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Topic Summary

Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: Today at 11:08:48 AM »

Then she heard a squawk, like that of a parrot. She looked up and saw a silhouette coming towards her. The centipede creature only sense the sudden darkness, but nothing else.

That centipede was in the path of totality for the Laserbeaklipse!
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Today at 06:08:16 AM »

:)

New chapter.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:
Chilopoda hominidparasitus

Gaz had but a moment to take in and inventory the situation. Bystanders -- innocent civilians -- had witnessed this arthropod abomination, and had screamed in alarm before turning and, with good sense, running away. But this creature had sensed their screams of alarm and fear, and began to make after them.

Unlike their millipede counterparts, centipedes were carnivorous. And these bystanders were small enough to make a meal. Or worse -- do to them what happened to Rod over there. Some centipede species were known to be parthenogenic, meaning that it could produce both eggs and sperm within the same organism. But what Gaz had failed to take notice of was that this creature did not have an ovipositor, which (despite being a centipede) it would have had considering its mother, meaning it must have been male.

Dammit, Gaz found herself thinking as her RAFian instincts had her react immediately, that thing is fast!

Gaz would wonder later how she managed to tackle the beast out the way in three strides from where she was standing and not get poisoned from its bite. True, she didn't feel so much as a graze from the beast. But she was not a fool. She knew this was by sheer luck and not all skill.

Gaz chanced a momentary glance over her shoulder and saw that all the bystanders had the good sense not to dally any further. Unfortunately, this gave the creature an opening that forced her to translate her body into its insubstantial mist form to dodge. She reconstituted herself about three o'clock from the creature.

"This isn't gonna be easy," she muttered softly. Then, as she tried desperately to bait the creature away from the direction where the terrified bystanders had stood in horror as this creature reared up to its rather considerable height, she considered what she just said. "But, then again, when is anything worth doing ever easy?"

But there was no denying it, they were at an impasse. No. No, that wasn't entirely true. This thing could possibly kill her with its venom. But there was very little that she could do to kill it. Killing a demonic puppet was a cinch, but this?

She was at a loss as to what she could possibly do to kill --

Then she heard a squawk, like that of a parrot. She looked up and saw a silhouette coming towards her. The centipede creature only sense the sudden darkness, but nothing else. The bird came rather like the summoning of the White Ninja Falconzord, only with parrot squawks. But that still did not make it any less impressive.

"Beaky?" Gaz said.

As Laserbeak landed on Gaz's left shoulder, he gave a squawk that clearly said, "I back off and let you do your own thing for a couple of weeks, and look what you got yourself into. Tsk tsk tsk. Can't leave you alone for instant."

The centipede creature looked very confused about the sudden darkness than the sudden light. This was the reason why it didn't press its attack, which was fortunate for Gaz.

Laserbeak gave Gaz's shoulder an affectionate squeeze, before transforming into Gaz's Amazon-themed body armor. Also giving her a weapon on her right wrist in the form of a blaster on a bracer. Gaz was now equipped to deal with this creature.

Gaz immediately sprang into action, and took aim at the creature. She fired a gattling burst of energy blasts at the centipede. At first, it seemed to do nothing. But after a few seconds, the shots began to rip through its body.

Naturally, this caused it to thrash about, accidentally destroying Rod's ceramic body with only his mouth, ironically enough, remaining in one piece. While Gaz felt momentary guilt at this, she had another prerogative.

It a few minutes, it was very evident that it was dead. A final blast incinerated the body, as a precaution of someone taking its altered DNA for their own nefarious purposes. It was done.

She looked at the ceramic lips of Rod Murray, and wondered how she would explain this to his family, unaware of the fact that Rod had very little family, just a father and a younger sister, and both were estranged with him due to his womanizing, misogynistic mannerisms. His father found it loathesome and disrespectful, while his younger sister found it grating and irritating. They wouldn't be all that devastated about his death.
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: Yesterday at 08:41:35 PM »

It was oddly abandoned at the moment, as if there was something like a total solar eclipse happening soon and the patrons nor the staff wanted to miss it.

