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Topic Summary

Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 11:05:00 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWO:
Dreams and Kluge

Cloak stood before . . . something unidentifiable. It a big mound of something. All he knew was that he had to get this thing out of here. He had to -- or else she would be mad at him. She would -- he rather not think what she would do. She was . . . scary, when she was mad. When there were not instant results.

Then he heard someone behind him. He asked, "What are you doing here?"

"I was about to ask you the same question," Wheeza said. "What do you plan to do now that you've found that? Keep it locked up at home?"

Cloak turned to the mound, "First, I have to get it out of here."

"AND THEN WHAT?!" Wheeza asked forcefully. "You never think these things through! This is exactly what happened when --"

"I would have figured something out!" Cloak protested.

"No!" Wheeza shouted. "If your RAFians hadn't found you, you would have frozen to death!"

"I know my own destiny --"

"Is it your OWN destiny?" she asked. "Or is it a destiny that another has tried to force on you?"

"Stop it, Wheeza, I have to do this."

"Cloak, I'm BEGGING you," Wheeza said emphatically, "it's time for you to look inward, and start asking yourself the big questions. Who are YOU and what do YOU want?"

Cloak collapsed with his hand on his head . . . *

Then he woke up. He was alone in his thread, so he felt no compunction in allowing himself to cry openly. Her death . . . it still hurt. He still missed her dearly.

He knew it was just a dream, and that he wasn't really talking to the real Wheeza. But it just reminded him how much he missed her. . . .

***

His name was Doctor Emanuel Lucius Kluge. He was a bit what you may call a mad scientist, though his doctorate was legitimate, unlike a lot of mad scientists running around nowadays.

He was a neuroscientist, specialized in what he called emotionology. He specifically researched how the human brain reacted to various emotions. He had become curious if there was a technological means to manipulate another's emotions. This is where the mad scientist part comes in.

He had successfully mapped how the human brain processes various emotions: sorrow, shyness, suffering, boredom, surprise, shock, trust, awe, wonder, shame, worry, confidence, self-confidence, anger, schadenfreude (the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another), contempt, saudade (deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves), attraction, sadness, contentment, resentment, avarice, remorse, curiosity, regret, apathy, rage, depression, pride, anticipation, pleasure, desire, pity, fear, passion, despair, panic, annoyance, outrage, disappointment, lust, courage, loneliness, disgust, joy, anguish, jealously, hope, interest, distrust, humiliation, angst, hostility, ecstasy, horror, compassion, hatred, embarrassment, happiness, affection, empathy, guilt, love, grief, enthusiasm, gratitude, anxiety, frustration, envy, and euphoria. It was one of the most comprehensive mapping of the human emotional spectrum ever done, and it was a massive undertaking that Emanuel undertook with great enthusiasm and gleeful abandon.

He quantified all those into seven emotions -- which, unsurprisingly, aligned with the emotional spectrum (with courage replacing willpower, which, technically speaking, wasn't an emotion). From there, he created several small chips which looked rather like the faceplate of the Omnitrix only black and blank, with four metal clamps on it. They were roughly the size of small coins. He called them, and trademarked them, as "moodulators",  a portmanteau of "mood" and "modulators".

They were intended to stick to a person -- humans, obviously, as he hadn't mapped any other species' brain who were capable of emotion. Anyway, the moodulators were designed to adhere to the skin of a human being where the skull and spine met, right beneath the hairline. From there, when activated, they could control the chipped target's emotions -- although he only really got far enough to program in anger, greed, fear, courage, hope, compassion, and love.

And all these moodulators were controlled by a simple device that looked remarkably like a smartphone, with a rather generic cover on it. He just thought a touch screen interface to control these devices would be simpler and easier to use than some clunky remote control device out of the eighties.

He had no idea if these moodulators would even work, and never conceived of the kind of misuse such a device would have. He just wanted to see if it was possible.



* Based on this.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 05:02:48 AM »

New chapter.

BOOK CLXIV:
MOODY

CHAPTER ONE:
The Tengu Fiend

Az was dispatched to take care of the next fiend released. Honestly, how many of these things did Demos make unnoticed by anyone in the forum? Az used the Iceman trick of creating a ice slide to the floating facility. It was rather curious that no one knew of this facility before now.

Upon landing upon the deck of this Helicarrier-like facility, he immediately became aware that this was a former Cadmus facility -- as their emblem was plastered everywhere. The strand of DNA within a beaker within an eye sigil was everywhere that it would have been aesthetically pleasing. But it was remarkable that this floating city (with minor aesthetics to the buildings on board that had a slight traditional Japanese architectural motif to it) was still somehow airborne without and visible means of propulsion, especially as it carried signs of being abandoned and defunct. Forgotten by Cadmus itself, apparently.

Az was given pause to wonder just how many of these abandoned and/or forgotten Cadmus facilities that there were. But his mind had hit upon an necessary point to consider -- when this facility loses power and falls, it would cause untold collateral damage, both in lives and property damage. He had to nip it in the bud -- he immediately when to what appeared to be the bridge of this aerial research facility. He immediately programmed the coordinates to the ocean -- just in case.

