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Clockwork Heart

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Chadwyck, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. OoC: This story may seem a bit random at the start, but bear with me. I do know where it is going, the path on how it's going to get there is a little fuzzy though. I hope you enjoy, I'll be working on this and Blood Ties at the same time, so be sure to stalk them both. Hope you enjoy and keep an open mind :p

    Chadwyck Fic~

    Chapter 1: In Which We Meet an Interesting Character

    “Amazing view, wouldn’t you agree?” Asked a young man of about twenty-four. He had sandy blond hair and looked as if he would be on a billboard somewhere, his eyes were piercing blue. He was dressed in a very formal looking morning suit, it was ivory white and he wore a sky blue shirt beneath it. The question had been directed at a young woman who sat across from him.

    “Yes, quite astonishing. I’ve never been aboard a dirigible before.” She said shyly, through the window they were seated beside, she could see several cities sprawled out far below the great flying balloon that they were currently dining aboard. The woman was dressed in a blue dress, which had been provided by the gentleman across from her. Her hair was a chestnut brown color.

    The view really was amazing, as long as one didn’t have any recollection of when there used to be foliage as far as the eye could see. The world as it was had become nothing more than an expanse of machinery. Steam-powered cities stretched as far as the eye could see, some floated in the air; entire cities suspended in flight. Others had been built beneath the sea. Still, others were simply built on the ground: high towers powered by steam. But the greenery that used to cover the face of the Earth was gone, all that was left were treated as gold; if someone were to own a shrub their social status would jump up several notches. Providing it wasn’t stolen.

    “Have you not?” The man said haughtily, “You have never lived then. Though, I forget those less fortunate than I have precious little luxuries.” He laughed with a self satisfied tone. The girl chuckled nervously along with him. “Ah! Good, I’ll have a rare steak.” He practically shouted to the waitress as she approached, “And my companion will be having the salmon salad.” He ordered without actually taking the girl’s preference into account. Since the destruction of the world’s plant life, salads became a thing of status. If you were eating a salad, or with someone eating a salad, you were the cream of the crop. The girl didn’t mind that she had been ordered a salad, but she wondered if it would taste as good as everyone imagined. The waitress nodded and walked away, the man was a valued customer aboard the blimp; she practically ran to put his order in.

    Suddenly, the man felt a presence behind him. “What? Have you forgotten what I ordered already, you insignificant—“ He was cut off as he turned around and came face to face with the business end of a “Moses Brothers Self-Defense Engine Frontier Model B.”

    “Hello, Monty.” Said a slick, deep voice from the other end of the revolver. People started to panic at the sight of the man with a gun, several of them running from the restaurant to other parts of the massive airship, a few others ducked below their tables.

    “My name, sir, is Montgomery. Edward Montgomery.” The man growled.

    The man at the other side of the gun sighed and checked his pocket watch with mild interest, “How long have you been twenty-four, now, I wonder?” The man smiled a smile that would have sent a rabid dog running for cover.

    Edward Montgomery’s eyes went wide, “How did you…?”

    “Because it’s my business to know, filthy undead heathen.” The man pulled the hammer back on the gun, “I’m only going to ask once, where is the necromancer who created you? My current employers would very much like to know.”

    “Go to Hell, detective,” Edward spat the last word, almost literally. His next thought is unknown as it was at that moment that his head disappeared from his shoulders with a loud bang that rang through the restaurant. Everyone who had been hiding beneath their tables poked their heads out to look. No blood had come out of the man’s head, simply gray dust. He had been dead for quite a while, then. The man stuck his weapon back within his coat and looked at the mortified woman across the table, smeared with gray dust.

    “Wh-wh-who…?” She was trying to say something, but the man hadn’t the time for her to get over her trauma.

    “My name is Chadwyck Felling, I am a detective; a mercenary if you prefer, I dabble in both I suppose. Yes, that stuff that is covering your face and dress is dear Edward Montgomery’s dried up blood and brains. No, you will not become a zombie. And I killed him because my current employers are trying to eradicate this infestation. You’d be surprised how easily the walking dead can blend in with normal society.” He seemed to answer any and all questions that she could have possibly put forth to him, at least in her stupefied state. He’d obviously done this many times before. She closed her mouth and looked very nauseous for a moment, before turning incredibly pale and ultimately losing consciousness.