Loved that line.  XD

Also loved Horse's fight.  Horse is a serious badass.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 08:59:13 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN:
Rodney "Rod" Amadeus Murray

Gaz was standing right outside a small cafe. It was oddly abandoned at the moment, as if there was something like a total solar eclipse happening soon and the patrons nor the staff wanted to miss it. Gaz was nonchalantly sipping a beverage -- Blood Lite, which actually used blood substitute #9 instead of actual human blood -- in a paper Starbucks-like cup with a white plastic lid.

While on the outside she was cool, calm, and collected, inside she was a hornet's nest of anxiety and worry. She had not seen the patient that her lead had indicated was down this way. She continued to give off the appearance of nonchalance, but she grew more and more concerned with every footstep beyond the cafe, with its fenced in outdoor patio with its glistening white tables and matching chairs and umbrellas with their stands.

She wandered around to the back, where it was obvious was where the shipping companies unloaded their supplies for the cafe's baristas to use, attached to a moderate sized parking lot, for staff and customers, for a small cafe in town. Gaz saw no movement back here, smelled no human blood anywhere except the blood substitute in her drink, which wasn't as odorous as one might assume.

Gaz scanned this parking lot very carefully for the patient, trying to smell their blood to locate them -- with no intention to drink it, of course. She preferred Blood Lite, to be perfectly honest, finding it tasting better. She smelled none. No human blood, and it was a little disconcerting. Why was this cafe even closed? It was really too early for something like that.

Gaz felt an odd chill to her right, roughly at two o'clock. It was then she saw the awkward movement. The jerky, almost unnaturally skittery movement just out of the corner of her right eye.

It was Rod Murray, and his floral print hospital gown had come untied, and his back was exposed as he braced himself against a wood plank fence just behind the the dumpster of the cafe. His eyes never moved in their sockets. His face never showed or betrayed an expression, as if it were nothing but a single-piece mask. His body was pale, like porcelain.

Gaz dropped her empty cup when she saw the crack appear down his back, from the nape of his neck to the top of his buttocks, as if someone was sliding a zipper downward. The vampire found this . . . disconcerting. It was as if someone or something was wearing this man as a costume.

That's when the black mass with gold bits came out this crack, pulling itself out. As if this mass was just molting Rod's skin, which stood stiff, like a decorative ceramic statue. But completely empty.

When the black mass solidified, it solidified into something much longer, and much larger than Rod had been. It was a centipede, Chilopoda hominidparasitus, with a black body (steaming to dry its chitinous exoskeleton quickly) and hundreds of gold legs, a pair for each of its many body segments. It had a flattened, rounded head with a pair of antennae that were swept forward. It had a pair of elongated mandibles and two pairs of maxillae, which were food-manipulation mouth parts, with the first pair of maxillae bearing palps. It did not appear to have eyes, and apparently could only discern light and dark. It possessed forcipules, unique to centipedes, which were modifications of the first pair of legs, forming a pincer-like appendage which was found just behind its head. Its bite was venomous, though it was technically not a bite, but caused by the forcipules, as with other centipedes.

Gaz just stared at this thing, and she couldn't help but think that this was what a blind Taxxon on human growth hormone would look like. When reared up -- something she didn't think centipedes could do, and quickly surmised that it might have been something that it inherited from Rod, whose body was still standing, clutching the plank wood fence, as if he was a ceramic mannequin -- the centipede creature was at least twice the size of your average Taxxon and twice as long. How all this managed to fit inside a human skin, she didn't know.

But she wasn't the only one to see this creature. She may have been the only one to bear witness of it coming out of Rod's back, but she wasn't the only one to see the creature in its full monstrous visage.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 21, 2017, 05:59:54 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN:
Cerambycidae hominidparasitus

But Horse slid off the backside of the beetle, and back onto the ground again. Behind him. This confused the beetle at first, considering its eyes were not as sophisticated as her own. This, again, did not help her cranky mood.

"Oh, C'MON!!" Horse said, irritated.