The fiend wasn't that hard to find either. It was right outside, on the deck, which wasn't unlike the deck of an aircraft carrier. The creature was the size of a rather tall human with triangular, human-like with one eye having a crimson sclera ands a brown iris and the other having a brown sclera and an black iris. It had barn swallow-like wings, with a jet pack-like structure on its back. It had a golden plates on the back of its head, which had brown hair sticking out here and there, and a green mask-like face without a mouth and a long, spike-like nose. It had a brown crest, and overlarge silver epaulets on its green shoulders. Its upper arms were brown with its elbows being purple. Its lower arms were zigzagged with monochromatic colors. Its right hand was black, while its left was a structure similar to that of a Shiftry's hand, and either red or orange (depending on how the light hit it). Its high chest was yellow with vertical orange stripe, with a brown abdomen. It had a green disc around its waist which came to a sharp edge all around. It had a green crotch with two purple rings where its legs met his body. It had brown thighs, brown growths on its knees that matched its crests with another purple ring over this. Its lower legs were black with white markings. Its feet were pod-like and orange with a green triangle marking that was oriented from toe inward. There was also a small red divet in each foot.

The creature saw Az, made a scoffing sound as it floated down near the ground, as if to get Az and it in the same camera shot. This it slashed outward with its leaf-like, three-pronged blade, and held a pose, as if it was posing dramatically for a camera.

"What the --" Az said, as it immediately floated up, hovering rather like a drunken hippo, Az thought. But this was a deception, for when it dived (blade forward, of course) it was with astonishing aerial mobility and agility. Az had somehow managed to do a rather poorly-executed backflip over this, escaping any harm from the attack.

Then, when it came back, it fired off its blade, which spun like an industrial fan. This cause a column of air to billow up, like a cylindrical tornado. But it stopped before it reached the end of the deck. Az dodged it by basically encasing it in ice, before the fiend regenerated the blade.

Az had had enough of this. When the tengu-based fiend landed, Az froze its feet to the floor and proceed to pummel it with ice punches and ice projectiles until it was no more.

Az, breathing hard, called Yarin for a pick up.

***

Demos called it a "tengusapien". Demos wouldn't elaborate on its purpose.

***

Malice watched with detached interest, asking herself why she was still doing this. She answered herself that it was because she hadn't anything better to do.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 13, 2018, 06:43:21 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY:
Staying Frosty

Parker was dispatched to an evacuated ski resort. He wished that he could go up to the lodge and kick back by the open, inviting fire, pulling Helen close . . .

But he had a job to do. And he had to do a thorough job of it. But it became increasingly obvious that he would have to ski to the base of the resort to even find this fiend in the first place. It was not something that he enjoyed. Skiing down the mountain in insane weather conditions on a track that clearly was not maintained yet before the evacuation order. And all that in heavy SPARTAN armor, which alone should have made it impossible -- had it not been for the improvements Parker made to the armor during his years at RAF. Every time he came across a useful piece of tech for his armor, he would mimic and replicate it for his armor. This is what made it lighter than normal, but still.

At the bottom of the resort, he came across a shack where he deftly entered, and found a staircase leading downward. He immediately took it, where he eventually entered a large room where they clearly create more snow and ice if the skiing season's weather wasn't kind enough to oblige. There were ice blocks going on conveyor belts -- for some purpose that neither Parker nor Tyr could ascertain. But that wasn't too important as the creature was right before him.

The creature was twice as tall as Parker and three times as wide. Its white, mouthless, noseless head with a pale yellow cranium with four green divets was sunken into its massive torso. It had round, human-like eyes with dark orange sclera and pink irises. It had a round collar made of black ice bricks. The upper half of its torso was made of ice blocks in an opening-less igloo pattern, above a pale yellow section, with a cold generator emblem on its chest and back with black tubes linking the two. The creature's spherical shoulders were made from ice bricks sitting upon green sections that connected it to its white upper arms. Its lower arms were made of ice blocks with yellow wrists. It had black, mitten-like hands with attached knuckledusters. The knuckledusters were pale blue with silver nodes. Its waist was white and its pelvic area was light blue. Its thighs were white, pale yellow kneecaps, and its lower legs were made of ice blocks, like an igloo's main portion connected to yellow ankles. It had purple feet with blue, pod-like toes with four red divets.

It saw Parker and had a stupid-sounding guffaw as it generated several ice sculptures of him. It jumped and smashed half of them. Slammed its left fist down on a third of the remainder, then its right fist down on the second third of the remainder, and finally slammed both fists down on the final third. Then guffawed again, as if it was being clever.

"Oh, boy," Parker said, urged to rub his temples. "All muscle, and no brain."

It charged forward, with an ice-covered fist. Parker, surprised by this goliath's astonishing mobility and agility, had just managed to pivot and sidestep in order to avoid it. It slammed the ground, causing a crawling wave of ice spikes that slithered its way to Parker, who immediately and instinctively shot it.

It was here when he got the idea. He had to move quickly, for it to be effective. He threw a sticky bomb onto the fiends head. It exploded with a flash. But the fiend survived, only dazed by it. But Parker wasn't done -- that sticky bomb was just a distraction.

Parker had deftly adhered flashbang grenades on the fiend shoulders, torso, lower legs, and forearms. Parker then ran to a safe distance as the fiend collected its senses. Then Parker detonated the flashbangs.

It was done.

***

Demos called it a "furosutosapien". He said nothing more on the subject.

***

Malice watched it, but seemed restless and bored.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 12, 2018, 06:19:50 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER NINETEEN:
To Be a RAFian

With the training room gone, the RAFians had to be more creative with their training. It didn't really affect Cloak's training regimen, as he never used the so-called "Danger Room". But the others no longer had that luxury.

Cloak looked on from his spot underneath a large oak tree. He watched Esplin training a couple of newbies to see if they were up to snuff. He was not afraid to get into their faces, either.

<Let's get down to business, to defeat the Banned.
Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?
You're the saddest bunch I ever met.
But you can bet before we're through --
Mister, I'll make a RAFian out of you!
>

He got into the face of this newbie, who was quite intimidated at his Andalite face -- the lack of a mouth, the stalk eyes, the whole shebang.

