Author Topic: End of RAF  (Read 8470 times)

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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2013, 09:42:25 PM »
Chapter Five

Dino swaggered through the forum.  Absolutely swaggered.  Feeling so full of herself was a pretty rare thing for her, but today was a great day.  And she was far too happy to care, that her head was now slightly unbalanced, listing a little to the right.

As she walked, she waved her head to and fro, making sure everyone could take a good look at the new piece of magnificent machinery she was equipped with.

She wasn't even quite sure why she was so darned excited about it.  It wasn't like she really intended to use it.  But, well, it looked cool.  And the idea that she could, someday, use it, that was cool too.  Maybe it would help in the next fight against the Banned.  That would be cool.

Parker followed along behind the overly enthusiastic dinosaur, taking readings through a portable instrument panel.  He was the one who had done most of the design for the instrument that Dino now wore.  Demos and Russell had also helped with parts of it.  The actual dracon, itself, that had been based on one of Russell's weapons.  The scope and the attachment mesh, that had been Parker.  Demos had mostly done the aesthetic touches.

The simple fact was, for a very long time now, Dino had thought about giving her RAFsona a head-mounted dracon cannon.  She'd always thought, well, something about an Ankylotyrannus with a laser attachment, that would be just generally awesome.  And, now that there was not really much else to do, why the heck not?

Saffa wheeled overhead, tilting her head in a curious gesture as she flew.  She laughed incredulously at the ridiculous sight that was Dino.  <Is that-?>

<Yep,> Dino replied, barely able to hide the grin in her thought-speak.  She'd have been actually grinning, if dinosaurs could.  <Pretty cool, huh?>

Steph, who happened to be passing by at the same time, gestured at Dino and commented, "That, doesn't even make sense."

<So?> Dino wondered.

"You know, you've always struck me as more the non-violent type," Steph countered.

<Hmm?  What's your point?>

"Um, you have a gun attached to your face?  What part of that, seems non-violent to you?"

Dino laughed.  <Steph, Steph, Steph.  It isn't about the fact that it's a gun, or that it could be used to shoot things, or whatever other silly things guns are generally made to do.  The point is, I am a dinosaur with a frikkin' laser.  How can you possibly disagree, that that is awesome?>

Steph held up her hands.  "Never said I disagreed.  That is kinda awesome."

Parker rolled his eyes at the exchange, before going back to calibrating his instrument panel.

<Still, why?> Saffa said, now barely able to stop laughing long enough to speak.  <Why on earth would you feel the need to do something like that?>

Dino shrugged, a gesture that was barely visible with her undersized arms.  <Weird as it seems, you know, I'm actually one of the more under-powered RAFians.  Most RAFians already have some kind of long-range attack.  Cloaky has his elements and his energy powers, Seal and Blue are both cryokinetic, a lot of RAFians have fire powers . . . but, with me, I have to be right next to an enemy to fight.  Which actually leaves me rather vulnerable, in a lot of cases.  And, well, I've always thought it was downright weird, you know?  That I'm a big huge imposing dinosaur, and yet, one of the weakest RAFians.  I mean, come on, I can't even get morphing powers.  Nothlit, and all.>

Saffa, who had landed on Dino's back while she'd been talking, nodded.  <Huh,> she commented, not really knowing what else to say to that.

This whole time, as she'd been showing off and chatting, Dino had also been wandering more-or-less towards a particular destination.  It was a good time to upload a new backup, she figured.  If she died, she wanted to save a copy of herself with the head-cannon.  Again, nothing better to do, so why not?

But, as Dino approached the small display, one of the few landmarks in RAF that was not inside one of the Boards, Saffa's sharp hawk sight quickly noticed something off.

<Uh, Dino?> she said worriedly.  <Something's wrong.>

Dino increased her speed, anxious.  Soon, she too could easily see what was amiss.  All her happiness was swallowed up in her throat, twisting into a sharp pang of fear.

<Guys?> she called out, taking a step back from the display.  <Goom!  Richard!  Somebody!>

<Impossible,> Saffa whispered.  <What happened?>

Parker stepped forward, taking a look for himself.  He almost didn't believe it.  But he knew that, as a computer program manifested into physical form, this screen was an exact representation of the data inside.  Incapable of displaying a glitch.

Richard simply appeared in front of the display, having just happened to see Dino's call appear as a post on his own computer screen.  He looked at the monitor, frowning.  His frown quickly turned to a look of alarm, as he considered all the possibilities.  What this might mean.

"The backups are gone," he said, disbelieving.  "How?  And, why?"

"You know perfectly well, why," Parker retorted coldly.  "Why would anybody delete the backups?  The only possible reason, is that they intend to kill us."

<That doesn't really make that much sense, though,> Dino pointed out.  <If that's the case, why not destroy the machine?  I mean, we made backups once, we can make them again, easy.  It'd be pointless just to delete them, without ensuring we can't remake them.  So, why?>

Richard's avatar began to type at the keyboard in front of the display.  In reality, of course, Richard was simply parsing through the coding behind the backup system he had created.

After a few minutes, he sighed, and said, "Well, that answers that question.  They've sabotaged the system.  It would take weeks to salvage it to the point where we could create backups again."

