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Topic Summary

Posted by: Cloak
« on: Today at 07:41:15 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER THREE:
Tainted

Joel Manson was a very successful businessman -- and by "successful", that means he was a backstabbing, untrustworthy, manipulative man with very little scruples and would abandon his own mother if it meant saving his skin. He had a away with words, born with both a silver spoon in his mouth and a silver tongue. He had even made the seamless transition from businessman to lobbyist with very little, if any, fanfare.

This was how he wanted it. Only fools sought out the spotlight, he opined. Only masochists sought out the bipolar mistress one calls fame. Anonymity was where it was at. He'd rather be behind the stage, pulling the strings, than the puppets on the stage who were having their strings tugged here and there.

And so what if the people disliked what was going on? They were immaterial in the grand scheme of things. They just needed to shut up and take whatever he and the other people in government wanted. They didn't like the health care system? Too bad. They thought college was unaffordable? Well, then he guessed they didn't deserve to go in the first place. The only thing that they were worth, he thought, was their vote, and beyond that their wants and needs didn't matter. All one needed was platitudes and rhetoric that was only vaguely populist, and they'd win elections left and right. And his clients would get what they wanted -- that's all that really mattered to Joel Manson.

He, quite obviously, didn't care what the people of the country wanted. Just considered them as nothing but stupid, gullible rubes. He had everything that he needed, and that was all that really mattered. Let the peasants whine and bemoan their fate. If they didn't like the crumbs they were ever so generous to give, then they could leave. And, if they did -- who was he kidding? They would never leave. They were all too stupid to. Anyone who spoke out against him and his clientele would be swiftly silenced. Just like any peasant uprising, it would be quickly put down and expunged.

Screw the peasants, they had money. Unfortunately for him, his fate was about to take a cruel turn.

He wasn't really paying attention to what he was doing, and he drank from a water fountain. Only the water was black. A Leviathan. A Leviathan entered his body and, with far fewer convulsions then when they were amassed in Castiel DiAngelo. This was just a single Leviathan who dominated Joel's body completely. It completely altered his body chemistry as it took over, basically just assimilating its new vessel as being its own, permanent body. Joel's mind and soul were crushed and killed in the process, though the Leviathan had access to all his memories, as well as those of DiAngelo.

But he wasn't converted by just any old Leviathan of the 113 that DiAngelo once hosted. Joel was integrated and taken over by the head honcho. The leader of the Leviathans, the only one they ever had and the only one they feared above all others. One who clawed and fought his way to earn that title with a despotic iron fist. His true name was lost to time, but he was more than willing to settle on using this vessel's name as his own.

Once he had fully integrated with his vessel, he quickly found another Leviathan, subservient of course, and demanded a manifest of the names of the other "blended" Leviathans. And, while he waited, he impersonated Joel perfectly, although he accentuated his disdain for others a tad more noticeably, stemming from the fact that Leviathans thought other creatures lesser than them, with demons and aliens being lesser than humans, with humans being seen as nothing more than cattle and a food source. He, like all Leviathans, believed themselves unable to be killed and were above petty things like morality.

Soon, he received manifest he wanted. His generals -- Giovanni, Archer, Maximillion, Cyrus, Augustus, Lysandre, and Lusimine -- had all been "blended" with humans as he was. He gave them an order to stem reckless feeding. There was much to do first, especially on a resource that would become limited of they fed indiscriminately and relentlessly. They could not afford to run through such an ample food supply so quickly.

He had a plan on how to this right, while eliminating all competition for their human resources.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Today at 10:15:12 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWO:
The Outbreak

There was an incident that actually escaped the notice of the RAFians. Apparently, Purgatory was opened up and all the souls within was absorbed by one man and he eventually returned them, only one thing remained. Remained within him.

Whether or not this was actually true, but this was the last account given by the man, whose point of view was religious to the point of zealotry, so it couldn't really be given any sort of legitimate credibility.

But this man, name of Castiel DiAngelo, apparently believed his story fully. He also believed that he was an angel -- a legit angel, nothing metaphorical -- and the savior of man. He wasn't. He was just a normal human . . . with aggressive delusions of grandeur.

But he was filled with something . . . not normal. Once, as he looked in the mirror, he though he saw hands stretching his stomach, as it was some sort of nylon balloon. He quickly dismissed it as a hallucination.

Castiel looked rather beat up after a while, which led him stumbling around. His face was messed up and bloody. Then, far away from anyone else, he collapsed. His body cold to the touch. Breathing ceased. Then his eye popped open as all his injuries melted away, with a sudden intake of breath. All seemed right, until he doubled over in pain. It was then that he realized . . . there were things inside him. Real things. He wasn't imagining it.

The body convulsed noticably. He suddenly became a lot more bubbly -- taken over by the mass within him. His veins on the right side of his neck turned black. He was taken over by the species that called themselves . . . Leviathans. One of the oldest species in this realm, if not the oldest ones. His body just encapsulated one hundred and thirteen of them.

Black liquid began to bleed out of his left hand. This vessel was going to be . . . well, he was going to explode. He . . . it shambled away from the scene, holding its vessel together. But the further it walked, the more covered in black goo it became. It made its way to the municipal waterways.

From there, it waded into the water. Waded into it until it was waist deep in water.

Then shoulder deep.

Then completely submerged.

Seeing this, Falc0 came to investigate. His RAFian instincts telling him that something was up. What came next . . . Falc0 wasn't too sure he was seeing. He could feel something very old, something very powerful with the person who submerged himself.

There was an odd cyclone in the water over were he had submerged, and then he exploded underwater showing a starburst pattern of blackness which rapidly dissipated. Falc0 was absolutely flummoxed, but he saw a sign that said that this was . . . the public water supply.

Falc0 wasn't entirely sure what this meant, but he knew one thing for sure. He would have to report it to the others as soon as possible.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 09:19:40 PM »

New chapter.

BOOK CXLIX:
IMMORTAL AND IMMORAL

CHAPTER ONE:
The Bright Stuff

It was Cloak's first mission since the memorial. He wish he could say that his mind was fully and completely on task. But the back of his mind kept going back . . . there. He couldn't help it. He just kept thinking about it.