<Tranquil as a forest,
But on fire within.
Once you find your center,
You are sure to win!
You're a spineless, pale pathetic lot,
And you haven't got a clue!
Somehow I'll make a RAFian out of you!
>

Despite his gruff, intimidating exterior that Esplin was putting on, Cloak knew Falwell that Esplin was enjoying this. He was enjoying scaring these potential new RAFians.

One complained:

"I'm never gonna catch my breath."

Another complained:

"Say goodbye to those who knew me!"

Yet another repented:

"Boy, was I fool in school for cutting gym!"

Yet another regretted:

"Now I really wish that I knew how to swim!"

Cloak continued to watch with a sort of detached interested, trying not to think about Danger, the unnamed creature that aged to dust. They took care of the remains, but it wasn't something easily forgotten.

<Be a RAFian.
We must be swift as the coursing river.
Be a RAFian.
With all the force of a great typhoon.
Be a RAFian.
With all the strength of a raging fire,
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon!
>

Cloak saw some improvements. These improvements looked promising. Except one.

<Time is racing toward us
Till the Banned arrive.
Heed my every order,
And you might survive!
>

He turned to the one who wasn't improving, and sang:

<You're unsuited for the rage of war.
So pack up, go home.
You're through.
How could I make a RAFian out of you?
>

This idealistic boy was turned away. He wasn't ready for the kind of demands being a RAFian has. They've learned from past events about having unqualified RAFians.

<Be a RAFian.
We must be swift as the coursing river.
Be a RAFian.
With all the force of a great typhoon.
Be a RAFian.
With all the strength of a raging fire,
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
Be a RAFian.
We must be swift as the coursing river
Be a RAFian.
With all the force of a great typhoon
Be a RAFian.
With all the strength of a raging fire,
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
>

Now, would Esplin pass the remainder of these new recruits? They won't get a Mark until at least six months of service.



SOURCE SONG: https://youtube.com/watch?v=TVcLIfSC4OE
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 11, 2018, 10:39:25 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN:
Bore Witness

The hologram was now whizzing in and out of resolution. The texturing on the holographic model had been long gone for a few minutes now. The hologram was deteriorating, but that was nothing compared to what was happening within the hologram itself. Where this creature had resembled an enfeebled, emaciated, bald, androgynous octogenarian to an enfeebled, emaciated, bald, androgynous centenarian.

Within moments, the hologram would give out all together. Danger, despite no one else knowing the name it took for itself, was dying. Dying, and there wasn't a damn thing that anyone could do about it. No one but a chronokinetic could possibly reverse the effects of rapid aging. And there was no time, no time at all, to seek out a Chronosapien, a Chronian, or a Celestialsapien. And there was no guarantee that all they'd be doing is buying this poor creature another few minutes to live.

The other three apparently could not see this poor creature languishing like this. This . . . this was not what Cloak had anticipated. He hadn't even suspected that this would be how this would end. He felt guilt and shame at his attitude towards this thing -- and they never would know precisely why it lashed out at them.

Its black form was graying and the gold markings in addition to its golden eyes were becoming paler, and more silver. It seemed to age fifty years in the span of two minutes. The hologram was struggling to be displayed. The render was gone and the boy it projected looked like the rough animation of a CGI movie.

Cloak kept his face solemn as he pityingly bore witness to this dying creature. He probably should have let the others know this, but they read his body language. They knew.

"How long, Cloak?" Parker said. He adopted the tone one would at the bedside of a dying man.

"Shouldn't be too much longer," Cloak said, quietly.

"Isn't there anything we can do?" Helen said, as the hologram popped out of existence. "Anything?"

Cloak sighed, solemnly, as he watched Danger's body collapsed upon the floor. It's breathing heavy and labored. There was no doubt that it was dying. It was aging itself to death.

"Not unless you can manipulate time itself, Helen," the Realm Walker said.

"There . . ." Parker said, stopping himself. But he couldn't help himself. "There is something we can do. But it . . ." he glanced at Helen, almost apologetically, ". . . it won't save it."

Helen's eyes widened, as she got what Parker was getting at, as did Az and Cloak. It was very clear that she didn't like it. But Danger was suffering. It was aging so rapidly that in a manner of minutes, if not seconds, its body would be dust. What Parker suggested was the only thing that they could give it -- mercy. And freedom from this pain that would made its body convulse, if not for the fact the body was exhausted. Its body was truly that of a dying invalid.

"Hesitation," Cloak said, breaking the uncomfortable silence, "won't make it any easier. We must act now or --"

But it was already too late. Danger made a long exhale, but did not inhale. Its body collapsed into gray dust with tarnished bronze flecks. Danger had aged itself to death. There was no coming back from this kind of death.

"Um," Az said, uncertain. "What do we do now?"
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 11, 2018, 06:34:10 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:
The Failed Escape

The environmental hologram collapsed completely. Shattered as if a field spell card in Yu-Gi-Oh! was destroyed.

"Not long now," Az noted.

"Come on out," Cloak called out. "It's over. You clearly have a finite power source. Make things easier for yourself."

Cloak Metalsighted it before he heard the slapping footsteps. And Cloak noticed a rather large discrepancy between the two. The footsteps he Metalsighted were heavier than the slapping footsteps that he heard. So, clearly the perpetrator of this was finally making a move himself, or herself, or itself, whatever the case may be. And it was clear that it was sheathing itself in a hologram to hide whomever it was from visual or audio recognition. Although, it clearly didn't really think it through all the way.