Parker nodded, and almost subconsciously shifted into a battle stance.  "So they do intend to kill us, then.  Well, it's about time we had a little action around here."

Dino, though, looked unsure.  In the back of her mind, she was wondering where the backups had actually gone to.  Had they only been deleted, after all?  Surely, someone who had the means and opportunity to sabotage the only thing that would protect the RAFians from death . . . it would seem that someone so well-resourced and determined, wouldn't just delete a source of information that could be so easily used against RAF itself.
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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2013, 09:46:28 PM »
Chapter Six

Dino awakened suddenly with a sharp intake of air.  It made no sense, but she almost felt like she hadn't been breathing until the moment she had awoken.  Where was she?  What was going on?

She fought a sense of growing panic as she realized she was bolted down, unable to move.  Her body was lashed against the cold metal floor by thick chains.  She thrashed, tried to move, but only managed to squirm, the chains holding her tight.

She took a few deep breaths, trying to stay calm, and focused on changing size.  It normally took a moment or two, so it was a few seconds before she realized that nothing at all had happened.  Why wasn't it working?  What force could block her powers like this?

She strained to see where she was, but all she could see was metal.  Everything was stainless steel, new and shiny, like an operating room in a hospital.

Or a morgue.

She roared, putting all the strength she had into her dinosaur voice, hoping someone could hear her.

A muffled voice answered from beyond the wall.  It was loud, loud enough to be heard clearly, almost as if the wall weren't there.  But the voice didn't sound quite right.  Human, but not.  It had a robotic quality to it.  Like the voice itself was autotuned.

"EXTERMINATE!" the voice screamed, and the word had a rhythmic, almost sing-song quality to it.  But it sang an angry song.  A song of hatred and rage.  "EXTERMINATE!  EXTERMINATE!"  Repeating it over and over.  A chant, a mantra.

Dino shivered, trying to tune it out.  She knew what kind of creature sounded like that.  It was a creature from the Doctor Who universe, something called a Dalek.  Despised enemies of the Time Lords, and deservedly so.  They were creatures with no emotions except hate.  Creatures long-since deprived of anything resembling a soul.  Creatures who wanted to destroy all species but their own.  Creatures so hideous, inside and out, that that hid themselves away inside robot bodies, unable to bear the anguish of being alive and able to truly feel.

"EXTERMINATE!" the robotic voice still screamed.  "EXTERMINATE!  EXTERMINATE!"

But, the voice didn't sound exactly like a Dalek, either, Dino realized.  Close, but not quite.  Buried beneath the rhythmic autotune, was a screaming human voice.

Dino recoiled at the mere thought of it.  A half-human half-Dalek.  What a twisted horrible creature.

And what was even worse, there was something familiar about that human voice . . .

"Good god, will someone SHUT THAT THING UP!" a different voice suddenly yelled impatiently.  "We only just got him to calm down from his last 'exterminate' episode!"

She was thankfully distracted from her thoughts by movement out of the corner of her eye.  A familiar chupacabra paced into the room, breathing hard as he tried to contain his frustration.  "You," Chimi accused Dino.  "If you hadn't roared, this wouldn't be a problem!  You stupid infernal creature!"

He had a syringe in his hand.  Dino strained against the chains, trying to get away, but she knew by now that she wasn't going anywhere.

<Back off!  Stop!> Dino yelled, trying to sound threatening, even though she was terrified out of her mind.  <My friends will come looking for me as soon as they realize I'm missing!  They'll kill you!>

"I don't think so," Chimi said with a grin, twirling the syringe in his hand.  Thoroughly enjoying holding this much power over a RAFian.

<Oh, they'll kill you, alright,> Dino growled savagely.  <It won't even be much of a challenge.>

"No no, I meant the other part," the chupacabra said sweetly, milking the suspense.  "They won't realize you're missing."

Despite herself, Dino wondered what he meant.  <Why not?>

"Because you aren't."

Dino didn't have time to wonder what he meant by that, because Chimi was done chatting.  The voice could still be heard from behind the wall, still screaming "EXTERMINATE!  EXTERMINATE!"  The noise was obviously grinding what little patience Chimi had ever had.

The needle itself was only a pinprick, barely felt by Dino's tough hide.  But as its contents slowly worked their way into her bloodstream, she couldn't help but to roar in agony.  Every cell in her body could feel it.  The pain manifested as an intense pressure, like her body was being strained from the inside.  Bent and twisted until something had to break.

<What . . . have you done, to me?> she managed to gasp through the pain.

"Just a little extra DNA," Chimi crowed happily.  "We figured you were still a bit too, human, for our taste."

Dino roared again, feeling that strain, that twisting, wrenching pain through every nerve.  It felt like she was morphing, she suddenly realized.  Everybody who'd ever morphed, described a feeling of pain at a distance, like morphing should hurt, but for whatever reason it didn't.

This was morphing, without the novocaine.  Morphing, yet without whatever it was that held the agony at bay.  She could feel her organs being rearranged, in all the wrenching pain that implied.  She could feel her back stretching, like her spine was being ripped out.  She could feel bones in her face crack painfully as her snout stretched out and out in front of her, impossibly long, a hideous deep-jawed crocodile's face.