It seemed so . . . so perverse that Wheeza wasn't around anymore. She always seemed to be immortal, in a way, always just there, there for him when he needed her. Always there with a laugh and a smile. They said she was a prankster at the memorial. But that was not the Wheeza he knew and loved -- he always saw her a more of a stalwart savior, and motherly. And he missed her with all his heart, but even that couldn't describe the heartache he now felt.

He probably shouldn't have been on a mission so soon afterward, but it was just one of Demos's fiends. A simple mission. The only complicated thing was getting to it and not making stupid mistakes.

Which he made just entering the factory where this creature was supposed to be when he nearly fell into a pit because he wasn't paying any attention to his Earthsight. Being distracted can be as dangerous as any madman with a gun or a fiendish creature, and he should have known that already.

He had to get his mind back onto this mission. He could ruminate later. Priorities now. He continued into the bowls of this factory place -- Cloak wasn't really sure what this facility was -- until he came to the fiend.

The creature was roughly the size of an adult human. It had a head similar to an Eosapien, only with transparent yellow sacks and a blue face with human eyes (pale yellow sclera and black irises). It had no perceivable nose and a small mouth with prominent cheeks. It had a round, blue body with a white ridge around where a navel would be that encircled the entire waist. Its shoulders, forearms, lower legs, and feet were also blue. It was missing a right hand, and had a blaster device in its place. It had purple at its elbows, knees, left wrist, and where its legs met its stout body. Its thighs were white, while its upper arms were black. It had a strange white growth above its waist ridge that resembled a kilowatt meter. It had a growth on its back that resembled a small, downward-pointing strobe light. It also had two sinewy tendrils that glowed as brightly as the sacs on its head extending from its back, almost like a Lapis Lazuli's water wings, and looked superficially like the antennae on a Conductoid's head.

Cloak was prepared for anything that this thing could dish o--

FLASH!

Argh!! It was too bright, especially for his feline eyes, adapted to seeing in darkness. But all this did was irritate the Realm Walker. Cloak closed his eyes -- they would be a liability in this fight -- and used his Earthsight and Metalsight to do his seeing for him. He could literally feel the dampness in this long forgotten facility.

It would be enough. He used his Mastery over the Water Element and pulled the water from the dank walls and floor and blasted the creature with it. The creature seemed to recoil from it, as if it was allergic to this water. If that was true, it came to a very stupid spot to hide in.

At least -- it was over quickly. And with very little mess.

***

Demos called it a "lumosapien". He had designed it to illuminate dark places for exploration. When questioned why someone wouldn't just use a flashlight, Demos got testy as Yarin used to when his Food Yield Increaser was called a microwave.

***

"Eh, aw well," Malice said with a shrug, "he wasn't all that bright to begin with."
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 10:04:13 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY:
The Toady

Xeno was not happy. Not happy at all. Why did they think he was the best RAFian for the job? Nina, after all, knew the sewers better than he did, being a ninja turtle and all. Why him?

Not to mention it was raining cats and dogs right now. So his disposition was a little to the salty side. Wet fur and feathers was bad enough, but he didn't want to test the waterproofing of his gauntlets or his prototype drill bombs so thoroughly.

Demos and those stupid fiends of his. If he hadn't made them in the first place, Xeno would be dry right now. Dry and working on his . . . undisclosed project. Only he had more sense than Demos, and wasn't creating fiends, nor was he like Yarin and his microwave. He was more pragmatic than that.

Uh. Dammit. This rain was really reducing visibility. There was no way he could fly in this storm. He would have to go the rest of the way on foot. In the sewer. Wonderful. Well, at least it won't be raining in there. If it was, he would give the city council a piece of his mind.

Time to enter the sewer proper. And though he hesitated, he eventually went in, expecting it to smell to holy heaven. When he did he found the stench far more tolerable than he imagined, and so he pushed forward in the surprisingly labyrinthine corridors until he came to the creature, deep in the bowls of the sewer.

Second thought, that was poor phrasing.

The creature appeared to be an anthropomorphic frog that seemes very svelte at first, but could bloat up at a sign of danger. It had human-like eyes set like a frog's, with purple sclera and dark orange irises. Its main body, lower legs, feet, and head were a violent shade of scarlet and its lips, wrists, knees, and elbows were a deep purple, with a crown-shaped marking on its back of the same color. Its hands, belly, and shoulders were black while its upper arms and thighs were white.

"A frog," Xeno muttered, sounding aggrieved. "Of course it's a frog."

Upon hearing this, the frog fiend jumped at Xeno, who slide underneath it, and threw on of his drill bombs at it. It seemed to tank the explosion (there was much explosive yield in the bombs), but now Xeno just had seven of his prototypes left. But it seemed to be effective.

The creature gave a small hop which Xeno didn't need to dodge, and he threw another drill bomb at it. They repeated this scenario many times until Xeno just had two left, and the creature was actually showing signs of it working. It looked significantly weaker.

"Let's put you out of your misery," Xeno said, throwing what he hoped to be the last bomb needed. To his gratitude, it was. The creature was dead. And so Xeno began his trudge back up to the surface, where it was raining even harder now. Much to his displeasure.

***

Demos called it a "ranasapien" and he designed it for agricultural reasons. It was intended to bring rain to crops when necessary, but he made a mistake and it now brings acid rain with a stupid little dance. An ability it never demonstrated when fighting Xeno.

***

"I . . . I don't have any toad-related puns," Malice said, watching this like an octogenarian watching their "stories".
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 08:41:40 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER NINETEEN:
Where Do I Go From Here?

The service was nice. Cloak completely sobbed throughout, and did so unabashedly. He felt so completely disconsolate -- part of him did not want to believe that Wheeza was really gone. It was really very difficult to accept. She was really much too young to die.

When the service ended, Cloak did not attend the reception. For one thing, his mother and Dagger would be there and he would not palliate their mistakes. Another thing was that the room was far too confining for his liking. And he was already feeling boxed in.

Mercy immediately came to see if she was alright along with her husband. Cloak assured them that he was, more or less, but he had to leave the building. He was feeling cooped up.