Within a matter of moments, this person of interest came into view, Cloak saw the true form hidden within the sheath. The holographic sheath was a boy that wore blue pajamas, a puffy, long-sleeved shirt with a small zipper, and light blue sweatpants, and has a metal strip around its left foot with a broken lock. It had large amounts of black hair with long bangs, which cover its face and only revealing a tiny mouth and nose. His feet and hands are bare. It appeared to have possessed no objects.

But, within this sheath, was the true of form of Danger. It looked like a bald, androgynous, geriatric, techno-organic human. Cloak was surprised when he saw Danger -- the poor individual was horribly emaciated and rail thin. Like a skeleton with skin stretched taut over it, without any flesh between. Eyes that must have once been a sharp gold was now more of a tarnished gold color.

It took Cloak a moment to remember that the others couldn't see this. They saw it as the holographic boy sheath. Parker may have been able to see it within the tech of his armor -- Cloak didn't know, especially since, apparently, Tyr decided to go silent.

Suddenly, Danger tried to run by the four, but the hologram wobbled as he stopped. It looked as if it was in pain. Cloak was at a lost for words. There was this techno-organic being that looked like a geriatric humanoid Technarchy, horribly emaciated and frail looking, ensconced within a hologram that disguised it as a boy around nine years of age, while it looked to be an octogenarian, at least. There may have been a statement to be made there, but Cloak wasn't of the mind to make it just then.

The hologram wobbled each time Danger staggered. Old age was affect it as it would any average human of similar age and build.

"Cloak," Az asked, "what's inside that hologram?"

Cloak assumed they saw the wobbles of the hologram and came to the right conclusion. Cloak told them with a few words as necessarily possible.

"Is that why it's just . . . just standing there?" Helen asked.

"It's not standing," Cloak said, sadly.

"What do you mean?" Helen said, quickly.

Cloak trained his eyes on the creature within the hologram. It was on a knee and Cloak though he heard heavy, labored breathing. It seemed to be aging rapidly . . . and there was nothing any of them could do to stop that.

"It's on it's knees," Cloak said, as the hologram gave its largest and longest wobble yet. "Its aging to death."
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 10, 2018, 11:30:29 PM »

Yep. And it also means Memoirs will be the same age as Leatherhead. ;)

New chapter.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN:
The Unseen Crone

Cloak kept his mind on tracking whatever was behind this. He kept very attentively searching for it. It had no scent and kept perfectly still, which made this quite difficult.

These holograms must have seriously drained the energy to maintain the physicality of these holograms as hard light constructs. The cohesiveness and texture rendering would surely, Cloak reasoned, be the first to go if whatever was causing this was running out of power. These huge environmental projections couldn't be kind to its power supply either. Well, unless it bore the same power source as the forum itself did (the one they had as a backup supply, which slumbered, forgotten, deep in the bowels of the forum), but if that was the case . . .

Well, they'd cross that bridge when they came to it.

Suddenly, the environment changed again. It was now as if the floor was several feet below them, and the building had flooded, with detris such as boxes and boards floated upward to serve as platforms for which they stood on. Az instinctively made an ice floe for him to stand on, and Helen generated a platform from her ring for both her and Parker to stand comfortably on. Cloak, however, couldn't be bothered.

Even when he saw the creature, which appeared horribly translucent to him, like that of an insubstantial ghost, which slithered into the waters with a sickening splash. The creature from beneath the simulated waters was a large humanoid, looking rather like an old, decrepit woman with long, thin limbs and relatively small, slender hands and feet. Her head was balding, with only wispy tufts of stringy, dead, gray hair clinging to it. She had a waddle-like neck folds, and her face looked as if it was just beginning to melt off her face. She had rather distinct bags under her eyes, and rather beady, dark eyes. Her nose was moderately broad and blunt. Her teeth were small and needle-like. She wore a ratty, moldy rag rather like how Dobby from "Harry Potter" wore his original enslaved garments.

Had Cloak not known that it was a fictitious monster, he would have marvelled at how well and how long she was holding her breath. He would have suspected her possessing marine respiration. But this monster wasn't real, so it was pointless in fretting about it.

Not to mention the hologram was already losing its coherency, consistency, and cohesiveness. Cloak's feet sank through a wooden box, and it appeared that he was wading in water up to his ankles. Cloak folded his arms over his chest, and scrutinized the holographic image with narrowed eyes. It was clear that he wasn't impressed.

He noticed that the hologram even had a sort of reality wobble to it. The hologram was not succeeding in its rendering so much anymore. The texturing renders had apparently blinked off, and the water looked rather like amateurish CGI and the detris looked like half-rendered shapes you'd see in some sort of animatic or something.

Then with another blink it was back to the realistic rendering. This just served to confirm Cloak's thoughts, as he glanced back at the others, Helen and Az having done away with their platforms. Even the hand, reaching for Cloak, from the CGI water, looking eerily like an Inferius, wasn't really all that frightening. Especially when it cut out for that rough cut animation.

"I think it's safe to say," Parker said, matter-of-fact, "that whoever, or whatever, is behind this is running their batteries dry."

"Agreed," Cloak said. "Time's on our side here."

He would come to regret that logic.
Posted by: Underseen
« on: January 10, 2018, 06:39:50 PM »

Six years old? That's pretty impressive, but when you look at your future book list, it's only a drop in a bucket.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 09, 2018, 10:17:14 AM »

Sorry for the delay, still developing that idea. Oh, and a week from this Thursday, "Memoirs" will be turning six years old. Yes, that's right. SIX years old.