    Chadwyck checked his pocket watch again, “She didn’t last much longer than the others,” He observed. “When she wakes up bring her some water, and her salad. Money is no issue. It’s on him.” He grabbed Edward’s wallet from his pocket and tossed a small wad of cash onto the table, and then took the rest for himself before turning on his heels and walking toward the exit; despite the fact that they were still airborne.

    Everyone in the restaurant took a mental picture of the man, not intentionally of course, but that is, after all, the way that the human brain worked. When recounting the happenings to their friends and families that night, they would all, more or less, remember a man of about twenty-two years old, who was six feet tall with fair skin.

    He had been wearing a top hat, as most gentlemen would wear, but around the base just above the brim, he had a pair of welding goggles strapped onto it. They could easily be pulled over his eyes, which is what he did as he reached the exit with his gloved hands, the gloves themselves going up about halfway up his forearm. He had been garbed in a black duster, made of wool for keeping warm at high altitudes, and a gray-brown pinstriped vest beneath it, both of those worn over a white formal shirt. His trousers were black and he had combat boots that went up about half way up his calves. He walked with a black cane topped with bronze, despite being able to walk perfectly fine.

    As he reached the exit he opened the door. Then, without even looking down at the massive space between himself and the closest piece of solid ground, he stepped out and somehow managed to stay suspended. The more observant of the onlookers would remember what looked like small bolts of electricity around his person as he levitated casually to a small one-man dirigible that had been tied onto the massive cruising blimp. He stepped into the passenger basket and untied the craft with a tip of his hat toward the passengers (everyone would claim that it had been directed toward them, but in fact it was a gesture toward the airship itself, curiously enough) and with that the one-man aircraft floated away, directly toward the nearest floating city: Alpha London.

    Alpha London was never in any one position, seeing as it was a floating city; it was constantly on the move. One day it would be in the position where it had first launched: directly over Old London. Other days it would be far to the North, getting as far as Glasgow before heading west. Of course, any of the cities on the ground had been assimilated into the giant mechanical mass that was very much one city. There were official borders between one city and another, but the buildings and the people stayed the same.

    Even countries had become little more than distant memories, when everything appeared the same and the government was nonexistent, there was little need for countries. The official borders and boundaries were still on all the maps and globes, but they were simple formalities to tie the past and the present together.

    Anything on the ground lost its individuality, even the people. The only things that were recognized as separate entities were the floating cities, which weren’t always cities necessarily, sometimes they were a single building that took to the skies, sometimes they were amusement parks; but they were all known and envied by the people on the ground. Of course, they still belonged to the Invention Production Committee. While there was no formal government, everything; from the floating cities, to the underwater communities, even the expanse of machinations that covered the Earth’s surface, had been invented and provided by the IPC. They were the informal rulers of the Earth. Not in the light, but if something was amiss, they were the ones who would handle it. One way or another.

    Chadwyck docked his dirigible at a completely unremarkable building; several of the windows had been smashed or boarded up, graffiti covered the brick walls, and there didn’t appear to be another living soul in the building. That’s what Chadwyck liked most about it; it was silent and gave him his solitude. He walked up to the heavy iron double-doors, unlocked the padlock and slid them apart. It opened up into a cage elevator. He produced a small, bronze key and inserted it into the elevator panel, unlocking the button for the basement. He pressed it and promptly removed his hat and duster, placing them into a small locker as he stepped out of the elevator; but he kept his goggles over his eyes.

    He opened another door at the end of a small hallway, and he was immediately in a fog; steam ran through various tubes and fastenings at all hours of the day. He flipped a small switch and a fan in the ceiling began to whir, sucking the excess steam from the room out and expelling it into the air. The young man wiped a few beads of sweat from his brow that had formed in the heat. He could already feel the difference in temperature as the excess steam was removed. “I’ll have to find whichever pipe is leaking.” He noted to himself as he looked around the vast room.

    It was littered with machines, some of which looked very near completion, others sat in disuse; untouched. There was a wall near the back of the room with a few completed tinkerings, but they were simply prototypes that hadn’t been perfected yet, but that didn’t stop Chadwyck from using them. There were ten different lab tables spread throughout the room, each with a different item on it, some with coils and others with viewing screens. The space between tables all along the ground was littered with heavy black hoses and various bronze pipes.