He sat outside, his mind began to sing:

The earth is cold.
The fields are bare.
The branches fold against the wind that's everywhere.
Everyone else moves on,
So they survive.
When grief so deep
But I must keep myself alive.
I'll do what I must for now,
And trust in this big plan.
If I trust in mine, somehow,
I might find who I am.

In the palm of his left hand, the hand opposite his Mark (which, thankfully none of his family members questioned, though, granted, he had already pulled away from them and sat apart) he had created a scarlet construct with gold accents in the shape of his dearly departed aunt. He cried anew, as he sung plaintively:

But where do I go from here?
So many voices ringing in my ear . . .
Which is the voice that I was meant to hear?
How will I know?
Where do I go from here?

He took a brief pause to reflect, before continuing the sing:

My world has changed and so have I.
I've learned to choose,
And even learned to say goodbye.
The path ahead's so hard to see.
It winds and bends but where it ends
Depends on only me.
In my heart, I don't feel part of so much I've known.
Now it seems it's time to start
A new life on my own.

But he knew that this "new life" would be back at RAF, his true home. Despite his aunt Mercy, her husband, and his uncle's mother trying to make him feel welcome, he knew that he didn't belong here. He would always belong at RAF, the first place he really felt accepted and not just a vessel for menial labor that his mother treated him as.

Faith, Shadow, and Wheeza all treated like a person, like he was worth something. His mother never did. Which was why he never wanted her in his life again. But he finished up the song in his mind, in his heart:

But where do I go from here?
So many voices ringing in my ear.
Which is the voice that I was meant to hear?
How will I know?
Where do I go from here?

But he knew where he would go. At least, physically. He would return to RAF. But where would he be emotionally? That was what he didn't know.



SOURCE SONG: https://youtube.com/watch?v=UfTieVPjN7E
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 12:07:29 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN:
The Good Granny

They didn't.

They disowned her. They disavowed her. They essentially kicked her out and kicked her to the curb. They abandoned her in her moment of need. They didn't want so much public attention, not when the mainstream media seemed so interested in it (as means of obfuscating and deflecting what the corporatists in the government were doing behind the people's back), completely blowing its importance out of proportion and slander her as being akin to Hitler.

The RAFians, keeping up with this coverage, all thought that this was very heavy-handed and ludicrously framed. Yes, it was bad the man died -- but Velma Lynn Lord wasn't nearly as bad as Adolf Hitler. It was very poorly framed, and Vel Lynn got a ridiculously tough sentence of life in a maximum security prison -- one with a dubious history, including one inmate dying in a scalding shower.

They all thought it was ridiculous, and despicable. But they hadn't the power to do anything about it without completely superseding the law, and their public relations were tenuous at best. They would just have to let this play out.

***

Vel Lynn didn't shed a single tear as she got the sentence. She wasn't moved. She didn't even ruffle her uncomfortable orange jumpsuit that read #14800185 on the right side of her chest. She suffered wave after wave after wave of anger, resentment, and bitterness. She considered everyone fools. They couldn't see the dangers right in front of their faces . . .

Now she had to rot in jail because of their stupidity, because of their sensationalism. Bah! So be it. She would be the martyr. She would accept this extreme and unfair judgement with quiet dignity and -- oh, who was she kidding? This would be hell. Pure, unadulterated hell.

The guards would punish her most severely because she was a criminal now, and she knew what these guards thought of criminals. Subpar. Expendable. Subhuman. Not even worthy of basic human rights. If she was in pain from the bouts of torturous "punishments" these monsters liked to employ, she would scream and scream, and she would never be heard. All over an accident. An accidental murder she didn't intend on. That should have been manslaughter, not murder.

But the government need to distract the people from an issue they rather not be reported widely, and her case was convenient cover. All because of an accidental misfire of her weapon -- and resisting arrest -- she would be treated as lesser than human. She would be treated as if she was alien filth. It was almost more than she could bare. Being in a cage, like a friggin' rat.

But, apparently, she did something so bad to get herself locked up in solitary confinement. She never knew what, but suspected it was because on of her jailors didn't like her attitude or something of that nature. She couldn't believe this system, she couldn't believe how absolutely, royally f--

BOOM!!

There was an explosion and a massive silhouette stepped through the hole created. When her eyes adjusted, Vel Lynn saw who it was. A grandmotherly giant. The wrinkly, old woman had the build and physique of a Quartz solider from the Gem species. She had broad shoulders, stood about six and a half feet tall, and had wild, flyaway gray hair that was back-length. She wore a strapless, floor-length, lilac and snow-trimmed, tiered white dress, with what looked suspiciously like combat boots beneath. She held what appeared to be a lightsaber hilt, but with unnecessary angles and points.

"Well, dearie, what are you waiting for? Let's go," she said, in a deep, gravelly sort of voice, as if she chain smoked fifty cigarettes on the way here.

"I don't even know you," Vel Lynn countered.

"Me? I'm just Nana Goodness," she replied, with a malicious sort of twinkle in her eyes.

"You're serious," Vel Lynn said, skeptically.

"Honestly, dearie," she said, "do you really want to be left here?"

If Vel Lynn was truthful, she didn't. But she didn't exactly trust this Nana Goodness, but whatever she offered, it had to be better than here. So, it was with some reluctance, that Vel Lynn accepted her invitation and joined her at her . . . her orphanage.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 24, 2017, 08:16:32 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:
Under Arrest

Noelle pulled herself back to the present and considered her options, regarding her would-be assassin. There weren't all that many to choose from.

She had tried the diplomatic approach and was soundly rebuffed. That wasn't about to work a second time, despite her innate Andalite optimism. She listened to Bern Bridges -- her mind was already made up on this matter. That was out, definitely.

She could try force, but it would be laughable. Noelle wasn't forceful by nature, and that would only function to needlessly escalate tensions. And it would just confirm in that human's mind that aliens are evil incarnate. That was no good.

She could just do nothing, which was an action in and of itself. But then her conscience would gnaw at her, causing her anxiety. And if she hurt -- heaven forbid, killed someone else -- it would be on her. It would be her fault as much as this tinhorn assassin.