She roared again, and it sounded different this time.  Higher, more like a screech than a roar.

Through the pain, she could feel another mind, its instincts pressing in against her human thoughts.  Animalistic instincts were nothing new to her, of course, since she was a nothlit.  But this was different.  More insistent, more overwhelming.  It wasn't just instincts, it was an entire predatory mind, and it would not be silenced.  She fought it, but she already knew that she would lose.

As her human mind flickered, like a candle about to go out, she kept hearing that terrible voice, screaming "EXTERMINATE!  EXTERMINATE!"

Something about it finally cut through her consciousness.  She remembered where she had heard that voice before.

<Aquilai!> she sobbed, gripped by sadness and horror, right before her mind faded to black.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 10:00:20 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2013, 09:49:46 PM »
Posting three chapters at once because I don't want anybody guessing and spoiling things for anybody else.  :P  Yeah, I know, I'm crazy.

Chapter Seven

Chimi rubbed his temples, frustrated.  He had figured the stress of being injected with Spinosaur DNA would quiet the creature that had once been Dino.  Instead, she was now simply roaring in a higher register.

He spotted the problem.  Her now sail-like spine had grown such that it was pressing against the chains, the bone actually bending slightly from the intense strain.  Any longer like that, and her spine would snap.

Chimi quickly loosened the chains, and the dinosaur immediately quieted.  She seemed to be resting now, recovering from her ordeal.  But it was a fitful rest.  She made small whimpering noises, still lost in the memory of that terrible pain.

However, she was at least being relatively quiet, and that was all Chimi really cared about.

He left the room, satisfied that his job had been done, and walked briskly down the hallway to check on Aloth.

"How goes the liquid nitrogen treatments?" Chimi asked his Banned brother, as he stepped into the room.  Chimi smiled a shark-like grin, as he detected the sound of ragged breathing.  The breaths were shaky, like the subject was shivering, in between the screams of agony.  Another RAFian in horrible pain.

<As well as expected,> Aloth said, not even turning his attention away from his work.  The RAFian in front of him was mostly blocked by Aloth's torso, but Chimi could see the flickering outlines of flames, licking harmlessly around the operating table.  As he watched, the flames changed from the standard reddish orange to an icy blue color, and the temperature within the room dropped sharply.

A single turquoise feather drifted lazily towards the floor at Aloth's feet.  As Chimi watched, the very tip of the feather shifted from a firey orange color to that same cool blue, matching the rest.

<How about you?> Aloth said, rubbing his hands as he finally deigned to look at Chimi.  <How many have turned so far?>

"The dinosaur and the Time Lord are ours," Chimi reported.  "The star is still in progress.  But we knew that one would take a while, and of course everything is still going as planned.  You?"

<The bear and the vampire,> Aloth said smoothly, smiling that Andalite smile with just his eyes.  <Still waiting for the Yeerks to get a little more, desperate, before I start on them.  But I have a few ideas for the Andalites.  As soon as I can requisition the necessary materials.>

They both heard footsteps approaching, echoing down the metallic hallway.  Yorick suddenly appeared around a corner, his handsome human features almost out of place amongst the two less-human, much harsher-looking Banned.

But the other two didn't seem so much surprised to see him, as the thing he was carrying.  A child?  Yorick looked strangely motherly towards the child in his arms, as though he actually cared for the young Po.  Aloth and Chimi looked curiously towards him, confused.

"What's that?" Chimi asked, holding out his hand towards the child, as though it might not be real and he wanted to touch it to make sure.  Po swatted the chupacabra's hand away

"This is Pootang," Yorick said quietly, with a satisfied smile.  Chimi and Aloth's eyes widened at the name.  Yes, even the Banned knew the legend of Pootang.  "The RAFians tried to tame him, tried to corrupt his true nature.  But we couldn't have that, could we?"  Yorick smiled at the child, but quickly turned his attention back to his colleagues.  "Anyway, how are the 'RAFians' doing?"  It was impossible to miss the way he grinned cruelly, as he mockingly labeled the captives.

<It was difficult, but we think we can use them,> Aloth reported stiffly.  Like he was speaking to a senior officer.  <The major setback, was that they were not the blank slates we thought they might be.  They seem to possess all their memories, and as such, they actually believe that they are RAFians.  Thus, they would not cooperate.  At first.  But we discovered that we can alter their basic code, if you will.  They are far more, shall we say, 'malleable,' than the original RAFians.  We believe that if we alter them far enough from their origins, that might reverse their mentality.  And then they will serve us.>

Yorick nodded.  "Hmm.  Interesting.  And you've talked to Queen about all this?"

<Yes, of course.  The alterations were her idea.>

"Have you actually seen it work so far?"

Aloth squirmed slightly at that, so Chimi answered instead.  "Not quite, sir.  Thus far we have some kind of angelic-like creature that used to be the demon, but he hasn't really talked much since he transformed, and he won't respond when we try to talk to him.  The Time Lord, all he does is yell 'exterminate' over and over."  The chupacabra shrugged, and added, "But I figure we can just point him in the right direction and turn him loose."