New chapter.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN:
The Lady Hologram

Cloak saw movement through both Metalsight and his own feline eyes. He reacted in much the same way that an ordinary housecat that might do when they sighted a piece of string slithering along the ground. He immediately pounced on the site of the movement, but there was nothing there. Just the detris of . . . of whatever happened here, two days ago, by his estimation.

Perhaps Az, Helen, and Parker talked amongst each other, but Cloak had stopped paying attention. He was allowing his feline instincts to hunt to rule. But whatever he was hunting had no scent. The only scents he found was the three others and his own. This would be difficult, even for some who can Metalsight.

But they should be able to find the culprit soon enough. It was just a matter of time. Cloak circled around a particular area, as if he got the scent, which he hadn't. But he was sure whoever or whatever was behind this mess once sat here. There wasn't much evidence left behind to say what it was.

Cloak crossed off the names of probably species in his mind. One of those Jury Riggs? Nah, too quite. A Galvanic Mechamorph? Possibly, but his gut told him no. A Psycholeopterran? No -- it didn't fit at all. A Nemuina? Nah -- they were perfectly awake. Sylonnoids? Not likely. Synthroids? Not straightforward enough.

As he pawed through some of the detris and debris, looking for whatever could be at fault, going through the litany of alien species he knew of with some sort of disguising ability or illusionary ability.

Skrulls? Nah, he'd be able to see through the disguise. Though it would be potentially dangerous if one was lose on Earth. Dire Wraiths? Cloak dismissed it as highly unlikely. A Chitauri? He dismissed it tentatively, despite his knowledge of the species was spotty at best. Outside the fact that they were shapeshifters and had 192 ways to say "hate", he didn't really know much more. Durlans? Nah, they're, for the most part, too xenophobic to leave Durla, if Cloak recalled correctly. Chee? The projections were similar in their rendering quality, but Chee were hardwired for pacificism, as Rocky proved time and time again.

Then Cloak noticed how he was ensconced in darkness. But his eyes easily penetrated through it, due to their feline nature. He looked back as only saw Helen's violet glow. Though the hologram attempted to make it look like they were further away (via forced perspective and the like), Cloak could see through this and knew that they weren't that far away.

Cloak sighed audibly. Darkness may be a useful tool for hiding or distracting or stealth purposes, but for simple frightening and spooking purposes? It was too Slenderman for his tastes. Too "jumpscary". But maybe it was because Cloak was able to see in the dark, due to being a tiger-form Realm Walker, that he didn't find darkness an obstacle. Or maybe because he's used the darkness to disappear into unnoticed before. But, all in all, he didn't find it getting dark all that scary.

Then, right before him, coming from the darkness, was a tall, slender figure. She was dressed like a Japanese geisha, but with a mask on in lieu of facepaint. Her raven hair was done in an updo like a geisha. Cloak supposed that this sudden appearance was supposed to be frightening, but the effect was completely ruined on him, as he could see through the hologram, as if it were nothing more than a harmless ghost. He knew that it couldn't harm him, so he wasn't afraid.

But he was blinded by a bright spotlight that he couldn't determine the source of. He closed his eyes so they could adjust. Then he heard a shriek, like a hawk diving on a mouse, coming from behind him, about eight o'clock. He fired a blast of golden scarlet energy in that direction. He heard a shriek of pain, and he knew his blast hit its mark. Twice more did he do this before the darkness vanished.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 06, 2018, 07:08:09 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN:
Please, Don't Be Our Guest

Helen was silent, glancing at Parker for help, but he was still too busy cursing Tyr with every name under the sun that the SPARTAN could conjure up.

"Point is," Cloak continued, "we have to make contact with whatever is making these constructs before we can discern his, or her, or its, intentions. Good or bad, that is the first step that must be taken."

Helen couldn't find a fault with this logic, and said nothing. She felt a bit mollified at this, but did her best not to announce the feeling. While she could be empathic, she was not an empath. She couldn't manipulate emotions, or sense them with absolute certainty. And, if she was honest, without her Star Sapphire ring, she'd be an ordinary, if athletic, flat-scan human. A human without powers of any kind.

Suddenly, the entire environment blinked in and out of existence seeming. Although, to Cloak, it was more like a ghostly environment was striving to take over reality but remaining somewhat translucent. The hologram present a hardwood floor, with Japanese paper walls and sliding doors. All four appeared to be a sixteenth their normal size, in scale with the furniture in this holographic corridor.

"Well, this is new," Az commented.

Then, suddenly, a wave of flesh and Armani suits came barrelling down towards the four. These were apparently very gluttonous people, who wanted to eat them, despite having had plenty of flood set in front of them. All of them seemed incapable of walking on their stubby legs, so they moved along rather like a seal or a walrus. Cloak did not flinch at all, but did not see the reactions of the other three.

"Oh, look," Cloak said, dryly, "it's the one-percent."

"Huh?" Helen asked, not really paying attention to anything but the hideous mass of holographic bodies and holographic flesh that was undulating their way towards them with alarming rapidity.

"They never can have enough," Cloak said, more to himself. "Even in this realm, they never can have enough. These voraciously greedy, ravenous, gluttonous, pantagruelian, rapacious, edacious esurients -- all they know is 'take, take, take', and they think that they they're entitled to it."

Cloak didn't flinch as they proceeded ever closer.

"Sadly," Cloak muttered, "such things seem universal."