The only viable option she could conceive of was to seek council from the others, and by being completely honest with them about what she now saw as a foolhardy venture. However, while she intended on doing just that, when she arrived back at the forum and met with the others -- they informed her of Vel Lynn's fate, as well as her name.

Noelle still told them everything, though. She thought that complete and utter transparency on this issue was necessary.

***

Vel Lynn's deranged mindset deteriorated further and she began to see most everyone as aliens in disguise. She kept trying to rationalize herself by saying that's impossible, and this worked. For a while.

But, as it would turn out, this wouldn't even matter, because the stray bullet that she fired accidentally found a different target. It hit a man just jogging through the forest, on a well-worn path. He wasn't doing anything malicious or bad, he was just minding his own business. He . . . didn't survive the shot. He never even knew what hit him -- he was alive one moment, then lying in a pool of his own blood, seconds from death a moment later.

The cops -- well, the competent ones -- quickly traced the bullet from the man to her weapon. (Apparently, the grooves made by the gun were super unique to a gun brand that isn't really manufactured all that much anymore.) And they quickly narrowed down the owners of such weapons. She had had the gun registered to her (a bit of very poor planning on her part), and thus she was easily deemed suspicious by her refusal to cooperate with the authorities.

She refused to cooperate with the cops because she saw them as being an accessory to the alien invasion of the planet, threatening, in her view, the purity of the planet. Coadjutors to those who, in her view, were threatening Earth's sovereignty. Accomplices to those who would seek to overthrow their way of life. Abettors of their crimes against humanity. Why would she want comply with such villains? No. Best call them out on their crimes, their falsehoods.

But, naturally, the law said otherwise. Vel Lynn, being rather lackluster at hand-to-hand combat and a really poor shot, was easily subdued by the police and swiftly arrested. She was placed in prison to await trail -- all the while shouting obscenities and vulgarities at them, which did not go to improve their impressions of the woman.

Vel Lynn felt absolutely confident that her Knight brothers and sisters would come and help her out. Pay her bail. Exonerate her in some way. She was, in her view, so clearly in the right and her arrest was a serious miscarriage of justice. She saw herself, as all people who go to extremes and go way too far, in the right and was offended and astounded that she could possibly be judged wrong.

She knew about the victim, but instead of admitting it was a mistake, she haughtily accused the man she slain accidentally of being a closeted alien. An alien or supernatural creature with a human disguise, despite the copious amount of mounting evidence that said otherwise. She had no remorse, and she seemed confident that this was just a formality.

She was a Knight, and her brethren would help her out.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 24, 2017, 11:46:09 AM »

New chapter. Sorry about the brevity.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN:
RAF Land

Noelle managed to scrape by a modest living, unseen by humans, unless whe was in her human morph. She deliberately made her human morph look unnoticeable, because she did not want the humans noticing her too much. Most just thought she was eccentric. Which was good -- it gave her an excuse out of social functions and the like.

But then, one day, she heard an odd, almosf haunting voice.

"Somewhere in your mind's eye --"

Her curiosity undeniably piqued, she began to follow the sound, not knowing what it was.

"There is someplace you have never been."

She began her trek before coming to a place that she never saw. That she didn't know even could exist. It was almost like a secret egalitarian society. Then she noticed that the person singing seemed to be human. Unbeknowst to Noelle, it was musicman88, a retired RAFian in modern times.

"Welcome to the strangest place that you've ever been to,
Stranger than in dreams might give you a clue.
Close your eyes, it's here for you.
"

Noelle hovered in the woods watching this. She was entertained, but even more entralled when she realized the others were singing along.

"But everybody's crazy here in RAF.
You have to be a bit insane,
To sit and watch a house fly away and play.
Beside a field of raisin cane.
Call it crazy, if you please.
We're as happy as can be.
"

Noelle had no idea that the other RAFians, especially Cloak, was already aware of her presence and were already welcoming her. These were the times when they weren't as guarded.

"'Coz everybody's crazy here in RAF.
You simply won't believe your eyes.
Because if you've never been you wouldn't understand.
You couldn't in a million tries.
You'll see combinations that no one ever sees.
Ain't anything normal even with a swarm of these.
"

It was at this point the RAFians drew her into the song, and, though initially reluctant, she joined and had a wonderful time.

"And I sure hope I can get back to RAF again.
Back to RAF again.
Back to RAF again.
Back to RAF again.
Back to RAF again.
Back to RAF again.
"

So much was the enjoyment and accepting nature of these creatures, these RAFians, that she had decided to join them. From that point on, she joined them as a RAFian herself.



SOURCE SONG: https://youtube.com/watch?v=z_PwFgyIBpg
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 24, 2017, 08:02:09 AM »

Sorry about no new chapters over the weekend. I was working two double shifts in a row.

And you may have heard of Steven Bombs (arcs of Steven Universe released all at once), well, here's a Memoirs Bomb. So to speak.
  • Book MCLXXXVI (1,186): "Khaaaaaaan! Yeerk Jerk" -- The RAFians come upon a Khan worm/Yeerk hybrid who hates its existence.
  • Book MCLXXXVII (1,187): "Pay Attention to Me!!!" -- The RAFians must deal with a malevolent poltergeist who moved into the forum, unwanted. And it is a familiar face.
  • Book MCLXXXVIII (1,188): "Alas, Ala" -- Shock, Blocky, and EvilPinkDragon battle against a trio of child-devouring Ala.
  • Book MCLXXXIX (1,189): "Spiritual Royalty" -- Abby and Spectre become transcendent ghosts.
  • Book MCLXL (1,190): "Gaz, the Vampire Queen" -- Gaz becomes a transdecendant vampire, and the new Madre de Vampyra. She doesn't like the title.
  • Book MCLXLI (1,191): "Wild Howls" -- Wild becomes a transdescendant werebeast.
  • Book MCLXLII (1,192): "King of Hell" -- Shenecron and Hellscream, after both becoming transdescent demons, battle it out for the crown of Hell.
  • Book MCLXLIII (1,193): "This Sucks" -- Abby, Spectre, Gaz, and Wild have the transcendence sucked out of them to ressurect an old foe.
  • Book MCLXLIV (1,194): "Adjustment Period" -- Abby, Spectre, Gaz, and Wild adjust to the loss of their transcendence.

