whelp, I'm not going anywhere near this mission.
Posted by: gh
« on: August 13, 2017, 10:48:36 PM »

Hm . . . musician that I hate that has an oddly devoted fanbase and has a penchant for walking out of shows . . . Would this Cade person happen to also be a massive alcoholic with a rap sheet longer than Santa's beard?
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 13, 2017, 09:44:18 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER FOUR:
Ignorant Incubation

All of the thirteen people playing host to the hominiparasitoid wasp went back to life as normal, enjoying the petering out summer. While they went about this, the RAFians were dealing with the whole puppet and Whimsy-Mimsy thing. They seemed to be perfectly fine.

Wesley, Britney, Herbie, and Josh continued to hang out, none noticing the divets in the napes of their necks, where the hominiparasitoid wasp had inserted its ovipositor to lay its ball bearing-sized egg into each of the four. At first, they did not seem to suffer any ill effects.

Sean was preparing to audition for a supporting role in a play that there was rumors that this play was good enough to head towards Broadway. So, it was with great trepidation and anxiety that he looked toward this audition.

Vince was angling for a new position, considering running for governor. From there, he would be able to, in his view, run for the Senate or the House. Or maybe even be a running mate in the next presidential run, or be the one having the presidential run. That would be his ultimate goal -- the highest position of power in the land. President Greene -- he liked it. He really did.

Izzy was still trying to perfect his laser array just so so that it would benefit the project. But it was being stubborn. Frustratingly so. He sighed, as he wondered if this whole project would have brought him to the brink of insanity. But, nevertheless, he had to press on. Science waited for no man, he supposed.

Lee was still protecting his land obsessively. He was immensely territorial about his homestead, and he was willing to kill to force them to leave his property. He didn't care about the law, except the one at the end of the barrel of his shotgun. He was unabashed about even slaying police officers that got onto his property without his permission. And he never gave permission.

Cade continued to play, play songs that GH found absolutely grating. Cade was working on an album -- to GH's irritation -- without any ill effects from his attack. And he was also planning a tour to promote this album after its release. He would hit all the major cities, and sang the songs with a warbling voice that made GH's ears bleed.

Rod continued his womanizing, misogynistic ways, despite this attack. Why he thought that any woman would want to be with him -- with him with him -- with such attitudes was a just a testament to the huge amount of ignorance he had toward the other gender. He continued to believe that he was god's gift to women, despite treating them as lesser beings.

Diane was busy . . . shopping. She rarely did anything else, except act like a complete and utter diva. Any friendships she struck up were either . . . tenuous, or just people who wanted to be in her entourage for the money and nothing else. She had yet to learn how fleeting this type of materialism was. And, sadly, she never would.

Scott was sitting, sipping some coffee with a needlessly complex multi-syllable name. He was scanning the crowd of mall-goers today, in a very discrete, very practiced manner of an accomplished murderer. He thought himself like a lion on the hunt (clearly not knowing that it was the lionesses that did the hunting).

Donnie was still waiting to be arraigned. He was hugging himself and shaking. He was going to get the book thrown at him, he knew it. He was screwed, he knew, as he fretted about his fate. They will send him to . . . that prison. He heard of that extrajudicial prison. The prison where the prisoners are nothing more than lab rats. Lab rats to be experimented on, as if they were less than human? It was run by an agency . . . what did they call themselves? He thought it started with a "C"? Cat musk? Nah. That's stupid. . . .

But then, all thirteen felt an odd numbness as their extremities began to twitch involuntarily. . . .
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 13, 2017, 06:56:34 AM »

Oh, just wait. And sorry, in advance, Dino.

And sorry that there was no chapter yesterday. Work just really knocked it out of me.

New chapter.

CHAPTER THREE:
No More Sidelines

Wesley wasn't the only victim of this buggy beast. Each of his friends were as well, and, like him, they had no recollection of said attacks. Like them, they did not realize they had a slight divet in the nape of their necks.

These four were not the only ones who were attacked.

Sean Stone, a small-time theatrical actor, was attacked shortly after Wesley was. Sean was just coming out from closing his latest show. It wasn't really a blockbuster, but there was moderate interest. But not enough to satisfy his ambition. He really wanted to go to Broadway, but felt that he wasn't good enough. It was this insecurity that really held him back more than anything else. But as he was mulling this over, he was attacked. He awoke at home with his girlfriend, who had went looking for him when he was an hour late getting home. He had no recollection of the attack or knowledge of the new divet in the nape of his neck, either.

"Five," said a voice from the shadows.