This allowed the longhorn beetle to find her, which was actually what she wanted. She wanted so desperately to fight back against a large creature who wanted to eat her. Over. And over. And over again. The usual way that she got out of the . . . she never wanted to talk about it. And from her tone and forcefulness of voice, it was clearly an unpleasant experience -- every. Single. Time.

She wanted to take out these frustrations on this longhorn beetle. It wanted to eat her, she was sure of it. She wouldn't let it. She would fight it tooth and claw, fight it with water and ice. She wouldn't allow herself to have to go through . . . that experience again. Not when she had spent so many wonderful months without experiencing it again and again. And again. And again.

Yeah, Horse apparently was experiencing a little post-traumatic stress from her involvement with the monstrous rabid Pikachu that now was peaceably offering its services as the RAFians backup power, by powering a generator. This had greatly improved its temperament and its become rather docile. So much so that no one has heard from it. Newer RAFians might not even know of its existence anymore.

"You want a piece of me, d'you, Buggy Boy?" Horse said, starting to sound somewhat hysterical. Yeah, her involuntary trips through a monster's gastrointestinal tract would do that to anyone. "Then come and get some!!"

She flashed her icicle dagger at the thickest parts of the beetle. It did not work, and Horse was not thinking clearly at the moment. She need to calm down and think her attacks through. But her intimidation at the creature and bit of PTSD had corroded and festered into an hysterical recklessness and obstinate relentlessness. It was a very potent, very dangerous, very destructive ****tail to have.

It was only when her icicle dagger snapped in two, that she began to calm down and think clearly. She was allowing her emotions, her traumas, to have too much sway over her actions. She would never kill this bug thinking like that. She had to be thinking clearly.

But one thing hadn't changed in her mind. She was done. She has had enough. This bug was so over. Especially considering what it did to Donnie -- no one deserved that.

"You think you're so smart, do you, Buggy?" Horse said, sounding almost apathetic now. In reality, the longhorn beetle didn't really think coherently. Its sentience status was really up for debate. "Well, I'm gonna end you."

Her eyes flashed, and it was almost like an icy aura appeared around her, freezing the area around her in a three-foot radius, which had the unfortunate effect of freezing Donnie's ceramic skin. Then she elevated herself on a spire, a pillar of ice. This just confounded the longhorn beetle.

Then she opened her mouth to unleash a powerful cryogenic beam, which fired at the ground. Unbeknowst to her, it shattered Donnie's skin, leaving only part of his right eye and the ceramic skin around it the largest bit intact. But then she swerved the beam at the longhorn beetle who did not react in time. It was frozen solid, fully encased a small glacier of ice.

As she did away with her pillar of ice, she tapped a flipper upon the ground, and the ice shattered, taking the bug with it. Then ice quickly melted to nothing, and no one in the courthouse was any the wiser. It's amazing how self-focused some humans could be.

Horse looked at Donnie, realizing that she had unintentionally made his family a casualty of this. They will never know, now that the proof was eradicated. Little did she she know his parents had disavowed any recognition of him being their son a long time ago. One reason for his desperation in keeping what little he had achieved since.

At least, he didn't have to worry about struggling to survive now.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 20, 2017, 08:07:02 PM »

Since I'm posting this now, tomorrow's chapter will come later in the day. Stupid friggin' eclipse. Far more hassle than it's worth.

New chapter.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN:
Donald "Donnie" Anthony Leonardson

Horse had sojourned to the courthouse, following a loose, vague lead she had that a patient had gone this way. She immediately travelled there, without pausing to consider that she was a seal. That it would garner some attention, naturally.

"What?!" Horse snapped, tired of the undue attention. She really should have thought this through better, and regretted not doing so. Oh, how she missed her Tempest Blade -- the Eternity Blade that gave her a human form. "Haven't you ever seen a talking seal walking down a sidewalk before?!"

"No," came one reply.

"Shut up! No one asked you!" Horse snarled. She really didn't like this attention.

"RAFians mean!" cried a little boy. "You bad!"