    The lab wasn’t a clean place, but it suited Chadwyck fine, he knew where everything was and he didn’t need to worry about people being displeased with the appearance; he never let anyone into his lab. He was breaking a law: he was attempting to invent without the approval of the IPC. Tinkerers such as himself were disappearing by the handful, but those others couldn’t defend themselves. They never referred to themselves as inventors, the reason being that the Inventor, head of the IPC, would never allow it. While he Invented, they tinkered. In his mind, they were little more than children playing with toys.

    Chadwyck walked over to a table near the back, it faced away from his experiments and toward a very plain looking wall. He sat in a large, leather chair that looked more comfortable than it actually was, removed his goggles and set them aside, then pressed a button on a thin, bronze lined screen. “Sorry, no luck.” He said before the picture had fully loaded, “He refused to talk. On a side note: he was actually able to talk. This necromancer is getting better; the girl dear Edward was with didn’t even notice until his dusty blood was smeared across her face.” He shrugged, “Where to next?” Finally the picture loaded, before becoming fuzzy and blurry with static, “Blast this thing.” Chadwyck muttered as he smacked the side of the device, fixing the picture.

    “Actually,” Said the small, bloated man in the derby hat and suit on the other end of the conversation, “You’re contract with us is coming to an end.” At the look of anger on Chadwyck’s face he quickly added, “Of course the money will be sent to you posthaste, you’ll still receive payment for your services. But something rather important has come up. You’re contract was purchased by the ICP.” Luckily Chadwyck was an expert at covering his true feelings at any given moment; otherwise the man would have seen his heart skip a beat.

    The ICP, either they know what I’m up to and they found me, or they really want my help with something… I don’t like this, regardless. Chadwyck decided subconsciously, while on the exterior he continued the conversation. “Yes, of course, are they waiting on another line?”

    “Yes, we’ll transfer you. It’s been a great pleasure working with you, and we’ll be sure to look into your detective service again in the future.” The man said with a flick of a switch.

    “Yes, yes. No trouble at all so long as the payment goes through,” Chadwyck muttered to himself as an impressive looking man in a navy blue uniform, golden buttons shined and polished, and well kept hair flashed onto the screen. He was wearing dark glasses and looked deadly serious. “I hear you have work for me?” Chadwyck questioned, an unimpressed look on his face.

    “The ICP has purchased your contract, Chadwyck Felling, so that we may utilize your renowned skills as a detective and mercenary to find a missing person.” The man said in an obviously rehearsed fashion.

    “I didn’t realize this was going to be a prerecorded message, can you just get on with it?” He checked his pocket watch, he realized that the ICP was an important entity that he should show respect to, but at the same time he was a very busy man and would like to get some work done before going to sleep that night.

    “The person in question is unknown as far as appearance, age, gender and location are concerned.” The man continued, ignoring Chadwyck, or at least trying to.

    “Wouldn’t want to make things to easy, of course. If you don’t know anything about this person, how do you know if their missing?” The young man queried, he didn’t like being lied to, and that’s what he felt was happening here.

    “We do, however, know said person’s capabilities. They are able to create, nourish, and grow plant life.” That got Chadwyck’s attention, a Chlorokinetic; they’d trapped him with something interesting. If for no other reason, he’d try to find this person simply to study their ability. After all, living in a dead world; someone with the ability to bring the plant life back and control it, that was something too unique to not want to see with one’s own eyes. “It is the Inventor’s wish that this individual be found quickly, which is why we’ve come to you. Though, you must be aware that to receive any payment they must be found alive. The results of their ability were last discovered in the ruins of Old Venice.”

    “Very well, I’ll begin my search immediately. Thank you for the information, despite how little of it there actually was.” The man on the other side of the screen nodded and switched off the monitor. Chadwyck stretched and leaned back in his chair. “Most interesting,” He muttered before grabbing his goggles and moving toward one of the various lab tables set about the room.

    ---------------------------------

    He awoke the next morning with his head plastered the cold metal of one of his tables, he had a screwdriver in one hand and several components sprawled out before him. He blinked away the sleep and sat up cracking his neck as he did so. “It would have been nice to fall asleep in a bed for once,” He noted as he plucked a small gear off of his forehead and rubbed the mark away. He checked his pocket watch, taking into consideration, as he did every morning, the beauty of the golden case, the clear watch face so that he could watch the cogs in motion. He enjoyed watching the machinations working, all the work that went into a single fluid tick of the clock. It reminded Chadwyck of a heartbeat.