There. Don't think I rehashed anything. Getting close to Year 13. Remember, the titles are not final, and are subject to change.

New chapter.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN:
Arrival and Fall

The flight as an Aerophibian was easy. She found quickly that, not only could she survive in the vacuum of space, but she can burrow into hyperspace, as the Aerophibian brain knew to be. Her Andalite mind detected it to be Z-Space, but dismissed it as impossible.

Eventually, her time window was closing. She had to find a planet to touch down in, demorph, and possibly remorph to continue her trek. And that water-filled planet should do nicely. She landed at an undisclosed area and made sure she was safe, before demorphing.

After resuming her Andalite shape, she stayed in the thickest parts of the woods. This planet was new to her, and unknown dangers could be lurking around every corner. Still -- it was far better than having to deal with a male chauvinist who isn't willing to take "no" for an answer.

Then Noelle came across some script from a discarded container, which she recognized as an Earth script. She had read about Earth from her books and stories. Was she really on Earth? If she was, she would need a human morph to fit in.

That proved to be more challenging than it first appeared to acquire. It wasn't enough to simple acquire a single human and be done with it, as she would be identified and mistaken for that particular human. She would require several genetic patterns in order to perform the Maneuver. That way she could have her own human identity.

It wasn't easy, to be sure, but she managed to acquire enough of a variety to do the Maneuver and come up with a completely unique human morph. Of course, since she was not born a human, she wasn't completely prepared for the new sensations of the morph.

Taste. Sound-based communication instead of the telepathic nature of thought-speak. So much to get used to and acquainted with . . .

***

Ardnalil did not escape Noelle's flight unscathed.

Despite no one knowing just how she managed to leave the planet altogether -- she having left that tidbit of information out of her note -- everyone knew precisely why. They all heard about the note from her grieving family, and realize just the kind of person Ardnalil truly was.

It was as if they were all seeing him for the first time, and they now saw through his gregarious public persona. They saw the dark monster that lied within him. Their attitude toward this town hero, this war hero, cooled significantly.

This new, icy reception took Ardnalil by surprise. He didn't even know about Noelle's departure until Syko told him about it much later on. He . . . he didn't take it well. Nor did he take it well when he found out that she left a note which, in his view, bad mouthed him. This outraged him, and quickly tried to dispute these accusations and allegations.

But thing was his explanations were outlandish and sounded more fabricated and sloppily put together than Noelle's more earnest, truer account. At least sixty percent of the town believed her narrative over his, with only a meager seventeen percent believing his. The remaining twenty-three percent had no opinion at all.

He wasn't nearly as popular as he used to be, and he found that he himself needed to get away. He managed to get himself a captainship aboard the Aximili with Andalites who didn't know his history. The fact that he had ascended to be the captain of this Dome Ship wasn't without controversy.

In the end, Ardnalil's amorous intents with Noelle evaporated. He now thought chasing her so relentlessly was proving to be far more trouble than it was ever worth. That it had caused far more trouble than any relationship with her was ever worth.

This is why he was so cold and distant towards her during the Dark Phoenix debacle on Earth. Where he would ultimately meet his demise. . . .
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 21, 2017, 07:16:49 AM »

Wow. Finally 250,000+ views.

New book ideas.

  • Book MCLXXXII (1,182): "Music Mayhem" -- The Music Miser and Ember team up to take GH down.
  • Book MCLXXXIII (1,183): "Ghost Mortem" -- Abby is forced in an impossible game of hide and seek.
  • Book MCLXXXIV (1,184): "Good Night, and Good Riddance" -- Bern Bridges falls from grace.
  • Book MCLXXXV (1,185): "Killer Crocs" -- Leatherhead (age 16) is framed.

Hopefully I didn't rehash anything. Remember, the titles are still works in progress and are subject to change when time comes to write them or outline them.

New chapter.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN:
Nothing Can Be Done

Noelle felt a sadness that this woman, this Vel Lynn could not let go of her anger. That she will never be redeemed or seek redemption. That she had to scapegoat every nonhuman sentient creature as evil, despite being unable to see how evil she herself was being. That kind of blindness -- it was the same with Ardnalil, and he's dead now. That what intense hatred and bigotry will always yield in the long run. Pain, death, and suffering.

Noelle, who had felt rather cross with her, now felt pity and sadness. Vel Lynn cleaved so desperately to her hatred that it blinded her to the truth. But that's always the case, isn't it? What was that human saying, now? "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"? It was something like that, a vicious, unending cycle. She wouldn't be part of that cycle.

She could forgive Vel Lynn for what she was, though she would never condone her actions. But Noelle honestly wished that she would let her anger go, lest it burn her from the inside out. She wished the human woman would allow herself to feel more than the pain and suffering she had endured for these five Earth months.

However, it did not excuse her actions. It did not excuse her intent. It did not excuse her bigotry. But there wasn't anything Noelle could do to stop her hatred, to end her bigotry. Nothing at all. If she wanted to change, that would have to be Vel Lynn's choice and no one else's. You can't force someone to change -- well, you could brainwash someone, but that's not really the same thing. But would be more like manipulation than real meaningful change. No one can do that unless they want it -- no one else can force change in someone, though plenty have tried.

Noelle could have tried to conjole and coax Vel Lynn into letting go of her anger, her bigotry. For all the good it would have done. When a sentient being has their mind made up -- this applies to Andalites, too -- it is nigh on impossible to shake those firmly-held beliefs.

There was nothing more that she could have done. And Noelle decided not to feed outside RAF again. It was just not safe to do so anymore.

***

Where was it? WHERE?!

How could she have lost it again? She had the shot lined up to rights! She should have taken the shot! So what if it would have been a shoulder shot, and not the headshot she wanted. The shoulder shot could have maimed it enough to render it immobile while she came up and finished the job.