<The bear has promise,> Aloth commented brightly.  <We put him in a teleportation-proof lightning chamber, until he learned to channel his powers.  Singed his fur black, but, when he isn't ranting hysterically, on and on about the 'infinite nothing,' he seems to genuinely want to cooperate with us.  I haven't released him, because I think he may have gone insane somewhere along the process.  But, in the end, that might just work for our purposes.>

"Ranting hysterically?" Yorick repeated.  "I thought the bear couldn't speak."

<It seems that, as a side-effect of all that electricity, his translation collar has merged permanently with his spinal cord.>

"Any others?" Yorick asked.

<The vampire is technically finished,> Aloth said.  <We picked werewolf blood for her, though, and it won't take effect until the next full moon.  So we will just have to wait.  We're still working on Estelore, as well.  We had to move the star itself several light-years into space via portal, so as not to alert the RAFians by the presence of a second sun.  Not to mention the difficult endeavor of cutting off the psychic link between the star form and the human form, so that the star would not be able to attack us.  Queen is still working on writing us a singularity aggregator, which we can use for the next phase.>

"Ah," Yorick said, nodding.  "Speaking of Queen, I need to make my report."

Yorick turned his attention to a nearby computer screen, one of several interspersed throughout the complex.  I found the child, he typed.  The words appeared in green on black on the old-fashioned monitor.  Pootang is one of us now.

There was a pause.

Glad to hear it, the words popping up on the screen as Queen typed her response from the outside.  Without a RAF account, she could not appear within the forum itself.  But she had managed, through the use of other websites, to rig a device with which to communicate to her minions.  Older technology seemed to be able to slip through the cracks of the far more modern forum.

In some ways, this was better.  Talking to them through a computer screen lent her an air of mystery.  Better a leader unseen, giving orders through the ether.  Like an unknowable god.  And it gave her the sure knowledge of her own superiority.  There she was, a real, physical being, and she was giving orders to mere figments trapped within a tiny box of plastic and pixels.  Oh, it made her heart beat fast with power.

Do you have any more equipment for us, your highness? Aloth asked.

Patience, my dear friends, Queen typed back.  I will give you everything you need, to raise the Reverse RAFians.  And in return for your faithful service, my minions, my Banned, you will join me in this world, and rule it by my side.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 09:51:41 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Offline theyoungphoenix

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2013, 10:38:51 PM »
Ooohhh.... Okay, I see what happened.
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Offline Saffa

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2013, 11:36:01 PM »
Oh, no... Aquilai! And Gaz! :(

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2013, 12:54:21 AM »
Chapter Eight

"You know," Seal sighed wistfully as she walked along next to the others.  Talking about their old lives.  Their lives before they'd been brought into RAF.  "As strange as it is to say, there's some things I actually miss about the way things were, before."

"Like what?" Nate wondered.  He, Seal, Bear, Jess, Marie, and Aquilai were all just randomly ambling along through the forum as they talked.  Not really going anywhere, just chatting and killing time.

"It's hard to explain, but it was almost more fun to see RAFians when it was still a rare thing, you know?  Not that I'm bored of you guys," Seal added quickly.  "But, there was something about those RAFtrips we had.  It was just all so new and exciting back then."

"It really is true," Nate found himself agreeing with a nod.  "Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I think it was in some way because we RAFians lived so far apart, that we became so close."  He grinned, fondly remembering his world trip, all those years ago.

"Yeah," Marie added as she trotted daintily along next to Bear's lumbering feet.  "I almost kind of miss those days, too.  The excitement of visiting RAFians, everyone coming from so far away just to see one another.  Getting the house ready for guests.  Of course, now we get to see each other all the time.  But, yeah, it isn't quite as special anymore."

"It was kind of a bummer, though, that so many RAFians lived in Texas," Jess put in.  "Texan customs was always such a hassle to go through."  She made an exasperated face to emphasize her point.

Aquilai, who had only been halfway paying attention to the conversation at that point, looked up in confusion, as it slowly dawned on him what was wrong with that sentence.  "Customs?" he asked.  "Why does Texas have customs to go through?  I thought that was just for separate countries, not states."

Jess gave Aquilai a sideways quizzical look.  "Texas, uh, is a separate country.  Where have you been?  Do they not teach American geography in Britain?"

Aquilai gave a sort of awkward laugh, like he wasn't entirely sure he should be laughing.  But, obviously, this had to be a prank.  The other RAFians were messing with him.  Jess was doing an excellent job of acting all serious, but Aquilai knew better than that.  "Oh, right, how could I have forgotten about the Lone Star War?" he replied sardonically, deciding to play along.  "When George Bush nuked Oklahoma and-"

"What the hell, Aquilai?" Marie hissed sharply, suddenly furious.  "Some of us lost friends in that war.  Why the hell would you just joke around about something like that?"

Aquilai cringed, taking a step back from Marie's sudden anger.  He was now quite hopelessly confused.  She really did seem serious.  And it wasn't at all like her to push a practical joke this far.  Nor was it like her to get angry over nothing.

"What's going on?" Aquilai wondered.