    “Seven in the morning, as good a time as any to head out.” He stood and went into the small apartment that was attached to the laboratory and went about getting ready. He showered, shaved and dressed in an outfit nearly identical as the one he’d been wearing the previous day, except now his vest was golden tan with burgundy pinstripes.

    He walked toward the elevator, lifting his hat and coat out of the locker on his way, and stepped into the contraption as it lumbered upward, out of the building and into the morning light. He lowered his goggles against the light, and set off in his one-man dirigible. Not quite sure where he should begin his search.

    “Bloody ICP could have at least tried to dig up some more information on whoever this person is. Can’t be helped, I suppose.” He sighed, “What a waste of time,” As he floated down, directing the dirigible toward another floating city that was currently moving the other direction as Alpha London, toward the rest of Old Europe. Particularly the Italy area, he needed to see if there were any remotely useful bits of news to be found. Though, he wasn’t sure how helpful the rabble on the ground would be.

    In the meantime, while he waited for the city of Baron’s Bay (“Interesting,” He thought, “As the city is in the sky near no body of water at all.”) to draw nearer his final destination, he could try and dig up some rumours. They weren’t always the most reliable information, but sometimes they came through, and other times it was good for a laugh.

    The buildings that made up the floating city of Baron’s Bay were ancient looking, all stone work, covered with arches and varying degrees of gothic architecture. They literally applied the method to historical cities, gave it a new name, and let it take to the sky. Now, after who knows how long amongst the clouds, the buildings were beginning to fall apart. Not completely, but there were noticeable signs of damage.

    Chadwyck set down and docked his aircraft in a side alley, out of view of the public eye, and stepped casually out into the main streets.

    There was no one around, something inside of him told him to leave, but the curiosity of where everyone had gone proved too much for him. He continued walking, looking for signs of recent activity, fresh footprints, anything at all that would lead him to believe that there was someone he could ask questions to. Upon closer inspection of several connecting streets and alleyways; he realized that the city appeared to truly be deserted.

    He saw a flashing neon sign, a pub of some sort that appeared to still be in business and open. He stepped in through the doors, removing his goggles and placing them around the brim of his hat again. The pub looked as if it had been abandoned for years, but it also looked that it had been abandoned in a hurry. Leaving a sickening mess in its wake.

    There were pitchers and pints of stale, stagnant beer littering the bar; the aroma was enough to make someone gag repeatedly until they were to actually vomit. Luckily, Chadwyck’s constitution was strong enough to withstand the sickening scent. There was rotten meals that had been placed out on the table covered with maggots, Chadwyck had to avert his eyes; there was only so much he could take, really. “What makes an entire five square mile city disappear? And why in the hell is it still flying?” He questioned as he looked at the deserted pub before him. Overturned chairs and tables littered about the floor. Satisfied that he wasn’t going to find anything here, he turned and left the establishment.

    Curiosity was wearing thin now, and it was getting dangerously close to becoming a waste of time. Time was something that Chadwyck didn’t have a lot of, or rather, something that he preferred to use on something productive. Since wandering aimlessly around an abandoned city did little to help him reach his overall goal, he decided it was time to leave.

    He carefully retraced his steps, positive that he had remembered correctly; he put great faith in his memory. Finally he saw familiar buildings that he had taken a mental picture of when he’d first arrived. He turned abruptly down a side alley and stared ahead of him, absolutely seething at the lack of a dirigible. “Someone has stolen my craft. How impressive considering there is no one bloody here,” He clenched his fists as he heard the beep an intercom system begin to work.

    “Actually, you’ll find that this place is just teeming with life.” An enthusiastic, slightly flamboyant voice said through the loudspeakers on every corner. “We simply didn’t want you to find us, so you couldn’t. After all, it wouldn’t have done us much good if we didn’t want you to find us but you could do it anyway.”

    “I demand my property returned to me at once you two-bit thief.” Chadwyck growled.

    “Ah-ah-ah. I wouldn’t be getting that attitude. You see, we did take something of yours, and if you want it back you’re going to have to play a little game. Here’s how it works. You have from now until Sundown to find me. If you succeed, then you get your thing back and you can go about your business. If you fail, however, it doesn’t really matter what the consequences are because you’ll most likely be dead.” The voice said matter-of-factly. “You see, this isn’t a simple game of hide and seek. No, this is something much more interesting.” Chadwyck looked around and saw a small lens that had been fashioned into a camera of sorts, that’s how this man could see him. “My friends are spread all over the place, and they’re coming out of hiding to find you. And if they do, well, they’ll try to kill you. Doesn’t that sound exciting?”