But, let's face it, she wouldn't have ended it with a single shot. She would have emptied her entire clip into the inhuman creature. Then reloaded and emptied that clip into it. And Vel Lynn would have enjoyed every minute of the inhuman demon getting everything it deserved.

Then she would go on and find the next one and repeat the process all over again. And again. And again. Until they were all gone or until this hole in her was gone. Mad Dog . . . she would avenge him. She would. She would make every one of these inhuman monsters quiver at the sound of her name.

She would be the Knight that exceed them all. She would be the Knight Above Knights. Hell, she might even become a Queen Knight, something that is a rarity. Most of the King Knights -- the Knight of Humanity leadership -- are male. It was something like five to fourteen percent were female. But she wouldn't only be a Queen Knight -- shed be the most brutal, the most merciless, the most ruthless -- the most feared of the all.

And some actual humans decided to betray their species, their race, she would just slaughter them as well. Any human willingly fraternizing with these inhuman freaks deserved the same fate. Whether they voluntarily surrendered their body to the parasitic demons, or whether they forced a perverse camaraderie with these filthy monsters. They all deserved to die. For their betrayal and fraternization. No exceptions.

She had gone so far down this slippery slope, there was no way to return to the sweet, if bigoted, girl she used to be. In her quest to kill that which she perceived to be monsters, she was becoming one herself. And it was as if she was.unconsciously embracing this.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 20, 2017, 02:58:36 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN:
A Decision Not Made Lightly

For years, she had to put up with this now. YEARS!! How many times did she have to tell Ardnalil to get lost before he got the message? How many times did she had to rebuff his many unwanted advances?

Enough was enough. It was time for her to leave this place. To leave the homeworld. Her Aerophibian morph should allow her to. Even if it didn't -- she could use it to find a place where she could escape Ardnalil once and for all. And she seriously considered deliberately becoming a nothlit to escape him as well. But she didn't want to lose her natural Andalite form -- morphing was strange enough at times, she wanted this little bit of familiarity to make her feel better.

This was not a decision she made in haste, however. She couldn't come up with any better alternative. So, the decision was made.

She left her family a note. One that was as detailed as she could make it. One that apologized for her abrupt disappearance. One that stated the reasoning for her departure. One that stated why she would not be returning. Suffice it to say, it was more of a novel than a note, at this point. She poured all her feelings into it, so her family knew how much she still loved them, but could not live like this any longer.

Then she left her family scoop. The home she had known for so many, many years. She never would see it again, but it was necessary to finally leave this place. To finally be safe from Ardnalil.

She hid away in the most secluded spot she could find, and then she began to morph. The first change was her eyes became yellow and almond-shaped, and her stalk eyes slurped into her head. But she had long since lost the panic she would have at losing nearly 360-degree vision. But she had to admit when she realized Aerophibians eyesight was not as good as her own with her main eyes. But she quickly discovered she could use a neuroshock echolocation that was, in many ways, superior to eyesight.

Then her fur was absorbed into her skin which darkened into the reddish color of the Aerophibian, with the body markings coming next. Then her face cracked open as the Aerophibian mouth formed, with yellow markings around being drawn around it as Aerophibian teeth formed in the newly-formed grimace. Then she grew the characteristic Aerophibian horns, which she could fire the neuroshock blasts from -- she didn't know that.

Then she lost her tail-blade as her tail took on Aerophibian properties, as she seemed lose her neck, her trapezoidal head sat directly on her shoulders. And she gained the ability to blast a neuroshock from her tail.

Then the more drastic changes happened. Her seven fingers on each hand melted together into two digits on each hand as her thumbs bloated to match the size of these digits. Her front legs seemed to be merging with her arms, but stopped midway, and slammed into her sides, fusing with them, while creating the Aerophibian patagia.

She was basically a male Aerophibian with female Andalite hindlegs now. But that swiftly changed as her knees switched direction with a nauseating crack, and her hooves melted and became the Y-shaped feet of an Aerophibian.

The morph was complete. And she jumped up into the sky and sort of just stayed there as she held her arms out. Somehow she doubted it was the patagia doing this, but she decided not to think about it. She was on a time limit, after all.

She left the Andalite homeworld. She would have liked to say she never looked back, but this was not true. She did once, before she hardened her resolve and left.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 19, 2017, 06:37:02 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWELVE:
Ardnalil Just Doesn't Get It

As Noelle disengaged from Vel Lynn (who took a while to realize that Noelle had left her), and went to find a safe place to demorph. And remorph to make her way back to the forum. As she did, she found herself remembering her past . . .

***

<Noelle!! Get away from that monster!!> Ardnalil cried, galloping towards Noelle in what he clearly thought was a stalwart and brave manner. He was still trying to impress her with his "bravery" and "heroism". Noelle felt exasperated by this, as it didn't work the first hundred and forty-eight times, why would he ever think it would work now?

When he arrived, he roughly pushed her out of the way and decapitated the dead Aerophibian before rigor mortis could even set in with a single slash of his broad tail-blade. After this, he looked on proudly, thinking himself a great and powerful warrior for what he's done.

Noelle, however, saw him nothing more as swaggering diva who expected people to fawn over him endlessly for no other reason than he's him. This was precisely the reason that Noelle found him intolerable. The reason -- one of many, actually -- that they are no longer an item.

<That was unnecessary, you brainless twit!> Noelle yelled.

<I just save your life, Noelle!!> he protested. <This is how you thank your savior?>

<Oh, don't flatter yourself, Ardnalil,> Noelle scolded. <You already have an entire town for that. Thinking you're some big war hero.>

<I am a war hero,> Ardnalil said, addressing her very coldly now. His big hope to impress her by killing the strange, foreign creature had failed so thoroughly he actually sat up and took notice.