"Cloak, can we focus here?" Parker said. "These slobbering things --"

Cloak formed the two swords mounted from his wrists again. Then he slashed the right blade left, leaving a crescent of energy behind it, apparently breaking off the sword in a deliberate fashion. Then he made a downward slash, intersecting the other energy crescent, breaking off the sword at the bottom of this arc. It made an energy "+" construct, and Cloak pulled back his right arm. Then he slammed his right hand, open palm, at this intersection.

This fired the construct forward at the speed of a sluggish bullet. It shattered this hologram just like all the others. Cloak watched intently, as he forced the construct to dissipate. He was hoping to notice a reaction of some sort.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 04, 2018, 05:58:15 AM »

Sorry, still developing that other idea. And catching a shiny Grumpig.

New chapter.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN:
Chef Boy,-Are-Dead

"That still doesn't disprove what I said," Helen said. Cloak was starting think that she was being fairly sanctimonious about this.

"No one said that it did," Az said, trying to defuse the tension. He really should be applauded for undertaking such an endeavor.

Cloak said nothing. He wasn't even really paying attention to the conversation anymore. His interest in it was lost completely.

He was hunched into a more feral position, acting very much like a hungry cat having smelled a mouse. He watched, very carefully observant, with both his eyes and Metalsight (as the floor was metal, despite the heavy soot). Only the tip of his tail moved, twitching ever so slightly, as he pulled his ears flat against his head. He was incredibly focused -- well, as focused as any cat was on a hunt. And he waited. Waited for the one who was creating these holograms to make a move, to make even the slightest vibration through the metal floor. He'd be on them in an instant, with just a feline pounce.

Then came a shrill sound. A sound of exclamation that caused Cloak's fur to bristle. He did not move, though he was tangentially aware that the others had a brief battle with their respective flight or fight responses. They all chose fight, evidently. Cloak chose fight as well, as he was a rather obstinate sort.

The creature was at least five or six times Cloak's height, the top of the dirty white chef's hat it wore actually appearing to clip through the ceiling. It was a fat humanoid creature wearing a filthy white smock and an equally filthy apron. Its head and face looked as if it was melted and had many rolls of fat, and looked far more like a mask that sat directly on the wearer's shoulders, akin to the way the helmet of the Juggernaut (from Marvel Comics) did. Its main body looked rather like a stereotypical fat suit one would wear as a mascot character. In its short, stubby, sausage-like fingers on its left hand it wielded a meat cleaver, that glistened ominously threatening in the low light.

"It's not real," Cloak assured the others, having not stopped his scanning of the room. The one generating this holographic construct was not within the construct again. Cloak tried to pay extra attention to the area that the creature construct did not want them to go near -- but this was exceedingly difficult to discern. The low light wasn't a problem, of course, as Cloak's feline eyes cut through the gloom, but the amount of detris that it could be hiding behind.

It gave another one of those shrill calls -- Cloak really wished it didn't. He really didn't like the sound. But he was prepared to --

But Az beat him to the punch.  The RAFian held his hands outward, forming several thick icicles around this chef construct, sharp points aimed toward the chef's person. It was not unlike Kyurem's Glaciate attack. The chef gave a shriek in alarm.

"I've really have had enough of this," Az said, before his chopped his right hand down as if he was calling for a scheduled fight to begin. The thick icicles became spiked and barbed as the rammed into the chef construct. It shattered within minutes, like a Yu-Gi-Oh! monster.

"It's just scared," Helen insisted.

"Be that as it may, Helen," Cloak said. "It's dangerous. We can handle it because we've experience and powers or equipment in which to competently deal with it. Have you considered the kind of damage it could inflict if it went beyond our borders?"

"It wouldn't --"

"It wouldn't mean to?" Cloak finished. "You can't know its intentions anymore than the rest of us. While it is admirable to see the good in people, its foolish to not even acknowledge the bad, as well."
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 02, 2018, 10:59:43 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWELVE:
Substance Suckers

"Self-defense," Helen answered, as Parker gave up trying to have Tyr reactivate himself.

"It attacked us, remember?" Cloak said, still searching for the source of the holograms. His Metalsight was frustratingly not being helpful -- probably because he was too distracted to use it properly. "Unprovoked."

"Cloak, you, of all people, should know how people tend to lash out when you invade in their personal space," Helen countered, "whatever or whoever this is clearly considers this area its 'safe zone'. And, in order to investigate, we may have, in its view, violated this place. May have made it feel a need to defend itself. The very same reason you don't put you hand into a beaver's lodge or go parading yourself into a bear's cave."

"It caused this," Cloak said mulishly.

"You don't know that," Helen argued. "You can't know that. You don't have premonitions, like future sight or something."

Cloak still hadn't been completely honest about his Truth Dreams to the others. He said nothing, as he considered he may have been misconstruing some of them. He could have been making leaps in logic, as when these Truth Dreams are usually presented to him in a jumbled, mismatched mess.

Helen said nothing more, but wore a slightly smug smile that clearly said that she thought she won the argument. Cloak found it irritating and infuriating, but there were more pressing concerns at the moment.

Parker had completely missed this exchange, still fuming about Tyr. Angry with him for deactivating, angry at himself for his hubris in telling Tyr to deactivate while he was inside the training room -- he didn't want Tyr to become a crutch, and he wanted to have some achievements that he could call his own. And boast about. He never actually thought that the training room would ever . . . would ever get like this. It was a foreign concept, an impossibility. He was eating those words now, and sorely regretting his flippant actions.

As Parker had some rather . . . creative names to call Tyr, a shambling mass of tentacles, not unlike a legless, eyeless, black Tangela, shifted ever slowly forward. Its general shape recalled that of an eyeless shaggoth, only composed of writhing black tentacles that were like the bodies of many leeches that had formed a land-going composite, gestalt form, not unlike Wishiwashi's School Forme. Each leach part, however, recalled more of the Leviathan physiology. Despite happening a while ago, the incident was still fresh in the RAFians' minds.