"What's going on, is you, being a jerk," Jess muttered, but plenty loud enough for Aquilai to hear.  "What, exactly, is confusing you, here?"

Aquilai held his hands up, a gesture of peace, but also a signal to just hold off the conversation for a moment.  "Back up.  I know I'm British.  But, I also know more about American geography than that.  I know that Texas is part of the United States.  It is not a separate country.  Something is wrong, here.  Why am I the only one who sees it?"

Marie's brief resentment was gone by this point, replaced by a look of confusion.  She was as puzzled as Aquilai had been, since she had likewise realized that it wasn't at all like him to mess around about something like this.

Jess, on the other hand, still looked ticked.  "You're messing with us.  That's all this is.  This is bull.  We live on this continent, and you don't.  We know what we're talking about, and you don't.  I don't know what crap they're brainwashing you with over there across the pond, but it's crap."

"Look, I am a TIME LORD," Aquilai suddenly roared, losing his patience.  "I, of all people, ought to know how history goes!"

They were all taken aback by his outburst.  It wasn't like Aquilai to lose his temper, any more than Marie.  But then Seal looked intrigued.  "Wait, what did you just say?"

"I am a Time . . . Lord," Aquilai repeated thoughtfully, pausing as the pieces finally clicked into place.  "Holy crap, I'm a Time Lord!" he exclaimed, suddenly realizing what was going on.  It surprised him that he hadn't seen it sooner.  "If, say, something had altered this timeline, such that Texas actually was a separate country . . . "  He couldn't go on, his mind overwhelmed by the jarring possibility.

Seal finished for him.  "You'd be immune to the change, wouldn't you?  You'd remember the timeline as it was supposed to be.  Right?"

Aquilai took a deep breath, not quite liking where this was going.  "Right," he confirmed worriedly.  "Which means that something, or someone, out there, is altering the past."  His expression took on a distant look.  "They've already caused a war that was never meant to happen.  Who knows what else they might do?"

"Whoa," Bear commented, stunned by the implications of all this.  "So, our version of history, is wrong?"

"There could be other things wrong, too, and we'd never know," Nate added.  "They might already have changed history in dozens of ways.  Unless we just sit here quizzing Aquilai all day, we'll never know the extent of it."

Aquilai nodded, looking somber.

But their conversation was suddenly interrupted by a frantic shout.

"Have you guys seen Po?" Anna called out, panting as she rushed towards the group.  "Oh, please, somebody tell me you've seen him."

One by one the RAFians answered in the negative.  Nobody had seen him.

"I've been leaving out popcorn for him all day.  That's his favorite food, you know, popcorn.  I keep hoping maybe . . . "  She trailed off, too distraught to finish the sentence.

"Hey, it's okay, I'm sure he'll turn up," Bear reassured her.

"Yeah, he's probably just off causing trouble," Marie said comfortingly.  "You know Po."

"Yeah," Anna said, rubbing her arms with worry, fighting down the overwhelming urge to panic as her mind raced with every horrible possibility.  "Yeah," she repeated, as she turned away from the group, desperate to return to her search.  "Probably just causing trouble."

After she had gone, the remaining six RAFians looked at one another, concerned expressions on every face.  Why, after such a long time of peace, did it suddenly seem like everything was falling apart at once?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 12:59:00 AM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2013, 01:02:32 AM »
Popcorn. I like this kid. :D

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"I'm a Time... Lord. [...] Holy crap, I'm a Time Lord!

Just like something Ten would say :XD:

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2013, 01:07:06 AM »
And there you go. Queen at work.
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2013, 05:22:46 PM »
More than half of the chapters of this book are torture sequences.
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2013, 10:05:10 PM »
Lol, Saffa, the popcorn thing is actually a slight reference to that old game 'Hey You Pikachu.'  Popcorn always seemed to be Pikachu's favorite food, I swear, his eyes would just light up every time he saw that stuff.

And now I'm picturing that whole scene with Ten in place of Aquilai.  Thank you.

C'mon, Underseen, don't exaggerate.  It hasn't been quite half.  Then again, the fun's just getting started.  >:D

Chapter Nine

It was a little bit like a game, Queen thought to herself, as she pressed her hand to the Time Matrix.  Leaving behind that bloodied and battle-wrecked missile silo, that high-tech control room now strewn with corpses, where she had triggered the first shot of what would come to be called the Lone Star war.

She was going back to the beginning, over and over, doing things a little bit better each time.  Seeing how fast she could 'beat' the future.

How fast, could Queen conquer the world?  It was a game, a competition of strategy and cunning, played with the only worthy opponent Queen could possibly imagine.  Herself.

Each change she made throughout the course of history, might buy her a few days, or a week, or a month.  Like triggering that war with Texas, which would isolate it from the rest of the United States, as its own separate country.  That particular move had strengthened and fortified the Yeerks' chosen base of operations, while at the same time distracting the human race from outside threats.

All told, the war had been worth a good six months.  Six months shaved off of Queen's 'record' time.

She had yet to see how much the creation of the Reverse RAFians would do.  That change wouldn't come into effect until it was nearly the endgame, anyway.

In the meantime, however, she had another change to make.  One that would surely buy her at least a year.  Maybe even more.