<I find that very hard to believe, War-Prince Ardnalil-Shiacom-Maar,> Noelle said, derisively. <You see, I know you. And I know you to behave very dishonorably, just to win a cause, to win a war.>

<I do what I must. Andalite sovereignty supercedes that of lesser species in times of war or imminent galactic crisis. You wouldn't know, you're just a -->

<Just a what, Ardnali?> Noelle said, not backing down despite Ardnalil's larger size and tail-blade. <Just a female? Well, despite your chauvinistic ideals to the contrary, Ardnalil, females have brains, too, you know. And, despite your nosy remonstrations, I choose to actually use mine. I could tell you a million things just plain wrong about your argument about sovereignty, but I don't want to engage you in a debate about ethics when you're so clearly unarmed for it. Furthermore, your little scheme won't work.>

<Scheme? What scheme?>

<Don't pretend, Ardnalil. Don't lie -- you are not very good at it.> Noelle said, very crossly. <I have no interest -- NONE -- with being your wife. Nothing -- you hear me? NOTHING --- you do will ever change that stance. Nothing. You have plenty of other females to fawn over you. Choose one of them and leave me alone.>

Noelle was ready to leave. She was just so utterly sick and tired of defending herself from his relentless onslaught of unwanted advances and pressurings to marry him. She would sooner marry a rock than this blockhead. Why couldn't males ever seem to take 'no' for an answer? She wasn't obligated to marry him, like he seemed to think. She wasn't property to be owned. She was not a prize to be won at a carnival, and she really resented being treated as such.

But Ardnalil simply did not know when to give up. So determined was he to have Noelle as his wife, he would gladly force her into it, and force her to endure a unhappy marriage where he would call the shots and have total power of her. Her opinions on the matter mattered very little to Ardnalil.

He blocked her way, and said in a low, threatening sort of tone, <I'll have you as my wife, Noelle. Make no mistake about that.>

<Ardnalil,> Noelle said, in a scolding tone that one would usually reserve for misbehaving children. <I get a say in this, too. And I say that you will never have me as your wife. Never EVER. I'd sooner die than marry you.>

Then she forced her way past him and galloped as fast as she could to her family's scoop. She had to leave. Had to get away from Ardnalil. As soon as Andalitely possible. Fortunately, she now had the means to do it.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 19, 2017, 10:25:48 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER ELEVEN:
Failed Diplomacy

Noelle, still hidden as a raccoon, decided to break her silence to her would-be assassin. The useful thing about thought-speak is you can't tell the direction it comes from, so Noelle didn't risk compromising her position.

<So,> she said, her voice a tad harder and more stern than she had intended, <any particular reason you want to kill me? Or did you just mistake me for an oddly-colored deer?>

"What the devil?!" Vel Lynn demanded, holding her head, dropping her gun on the grass-carpeted ground.

Noelle felt like she'd rather not go into the intricacies of how thought-speak worked and just what this form of communication entailed. She might have indulged in this act, if this hadn't been the person who shot at her. That kind of shortened her patience with her, as she was still understandably cross with her.

<You do not look like the hunter type,> Noelle said, taking inventory of her attire and her clear inexperience with the weapon she had. Had she had the marksmanship of someone like . . . like Ardnalil, Noelle was sure that she'd already be dead. <So, I must ask, why did you want to do me bodiky harm? I have done nothing to harm you.>

"Oh, it's you, isn't it? You're in my head you monstrous piece of . . . of . . . of alien scum!" she said, sound quite deranged. "I knew you unEarthly sacks of garbage were vile, but this proves that you're demons as well!!"

<I. Am not. A demon.> Noelle said, with dignity. It was hard not to be offended by Vel Lynn's slander.

"Yes, you are!! Every one of you freakish mistakes of nature are demons!! Monsters!! Beasts!!" she roared and ranted. "You are all blemishes on existence that needs -- that sorely needs to be expunged!! You endanger the genetic purity of existence, and must be done away with."

<You sound like a Highbreed,> Noelle said, trying hard to keep the disdain from her tone. This woman was obviously a Knight, with the vile rhetoric she was spewing like a toxic, noxious gaseous emission. <Well, before they reformed, anyway.>

"Meaningless words!" she raged. Noelle idly hoped there wasn't a red ring looking for a master right now. "You, all of you, are monsters!! Freaks!! Especially those with that 'R' branding! I know the truth!!"

She was blaming the RAFians for something. Noelle could tell there was a more personal reason behind this, but she didn't know what. She didn't point this out or pry, because that just might serve to destabilize her emotional state even more. Not a desirable outcome.

"You're the reason I lost him," she fumed. Noelle quickly noticed that she was talking to herself now, more than her. "You're the reason why he was taken from me. You freaks are the ones that killed him. My brother didn't do anything wrong, didn't do anything to anyone to deserve being stripped away of everything but his skin and clothes!"

Ah. There was. Her brother was either a victim of Skinwalker, of a Slitheen, of a Warwolf, or of Billion. But there weren't enough clues, in context, about which. Though, if Noelle had to guess, going from how she framed it as if she found him on the floor like crumpled laundry, she would have to hazard a guess and say that he was a victim of Billion. But she couldn't be absolutely sure.

"I know the evil you and all your abominable kind can do," she said. Noelle knew she wasn't talking about Andalites specifically, but every kind of sentient, non-Terran lifeform. It was a tad offensive, akin to calling every species in North American "you kind" when it was just a gross generalization, especially considering her dismissive and maligned framing. "I know the truth about you. I watch Bern Bridges. I know the truth about you abominations."

And there it was. Proof that diplomacy would never work. She watched Bern Bridges, and clearly bought into his schlock hook, line, and sinker. There would be no dissuading her from her wrongful stances. Noelle would just have to devise another way to deal with this threat.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 18, 2017, 12:34:53 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TEN:
Vel Lynn*

Her name was Velma Lynn Lord, Vel Lynn for short, and she was a probationary Knight. Such members are know as Squires, and they were supposed to be covert members. She had joined up with them a while ago, ever since the RAFians dealt with Billion.**

And Billion was the driving reason why Vel Lynn joined the Knights to begin with. Her brother, Randall "Mad Dog" Paul Lord, was one of Billion's many unnamed victims. Vel Lynn didn't know this, though she kept the skin carelessly discarded by Billion when he moved on beyond the biker bar. Vel Lynn had always had a disdain for nonhuman species, but at the skinning of her beloved older brother, this bloomed into outright xenophobia that any Knight could be proud of.