Cloak's attitude towards this thing was proof of enough of its true nonexistence, but it was Parker who took the initiative here this time. He, in one swift movement, had his energy blade in his hand, and he spun it around, rather like an industrial fan blade. This stopped the slaggoth-shaped creature in its sick, wet tracks.

Parker probably could use one of his plethora of firearms and other, rather impersonal, gadgets. But he wanted a more . . . tactile means, as a way to help vent some of his anger and frustration. Perhaps it wasn't the best idea, but this creature was clearly not real and just a hologram, like any of the training sims.

Then Parker pulled the sword to his left shoulder, and made a downward diagonal slash. It made contact, and the hologram shattered, a la a summoned Yu-Gi-Oh! monster, even as Parker was preparing for an overhead strike. Which wasn't necessary.

"Parker!" Helen said.

"It was just a hologram, Helen," Parker said, moodily.

"And whatever created it was not in it, " Cloak pointed out. "Just like the last one."
Posted by: Cloak
« on: January 01, 2018, 11:11:17 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER ELEVEN:
Grabby

It wasn't long before the RAFian's inspection was rudely interrupted.

A creature had dropped from the ceiling, and the creature was huge -- at least three times taller than Cloak, who was the tallest RAFian present. It had a body type rather like an orangutan. Its long, thin arms were at least twice its height with long, probing fingers. It wore clothing, and it was clear that it had the same fashion sense as Mr. Mxyzptlk from "Superman: the Animated Series". It had stubby feet in well-worn boots, that were partially hidden by the tail of his coat. The creature had a face where its eyes were wrapped in bandages and small, brown bowler hat sat upon its noggin as it seemed to be constantly smiling like Ren from "Ren & Stimpy", with needle-like teeth. It had rounded human ears and its eyes were hidden beneath what appeared to be white bandages.

Az and Helen took a step back at this, the floor around Az quickly gathering frost. Parker was busy because apparently Tyr had suddenly and unexpectedly became unresponsive and frustrating, refusing to scan the creature. Cloak was the only one who didn't seem to react, almost as if he didn't see this creature, nor the threat it was. Frankly, he looked bored and unimpressed.

It approached closer, and Cloak was still the only one who hadn't react, who hadn't moved at all. The creature looked even uglier the closer it got, and still the Realm Walker did not recoil. It was almost as if he was stubbornly refusing to so, and, to be honest, that wouldn't be anything new for the Elements Master. And, yet, this seemed to steady the others resolve -- except for Parker, who was busy yelling at Tyr and becoming rather irate with the A.I.'s silence.

The creature, which appeared to be male (but none of the RAFians had any intention on checking to be sure), stayed where it was, using his long arms to reach out and capture people with his long fingers. Cloak said nothing, as if he were waiting for a specific time, a specific moment, to present itself as auspiciously as possible.

Az was about to query, when Cloak moved, a blur of feline motion. He had formed scarlet broadsword blades with golden edges from his energy mounted to his wrists. With a single leaping strike, he severed both arms, which shattered like a Duel Monster in the Yu-Gi-Oh anime. When he landed he crossed the golden edges of the blades in front of his face, then slice them downward, unleashing a mighty roar that could be heard in a two mile radius.

But Cloak wasn't done. He crossed these energy blades above his head, and they lost their concrete, substantive forms and became powerful, fiery, gold-and-scarlet energy that formed much like a Solar Blade. The powerful energy beam looked superficially like a blade with energy dancing around both it and Cloak's fingers (which had his feline claws unsheathed unconsciously).

"Isn't that a bit overkill?" Helen asked, rhetorically.

Cloak bared his teeth, as he dropped the blade, which only reached the ceiling. It caused the creature to shatter as if it was a destroyed Yu-Gi-Oh! monster from the anime. Cloak looked as if the exertion didn't cost him anything, but the others were sure that that wasn't true.

"It wasn't real," Cloak said, very seriously. "Clearly, whatever caused the damage here has incorporated the training room's holographic tech into its being, or otherwise devised a way to weaponize it."

Cloak continued to scan the room for it. "That technique didn't destroy it. It's still here somewhere."

"Where'd -- how'd you come up with that technique?" Az asked.

"That doesn't matter," Cloak said, disregarding the question in its entirety, "the person or thing behind this is still in here."

"Why are you so keen on destroying it?" Helen asked. "Maybe who or what it is can be reasoned with."

"If it could be reasoned with," Cloak countered, "then why create a holographic construct of a monster from 'Little Nightmares'?"
Posted by: Cloak
« on: December 30, 2017, 10:09:00 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TEN:
Invasion and Investigation

Danger was now analogous to a twenty-four-year-old androgynous, bald human. But only physically, not emotionally. It had retreated back to the burned out husk of the training facility, the place where it was abandoned, the place where it felt the safest.

It was from here that it would plot out its revenge. But, considering the type of person Danger was becoming, it was very dubious that any sort of plot or scheme Danger concocted was not going to be very well thought out. It came up with the sort of unlikely scenarios that a child would conceive -- and actually believe could work.

It had shifted from the grumpy boy's appearance as its primary one to that of a barefoot little girl around nine with a yellow raincoat, thin limbs, small nose and mouth, and black hair obscuring the top part of her face. It looked a nine-year-old girl, despite, physically, being analogous to twenty-six-year-old, bald, androgynous human.