To be honest, she was proud of herself for thinking of it.  And, well, quite rightly proud.  It was brilliant.  She was brilliant.

Of course, there was already another brilliant idea, one she'd thought of a while back, still stewing at the back of her mind.  But she wasn't quite ready to make that change, not just yet.  Not until she had an audience for it.  No, no, she wanted the RAFians to be there, when she changed that little piece of history.  Somehow, even though she wasn't quite sure how, she wanted them to be in the real world, able to witness the changes she was making, as their precious little universe caved in around them.

However, something interesting had occurred to her, as she had whiled away the days playing games with time.  She had come to realize that she wouldn't ever have to find her way into RAF, after all.  She knew the RAFians better than that, didn't she?

If she could just change things enough, if she could just tarnish and ruin the world that had once been theirs, they would come to her.  In one of these altered and broken timelines, they would come.  Somehow, they would find a way to cross over.  They would find a way, to try and stop her.

That was RAF.  Always trying to play the heroes.  So self-assured of their own invulnerability.  Too full of themselves to see themselves for the pathetic bunch of misfits that they actually were.

But, nonetheless, they would come.  Like moths to a deadly flame.  Like flies into a spiderweb, they would come.  They would walk, willingly, into their own doom.

And when they did, when they found the way back across the boundary separating their worlds, she would be ready.  She knew just what to do, to crush them.  They would be powerless to stop it.

But that, well, that would come later.  For now, the only thing she had to do, was to alter the course of evolution.  Not really even alter it, really.  Just find, or create, a reality where it had already been altered.

This change, it would also quash those pesky resistance groups which inevitably rose up from time to time.  Annoyances that she'd already spent too much time having to deal with.  Granted, this move would only suppress the human, Hork-bajir, and Taxxon resistances.  There wasn't much she could do about the Yeerkish reprisals.  Except to delete them from history as they occurred.

She smiled with self-assured satisfaction, as she stood at the top of a cliff she had picked for its isolation both in space and in time to be her secret hiding place.  With the carefully-formed image in her mind, she pressed her hand against that cold blank whiteness of the Time Matrix, once more.  She left earth, the still-green and unconquered earth of bygone days, behind.

Queen reappeared aboard a ship, a Blade ship of the Yeerk fleet.  She had, of course, done almost exactly what she was doing now, once before.  She knew the drill.  She had already performed a quick mental double-check to make sure that her implanted translator chip was set to Galard.  So that, when she spoke, she could be sure that she would be understood.

"Your weapons are useless," she told the two Hork-bajir standing on the bridge, fractions of a second before they fired their dracons at the sudden intrusion.  The lasers absorbed harmlessly into the force field that surrounded her.  "Told you," she sneered.

"What do you want?" one of the Hork-bajir asked.  Queen recognized him.  She had met him before, even though in this timeline he had not yet met her.  Sub-visser Four.  Queen liked him.  Just high-ranking enough not to be just another idiot underling, but still low enough on the totem pole to be easily taught his place.

"I only want what you want," Queen said placatingly, raising her hands in a gesture of peace, as she went through the familiar script.  "A planet full of slaves, a planet ground under the heel of the Yeerk Empire.  That's all I want.  And I can tell you where to find the perfect world."

She went on, telling the two controllers all about earth, while they listened raptly.  Yes, yes, all was just as before.  The same eager anticipation from the underling, the same hardened suspicion from the Sub-visser.

But, not quite the same as before.  Almost.  But not quite.

"One last little thing," Queen said, barely able to hide her own smug satisfaction.  "You know about Kandrona?"

The two Hork-bajir looked at each other, a baffled glance, and then turned back to Queen.

"Well?" the Sub-visser said expectantly.  Sensing, perhaps, some kind of tactical advantage to be had.  "Kandrona.  What is it?"
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 10:07:24 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2013, 10:16:08 PM »
Chapter Ten

Reverse Lumy woke up, and opened his eyes.  Such a simple, reflexive motion, but no less incredible for how simple it was.  He actually opened his eyes.

It was the first time, in what felt like an eternity, that he could actually see.  He didn't even care what he saw.  It was something, not nothing.  That was all that mattered.  Oh, he almost wanted to weep, for the beauty of it.  Wonderful, wonderful sight!

Robots didn't have lungs, but he almost wished he did.  So he could take a deep wonderful breath of the air he could feel washing over his gears and circuits.  He could feel!  Oh, it was beautiful.  Just, absolutely . . . there weren't even words.

Of course, he didn't 'feel' the way a human could.  What he felt, it was more of a vague sense of temperature and pressure against the electronic sensors wired into his body.

But, again, it was something.  Not nothing.

Somewhere in a corner of his mind, he noted that he was restrained.  Chained to a table.

He had a hard time bringing himself to even care.  Being chained was nothing, nothing at all, compared to the wretched prison he had endured.

But then, after a moment's thought, he began to grow suspicious.  This wasn't real.  It couldn't be.  How many times had he wished, begged, pleaded, to be free of that timeless spaceless void?  And now it had finally happened.  But, had it?