She always idolized Mad Dog, who, despite his aggressive-sounding nickname, was not a criminal. He was just a biker -- or, for the politically correct, a motorcycle enthusiast. His fashion choices tended to be stereotypical as well, wearing either jeans and black shirt or leather that rather showcased his large, gorilla-like build. Vel Lynn was about nine or so years younger, and Mad Dog was always explicitly good to her. He never hesitated to babysit her or take care of her when the need arose. This is where much of her idolizing stemmed from.

But Mad Dog was far from perfect. He was highly opinionated, and could be really belligerent when he drank enough. He wasn't anywhere near fair and egalitarian, either, having just as much disdain for sentient nonhumans as Vel Lynn, only he was willing to hide behind religion to do it, using cherry-picked passages and deliberately taking some out of context to justify his views. His only life goals -- his dream, really --was either to become a prominent Knight of Humanity or become a prominent Hell's Angel, despite not really wanting to put in the necessary work or effort to become either.

He may have been a good big brother, he was slovenly and lazy. He wasn't going anywhere, and he was principally living by doing odd jobs, though he considered himself a nomad. He just made enough to feed himself and his bike, and he felt as if he didn't need anything else. Not even a phone. He felt as if his life was set for the time being -- he didn't care if he was technically homeless, and that he didn't make nearly enough to pay taxes. He had his bike and the road, and he would visit his favorite sister (because she was his only sister).

This happened principally because he had a falling out with his rather conservative parents who wanted him to get out and get a real job, find a good woman, and settle down and have a family. Mad Dog didn't want any of that -- he preferred his wandering, nomadic life and the freedom he felt that it brought to him.

Then he decided to go to that shady tavern on that late February evening.*** Vel Lynn never learned what happened to him at that dirty bar, which she could never remember the name of -- something like the Toepick Tavern or something stupid like that. But she knew that place is where her brother was murdered. And murdered by alien scum, she knew it. She knew it! Every last one needed to be killed -- not removed from the planet, not deported away, killed.

They, in her view, didn't deserve to live. They hadn't any right to breathe Earth air, smell Earth scents, hear Earth sounds, taste Earth food, touch Earth ground -- none of it!! Especially if they possess that "R"-shaped marking. She listened to Bern Bridges, she knew the threat these bearers of this sigil posed. If she killed one of them, and presented its bloated corpse to the Knight leadership, that would surely streamline her to full Knight status, instead of being a stupid Squire. She would achieve her brother's dream for him, since he couldn't. Because he was just and empty skin, which Vel Lynn had cremated and kept on her mantel in an ornate urn.

She disowned her parents when she considered they're reaction to his fate inappropriately benign and muted. When they didn't follow her extreme radicalization. They were fools, she decided. They never loved Mad Dog, and this inaction on their part was unequivocal proof of it. Action must be taken to rectify this grievous mistake. And the only way to to do that is to kill all aliens, to slaughter them like the swine they all are. She had come a long way in the five months since her beloved brother's death.

Noelle was just in the wrong place, at the wrong time.



* Say it five times fast to understand where the name was based on.

** See Book CXVI/Book #116, "Skin Crawlers", for details.

*** See Book #116, Chapter 12, "Investigation and Replication".
Posted by: Cloak
« on: April 18, 2017, 12:14:34 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER NINE:
The Dying Alien

Noelle quickly made her way to the spot where it had just impacted, expecting a large crater. But, if anything, it was barely a dimple in the planet's surface. And, somehow, it was still alive. And suffering. Noelle had to help it, as she hurried to approach.

It was a large, red and yellow alien, similar in appearance to a manta ray. It had hands with three digits and feet with three digits. It had yellow horns above its eyes, which had a yellow stripe leading down to yellow lips. It had a lizard-like tail. It had ray-like patagia, which are yellow in front and red in back. Its sides had markings that resemble gills and it had a zigzag pattern around their upper torso. It was a male Aerophibian, though the species was unknown to Noelle at the time.*

"Not . . ." he muttered, standing up (or, at least, trying to), "Aeropela . . ."

<Don't move!> Noelle cautioned. She noticed the extensive burn to his left side and upper arm. It looked like a deadly serious wound. <You're hurt!>

His tail flicked with yellowish sparks, as he warned, before he collapsed onto the ground, "St-stay away . . . wh-whatever . . . you are . . ."

It didn't take any rocket scientist to see that this poor alien's life was ebbing away ever so slowly. The only reason that Noelle could deduce that he hadn't succumbed already was due to sheer obstinance. He was determined to get back to this place, this Aeropela. But there was no way he could.

<I do not wish you any harm,> Noelle said to him, rushing to his side, dangerously close to his neuroelectric shocks. But he hadn't the energy or strength to summon their full force. <Quite the contrary, friend, I wish to help you.>

"T-too late for that," he said, his breath was ragged. "T-too late."

<No, no, stop moving,> Noelle cautioned again, touching the alien. Hoping to offer him some comfort in his last moments. <You will just exacerbate your injury, and increase your pain.>

She had to acquire him just to settle him down, to help him find some peace. A piece of him would live on in her -- although she would later forget to having an Aerophibian morph when she gain more powerful morphs, and she would be ashamed to admit this, when pressed.

But he came out of the acquiring trance, still alive and still very much in pain. Noelle decided that it would be best to soothe him, to be with him until his final moments passed. It's what she would want if she was in his situation.

<What's your name?> Noelle asked, attempting in vain to distract him from his pain, kneeling very awkwardly, given her centaur-like body design. <Who and what did this to you?>

"My n-name?" he said, his breathing noticeably labored now. It seemed to cost him everything just to speak. "It's un . . . unimportant. You seem l-like a . . . a good soul. Not that I've ever been a g-good judge of s-such things."

<Shhh,> Noelle said, now thinking encouraging him to speak might have been a mistake, considering how much energy he was expending when he probably didn't have much of it left. <Save your strength.>

"It was the armada . . ." he said, as if he was determined to name his murderers and warn Noelle of them. "Beware the Ex--"

He died mid-word, before Noelle could do anything about it.

<Go in peace, alien friend,> Noelle said, kindly, when the shock ended. But then she was interrupted . . .



*