Oh, wonderful, Horse thought bitterly as she used her hydrokinesis and cryokinesis in conjunction with each other to move around quicker. And, tonight, I'll be on TMZ. Wonderful. Just absolutely PEACHY.

Before long she came up to the footstep of the courthouse, and saw on its right side a long, dark alley. Instead of being intimidated, and tired of being gawked at, she made a beeline for this alleyway. She immediately disappeared in it, and she immediately felt the eyes leave her. She never liked being looked at like that, like she belonged in the freak show of some low-budget circus. She wasn't that kind of seal, anyway.

The alleyway was framed by high bricked walls that lacked any windows of any kind, of any sort. It was the kind of place that the light just plain never touched. It was dank, damp, and dark. Horse's fur stood out against the blackness of this place. But it wasn't the only thing.

Horse's round, brown eyes spotted the floral print hospital gown, fluttering in the small breeze. She saw Donnie Leonardson with his hands clutched tightly against a peeling green dumpster with plenty of rust damage and stunk to high heaven. His eyes did not move, affixed to their sockets. His face was slack and blank and he just looked forward, expressionless. His body was like porcelain, with a crack in the back, along his spine, from the nape of his neck to the top of his buttocks.

Horse recoiled, understandably, as a black mass with silver and bits of red the color of blood oozed from the crack, that pulled itself out of the crack in Donnie's back. There should have been squishy, oozing sounds while this was happening. There was none, as this creature was molting Donnie's body as if was an exoskeleton.

The black mass solidified as it grew larger. It was predominantly black with flecks of blood red, with silver at the joints, and blood red eyes. It had extremely long antennae. It was a longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae hominidparasitus), and it was considerably larger than Horse. She couldn't help but feel a little intimidated, though she would never admit it aloud.

"Oh, great," she lamented, "another thing that wants to eat me. Why am I always the tasty treat? Why can't it be someone else?"

As if in reply, the longhorn beetle scuttled her way. This did not do much to improve her mood.

"Well," she said, more irritated than intimidated now, "some bugs are gonna die."

Suddenly, an icicle dagger had formed in her right flipper and she somehow grasped it. She glared daggers at the great scuttling, lumbering beast. Then she launched herself into battle, tired of always being food of choice, of always being the tasty bait.

She had ENOUGH!
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:19:34 PM »

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

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

New chapter.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN:
Scorpio hominidparasitus

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

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

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

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

Cloak ducked a backhand from its left pincer.

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

Cloak sprang away from a tail strike.

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

Cloak sidestepped its snapping right pincer, slashing left.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was over.
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:08:14 PM »

Caught up again.  Gotta say, the whole idea of these bugs eating people from the inside out, is hella dark.  I'm not sure why that strikes me as being darker than what Thousand/Million/Billion did?  Maybe because this time you sort of set it up as a 'sickness,' that there might have been a cure for, but then pulled the twist that the victims were already dead as their bodies were being eaten from the inside?  In any case, I find myself feeling truly sad for the thirteen.  Well written, you jerkface.  :P
Posted by: Cloak
« on: August 19, 2017, 06:39:18 AM »

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

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWELVE:
Scott Duke Roberts

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

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

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

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

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

There. The scent was stronger there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New chapter.

CHAPTER ELEVEN:
Anisoptera hominidparasitus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phoenix waited. Timing would be important. Essential.

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

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

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

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

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

New chapter.

CHAPTER TEN:
Sean Connery Stone

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

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

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

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

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

What's this now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

New chapter.

CHAPTER NINE:
Allomyrina dichotoma hominidparasitus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just wait, Dino. Just wait.

New chapter.

CHAPTER EIGHT:
Wesley Charles Andrews

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

New chapter.

CHAPTER SEVEN:
On Alert

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

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

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

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

"Then what --" Verity said.

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

In Malice's eyes, this was what it was primarily about now. Fun. Entertainment. And Cloak always seemed to deliver that to her, far more than his grandfather, Sage, would have. This is why she was so persistent about doing this sort of thing, without any real regard to the consequences.