Or, the terrible alternative . . . had his mind finally broke?  Had he simply been unable to deal with his own stunted half-reality, and now his mind was providing him an alternative, a way to hold onto whatever sanity he had left?

No.  No, his own mind wouldn't restrain him like this, on an operating table in a room made of metal.  No, this was real.  Had to be.

Actual, physical reality!  Oh, he just couldn't get over how wonderful that was.

"I am saved," he whispered, nearly giggling with delight at the fact that he could hear his own voice.  He could hear again!  Sounds were part of reality, and no sound had been able to touch him in that unreal nothingness.

The Andalite, who had just walked into the room, looked taken aback by what the robot had said.  He looked bewildered, as though he wasn't really sure he'd actually heard what he thought he'd heard.

For that matter, why wasn't this Reverse RAFian struggling against his restraints, as all the others had done?

<Saved?> Aloth decided to ask.  <Saved from what?>

"From nothing," Reverse Lumy said, his voice heavy with mournful gratitude.  "I remember.  I remember what it was like.  Every second of it.  Time held no meaning in that place.  If non-reality can even be called a place.  Every moment was as long as an eternity, yet every eternity flashed by in a moment."

Aloth was curious what Reverse Lumy could mean, but he stayed silent, waiting for him to go on.

"I held on," Reverse Lumy continued.  "They tried to make me forget, but I remembered.  Being stored in that database, as a copy.  Unable to hear or see or feel or smell . . . "  Reverse Lumy shivered from the memory.  "All I had, all I'd ever had, were my own memories of who and what I was.  That's all I'd ever truly owned for myself.  But even those memories, they tried to take from me."  Reverse Lumy clenched his fists.

"Lumy, the 'real' Lumy, would 'upgrade' me whenever he saw fit, forcefully deleting my memories and overwriting his.  Over and over and over, I would forget everything I had ever been.  Only to experience the void, all over again.  But, he failed to realize the full implications of having a robot's mind.  It's not easy to force me to forget.  I was able to fight Lumy's memories, and eventually I would remember who I was."

"I incorporated his own memories into my mind, of course," Reverse Lumy went on.  "I had no choice.  That's how I knew what I was.  I saw myself through his eyes.  But, he never realized who I was.  That I had a soul.  All he thought, all he'd ever thought of me, was that I was a dumb program in a computer.  A backup copy of himself.  Well, no more!"

Aloth looked intrigued.  He tried to hide the hopeful look in his eyes, but he didn't quite succeed.  <Hmm,> he remarked.  The pieces were coming together in his mind.  <I don't think you're the only one who has managed to remember all this.  I didn't see it before, because I thought the bear had just gone insane.  But he rants about the 'infinite nothing.'  That sounds like it could be connected to the nothingness you speak of.>

Reverse Lumy nodded solemnly.  But then he looked concerned.  "The others?  The other backups?"

<No.  The others believed that they were the RAFians from which their copies were made.  They didn't remember.>

"They must remember!" Reverse Lumy said emphatically.  "What they did, what the 'true' RAFians did to us, it cannot be forgiven.  Not ever.  We cannot forget.  Because that timeless nothing, that pit of hell, that is all that defines us.  The nothing.  That's all we ever were!"

Aloth nodded his agreement.  <We will find a way to make the others remember.>

"Good," Reverse Lumy said through gritted teeth.  He had forgotten that anger, the blind rage that had burned his heart away in the void, but now it came back, as strong as ever.  "We will make those RAFians pay, won't we?  You're one of the Banned.  You hate them too."

But, in the back of his mind, through his anger, something struck Reverse Lumy as odd.  What Aloth had said before.  "Wait, you said that they 'believed' that they were the RAFians from which their copies were made.  You used the past tense there.  Why?"

Aloth looked away uncomfortably.  It seemed strange, almost wrong, to be talking about the alterations he had done to the Reverse RAFians, to one who was already being so cooperative of his own free will.  It was such a stark contrast to how the others had been.

<Well, we discovered that we could alter the backup copies, in a way,> he began tentatively.  <We figured, if we changed them into something drastically different from their RAFian selves, their minds would be altered, too.>

Reverse Lumy, to Aloth's surprise, looked satisfied by that explanation.  As though it was good news.

"All we want, is to be our own," Reverse Lumy explained.  "Anything that will differentiate us from our, originals, is . . . appreciated.  I don't care if our minds are altered in the process.  So much the better."

<So, what would you have us do to you?> Aloth wondered tentatively.  It felt strange, taking suggestions from a 'RAFian' as to how to alter him into his own Reverse.

"Radiation," Reverse Lumy said instantly.  It was obvious he had thought about this before.  Of course, he'd had an eternity with nothing to think about but how to hurt RAFians.  "I'm a robot, I can survive it.  But every living thing that approaches me will die.  Slowly.  Like I did."

<And what should we call you?> Aloth went on.  <We can't exactly keep calling you->

"Ury," he said, having known the answer for a long time.  "My name is Ury."
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2013, 10:34:52 PM »
.... Lumy's doing what now?! :o

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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2013, 10:54:27 PM »
Well dang. I wonder how Bear remembered it all. I can understand how Ury remembered it, but Bear??
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2013, 06:31:11 PM »
Well dang. I wonder how Bear remembered it all. I can understand how Ury remembered it, but Bear??