Izzy Eugene Xavier, a scientist/technician, was attacked shortly after Herbie was. Izzy had been working many long hours, working on a laser-based projects. Today, he had encountered a frustrating problem with it that he had to spend hours sorting out. He was much too tired and unaware that it was child's play for this man-sized wasp to put him into unconsciousness. He awoke with his wife doting on him. He did not realize that he had been attacked, or the small divet in the nape of the neck.

"Six," counted the voice.

Cade Light, a musician, was attacked shortly after Britney was. He had garnered a modicum of fame with his music (which GH happened to despise, the musical connoisseur he was), but had a reputation of being horrible to work with. Despite this, he had a fair share groupies and hangers-on (something that irritated GH to no end). He was walking away from a concert after having a bit of a temper tantrum at the amount of fans in attendance did not match his expectations. That is when he was attacked, and then woke up, having been rescued by a devoted groupie.

"Seven."

Diane Goodson, a heiress, was attacked shortly after Josh was. She was completely unaccustomed to doing anything for herself. She always had everyone else doing everything for her. She allowed herself to be wild and promiscuous, on her father's dime. She had everything that she could ever want, and, because of it, she was spoiled and unkind, especially if she had been drinking. She was always so complacent about her safety, that she took needless risks. And she was in the midst of such when she was attacked, and recovered by her harried attendants.

"Eight."

Donnie Leonardson, a petty criminal, was attacked shortly after Cade was. He had just stolen someone's money. He didn't know this person, but he needed the money. He was down on his luck, and desperate. He would have never took her money if he had a better alternative. He hadn't any choice. He had to do this or else he was going to lose everything . . . he had no choice. He was left without any other option. He already worked as hard as he could, and that woman held her purse -- a Gucci purse, he guessed -- loosely on her arm. The situation had presented itself, the opportunity had been revealed. He took it. It was then that he was attacked, and awoke in a jail cell.

"Nine."

Scott Robots, a serial killer, was attacked shortly after Sean was. He was devoid of empathy and compassion, though he could emulate such things with an Oscar-level actor's acclaim. Sufficient to fool anyone without Earthsight or a lie-detecting superpower. Scott enjoyed killing other people. The paleness of their faces, the rush of snuffing out the spark of life, the reveal of who they really are . . . he loved to savor all the little emotions in the act. And he always managed to get away with it, because he always took proper precautions. But he, himself, was attacked when he was in the process of killing a black man, with the intention of making it look like a hate crime. He awoke in prison -- finally caught in the act. He held no memory of being attacked or how he got this divet in the nape of his neck.

"Ten"

Rod Murray, a misogynist, was attacked shortly after Diane was. He was just leaving a bar after having a fight with another patron over his distaste for a woman being in a position of power over a man, claiming that they "belong in the kitchen, making my supper". The other patron, a more egalitarian sort, took issue with this statement, standing up for this woman, and Roger made his immediate disdain for the man known. the argument heated up to the point, where Rod's bull**** arguments were clearly not hitting home like he intended, so he resorted to violence. Fortunately, the fight was broken up before anyone was seriously injured, and, as the instigator and obviously inebriated, Rod was thrown out. It was at this point he was attacked and woke up in a drunk tank, in police custody.

"Eleven."

Lee Anderson, a murderer, was attacked shortly after Izzy was. He was a crazed hermit, who was very overprotective of his property. He would shoot and kill any he saw as trespassers. And he saw everyone as trespassers. He grew his own food and did not leave his property for any reason. He even hid the bodies of those he fatally shot. Rumor was he dissected them for means only know to him. He was out patrolling his small patch of property when he was attacked. When he awoke, he was in the same spot he was attacked. No one rescued him, and he didn't care.

"Twelve."

Vince Greene, a megalomaniac, was attacked shortly after Donnie was. He was a very ambitious man who estranged himself from both his parents and younger brother -- his father for his lack of ambition, his mother for her flightiness, untidiness, and brutish exterior, and his brother for his own ineptitudes and ones Vince transferred from himself. Vince always pretended to be bigger and more important than what he actually was. He started as a lowly intern at a government firm, but quickly rose to powerful positions through a mixture of his own work and taking the credit of others. He had left his office, feeling smug, when he was attacked. He awoke to find that no one bothered to come to his rescue, showing just how disliked he was as a person, and how much umbridge he caused.

"That should be enough," Malice said, reigning in the still pregnant beast that she hauled over from Hyvect. It was near extinction there. "Your usefulness has ended, hominiparasitoid wasp. You're now a liability."

She killed it without a second thought, and used her Realm Walker corona to destroy it and any evidence of it -- except for the thirteen eggs it laid. . . . .