It stood stationary, practicing how large it could make its holograms. But this had a detrimental effect on its physical body that it did not notice. Either that, or it recognized the effect and just chose to ignore it.

Each and every time it did it, it had the nasty aftereffect of accelerating its already accelerated aging process. It was now analogous to a thirty-four-year-old, bald, androgynous man.

Then came the problem of maintaining the holographic illusion. It took a lot of energy to maintain. Far more than maintaining a hologram around its own personal size. And it had a finite amount of energy before needing to rest. It may not have needed to eat anything, but that did not mean that it didn't need sleep. Maybe it required less sleep than an regular human, but it still required rest.

Then it reverted back to its raincoat girl projection, as it head the door creak open . . .

***

Cloak, Parker, Helen, and Az were quickly nominated to investigate it. It was immediately evident that an accident happened in here. The wide room was charred and soot was everywhere, as if it was only on fire inside, leaving the exterior untouched.

"Parker, honey?" Helen asked. She reached over as if to yank him by the ear, before continuing, "Next time something like this happens, CHECK INSIDE."

A myriad of protests -- about how he could have know that it was like this, when the exterior was unharmed and undamaged, why the house-elves did not report this happening (and why they haven't cleaned up this mess to begin with), etcera -- died in his throat as he quelled under Helen's stern, serious gaze. Parker was lucky that Helen was perfectly human and not Medusa. His only reply came out, "Yes, dear."

"I didn't know Helen had a kung fu grip," Az said, hiding a jovial smile.

"You have no idea," Parker said, vaguely enigmatic. He didn't elaborate as Az raised an eyebrow, skeptically thoughtful, at this response.

Cloak far too busy scanning the room with both his eyes and Earthsight to care much about this exchange, and the possible lewd nature of it. But it was difficult to penetrate this gloom within this soot-covered room and discern from the shifting rubble. It was as if the room was carved out by a melon baller or something. Even the house-elves apparently hadn't even came to clean to this area to cleanup. Even they were unaware of this happening -- an extreme rarity, actually.

But, still, Cloak sensed it. He knew that they weren't alone.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: December 29, 2017, 07:40:32 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER NINE:
A Bit Whiny

They left it alone. All alone. They abandoned it. It called itself Danger, but it wasn't dangerous. As it matured to a bald, androgynous, svelte framed, eighteen-year-old (physically, as it still had the mindset of a child spurn of something that it felt that it was entitled to), it began to seethe with anger. With resentment. With bitterness.

Were Cloak present, he would have easily identified how dangerous an emotional ****tail this was. Having sat on such feelings for a long time when he used to reside with his mother, he had experienced this all too often than he would have cared to. And he foolishly tried to suppress it -- you can only push your feeling down so much, before the pressure builds and it finds other avenues in which to relief this internal emotional pressure -- like a volcano, in a way.

This wasn't fair! How come they got to live life with love, compassion, and empathy when they never deigned to show any to it? Why were they so deserving? Why was it denied? What had it deserved to be ignored and neglected? The answer, as far as it was concerned was simple -- it had done nothing to deserve such shoddy treatment.

They would all pay for this mistreatment, it decided, as its body matured to that analogous to a bald, androgynous twenty-year-old. Three little nodules appeared in its forehead in a rough "V"-shaped orientation. It didn't seem to notice, as its anger, resentment, and bitterness congealed into a rather toxic need for vengeance.

Danger roared so the whole of the forum could hear it, "HOW COULD YOU?! ALL OF YOU?!"

This garnered it attention, but then it quickly hologramed itself as a gumball machine outside the mess hall area. It had spoken before thinking. It was not the way Danger wanted to go about this. It wanted them, all of them to feel as it did for the pass few years, as its body aged to be analogous of a twenty-two-year-old bald, androgynous human.

It would make them feel terror. It would make them feel misery. It would make them wish that they never abandoned Danger.

***

"Who was that?" Parker demanded, having seen Danger's shout, but not noticed its former hiding place.

"I didn't recognize the voice, if you could call it that," Mr. Guy said, almost pedantic. "I did notice that there was a slight electronic buzz, like one of those voice modulator things."

"Are you seriously suggesting that someone penetrated the forum's defenses?" Dylan said, skeptical.

"No defense is impenetrable," Cloak said, surprising Dylan. He hadn't heard him walk up. "No protection is unbeatable."

"Philosophy debates aside," Shenmue said, thoughtfully, "does anyone know who could that be?"

"Could have something to do with that lightning strike a couple days ago?" Abby inquired.

"The one that hit the training facility?" Yarin asked.

"Has anyone checked to see the condition of the facility?"

Silence.

"Seriously?" Cloak said, with a bite of irritation.

"It wasn't on fire or anything," Parker said, defensively. "Tyr and did a preliminary sweep of the area, and found nothing wrong."

This was before the birth of Danger.

"But did you actually go inside?" Cloak asked.

"Didn't need to," Parker said, still rather defensive. "All scans showed everything was normal -- no excessive heat or electrical damage."

"But you didn't go inside." Cloak pressed.

"The scans showed --"

"But you didn't go inside," Cloak pressed again.

"Hey, if you Earthsighted it was safe, you wouldn't have gone --"

"Yes, I would have." Cloak said. "Earthsight is not perfect -- nothing is perfect -- and has its limits. I would have entered the facility to double-check. Cautiously, of course."

Parker said nothing, and his face was inscrutable behind his helmet's mask. Cloak had a sneaking suspicion that Parker didn't believe him, but found that Parker's disbelief mattered little in comparison to the matter at hand.

"Maybe we should investigate, then," Az said, trying to defuse things.