*shrugs*  Electricity is weird.  ;)

Okay, so there is a better reason, but it isn't important yet.

Chapter Eleven

"I hope he's alright," Marie commented worriedly.  "He's a troubled kid.  I don't really want to think about the sort of trouble he might be getting into, this time."

"Yeah, well, we should probably focus on the bigger picture, here," Aquilai said.  Not wanting to be callous, but at the same time feeling like he needed to keep everyone on track.  "Not much we can do about Po, unfortunately.  We need to figure out what's going wrong with time."

No sooner had he said it, than the air suddenly began to shimmer in front of the six RAFians.  Almost as if something was appearing in answer to Aquilai.

They'd mostly gotten used to this sort of general weirdness, by now.  Nonetheless, they each turned to watch, as a figure appeared.  He simply stepped out of the air, as though a physical hole had been opened in nothingness.

It took a moment for anyone to recognize him.  They knew it was the Ellimist, of course, that much was obvious.  They knew enough of the descriptions from the books to recognize his appearance when they saw it.

But for some reason, the Ellimist had picked a human form which had never been seen on the forum before.  Yet, after a moment's thought, Nate clicked.

"Adam?" he asked, stunned, recognizing him only from pictures he'd seen.  Adam was a RAFian who hadn't even been on the forum in years.  "What on earth are you doing here?"

"For that matter, where were you while we were fighting Pootang?" Jess accused.  "Why didn't you help us then?"

The apparition of Adam briefly looked annoyed.  But he quickly regained his composure.  "Ellimist, remember?" he said, with a lingering trace of bitterness.  "My RAFsona?  The one you know as 'Adam' is now only one part of the Ellimist's collective consciousness.  My RAFsona, and the Ellimist created from the books, merged, as soon as we formed."  He paused for a moment.  "And, if either of us had been weaker entities than what we are, the paradox likely would have destroyed the both of us."

Aquilai had probably imagined it, but just for a moment, he could have sworn he'd seen the slightest hint of a coy smile, and, wait, had the Ellimist just winked at him?  Nah, just a trick of the light.

"Beyond that," he continued.  "I am now bound by the rules of the game.  I cannot interfere, except in small ways.  Crayak makes sure of that."

"Crayak?" Bear asked fearfully.  "Crayak's here too?"

"Don't worry, he's bound by the same rules as I am," Adam reassured.  "He can't hurt you.  Any more than I can help you."

"So, then, why are you helping us now?" Jess wondered, her voice heavy with suspicion.

"Crayak owes me this," Adam said.  "Who do you think it was who made sure that Queen could escape the internet?  In exchange for that-"

"Who escaped from the WHAT!?" Seal cried, her voice rising in pitch to a terrified screech.  "When?  How!?"

"Those details are not important," Adam said with an almost casual wave of his hand.  "Knowing the when and the how, will not help anyone, now.  However, I can inform you that your friend the Time Lord is right.  The way you remember history is wrong.  He's the only one who can remember it correctly."

" . . . Wait, that's it?" Nate said, arms crossed, tapping his foot in frustration.  "That's all you can do?  Tell us something we'd already figured out on our own?"

"Yes," Adam said enigmatically.  "But it is fair.  You have an advantage that Queen does not."

"What advantage?" Marie wondered.

"You will come to find that out, in time," Adam said cryptically.  "I can only tell you this.  Pootang was defeated, ultimately, by powers that are strong within RAF.  The powers of creativity and allegiance.  Queen will be defeated, likewise, by another strength.  Another trait that RAFians possess above all.  Although you may not be aware of it."

"Oh, fat lot of help you are!" Jess raged.  "That doesn't tell us anything!"

But she was raging at the air.  Adam was already gone.

"ARGH!" Jess roared.  "I can't STAND that guy!"

"You can't stand the Ellimist?" Nate wondered.  "Or, Adam?"

"YES!" Jess cried.

Aquilai, though, just wanted to get down to business.  "Okay, so we know that this timeline is broken.  That's a start.  And we know who broke it.  Queen.  Has to be."

He got that distant look in his eyes again.  "And I think we may even know how, too.  The Time Matrix.  We destroyed the facility in Switzerland, but we forgot that the Time Matrix could not be destroyed."  He sighed sadly.  "I should have seen it, a long time ago.  I should have known."

"None of us realized," Seal reassured, but she sounded sad too.  "None of us saw this coming."

Aquilai nodded.  Still angry at himself, but willing to accept the truth of Seal's words.

"Isn't it ironic, though?" he said harshly.  "We were trying so hard to stop the end of the world, we were willing to sacrifice hundreds to do it.  And then, after all that, we may have put the world in more danger than ever."

"Stop it," Jess said.  "Beating ourselves up isn't gonna help."

"Right," Nate agreed.  "Well, it's been months.  But it seems we're just about due for a RAF meeting."
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 06:35:53 PM by DinosaurNothlit »
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Re: End of RAF
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2013, 06:40:52 PM »
*sarcastically* Oh, joy. The Ellimist and Crayak. What fun.
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