    Chadwyck closed his eyes and sighed deeply, “I really don’t have time for this, you slack jawed sideshow reject.” Chadwyck drew his revolver and shot the camera without even looking in its direction.

    “Oh my, temper, temper.” The voice said, it sounded slightly amused, “The game begins now, and do try and be an entertaining player.” The voice sang into the loudspeaker before it cut out.

    “I knew that this whole ICP contract was going to be an absolute pain in my ass.” Chadwyck said, irritability taking over his sense of propriety. He fired several shots of his revolver toward various cameras, all the ones he could see, at least. “Let’s get this over with; I want my dirigible returned to me.” He muttered as he stepped out into the street once more, only this time he could tell he wasn’t alone.
     
  2. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    Interesting introduction for Chadwyck. I like the world that you've created here - exotic yet familiar. I don't like steampunk as much as cyberpunk, but it's still a fun idea. I like how Chadwyck isn't too much like you, but who knows it that changes ;D

    Can't wait to see the Chlorokinetic since I totally have no idea who they are >>
    <<
     
    #2 Sem, Sep 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  3. Chlorokinetics are people who can control plants with their minds, or something like that. Chloro, as in chloroplasts.

    Ahem, yay! Steampunk and zombies? This is looking pretty interesting.
     
  4. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    ... I know what a Chlorokinetic /does/. I meant I can't wait to see who this Chlorokinetic is xP It was sarcasm too, since I do actually know who he/she is. Well, sorta.

    Also so this isn't spam. I like that your style's familiar but you're kind of forced to go new places with it since this isn't a Poke-fic.
     
    #4 Sem, Sep 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  5. Chapter 2: In Which a Game is Played and Insults Are Made

    “Now, if I were a pathetic, miserable, disgusting, horrid excuse for a human being wallowing in my own filth and insanity, where would I be hiding?” Chadwyck asked himself as he wandered down a side street, attempting to avoid the people he could hear moving about on the main roads. They were looking for him, and he wasn’t looking forward to meeting them.

    “I can hear you, you know?” The man over the loudspeaker said sullenly, but still in a sing-song voice. The way that he spoke caused great anger within Chadwyck.

    “Precisely the point, you degenerate. Or did you expect me to be all peaches and sunshine after you stole my property?” The young man shot another camera as he marched past it. He wasn’t too concerned with the noise attracting the masses of whatever was looking for him. The more he listened, the less human the movement sounded.

    “Peaches and sunshine? That would be lovely, it’d make it far more interesting watching you die if you were happy right until the moment it happened.” The man said brightly, Chadwyck could practically see the smile on his face; and he didn’t even know what his face looked like.

    “Sorry to disappoint you, slobbering buffoon, but I’m not peaches and sunshine at my best. Far from it, in fact, so you can go ahead and imagined me at my worst. I’ll give you a hint; it looks a little bit like me bludgeoning you to death with my cane.” Chadwyck paused for a moment, holding the object up to a camera that he hadn’t destroyed yet, “Now that would make me happy.”

    The man on the loudspeaker made several noises, ranging somewhere between laughter, excitement and a few tisk-tisk-tisks. Chadwyck responded by shooting the camera he’d been looking at. Finally taking a moment to reload his revolver afterward.

    “Oh! Bad move, son, bad move!” The man said delightedly as Chadwyck fumbled with the bullets and the gun. He looked up and felt a presence behind him, now he was almost positive that whatever it was couldn’t be further from human.

    He turned just as the last bullet was loaded into his gun and held it out in front of him ready to fire. Nothing was there to greet him; nothing was attacking him at all. Still, it certainly sounded like there had been something there. He was almost sure of it. And Chadwyck hated to be proven wrong.

    He holstered his gun, placing it back within his coat, and continued walking in long determined strides; his cane making a light tap as it hit the stone of the pavement. He wasn’t sure where he was heading, deciding to just walk from one end of the floating city to the other; all the while keeping an eye out for possible buildings that this psychotic game master would be liable to hide in. So far none of them stuck out.

    “You didn’t even get upset with me for making you think you were about to be attacked.” The voice pouted.

    “That’s because I’m well aware there was actually something there.” The response was quick and cold, “Just because it didn’t follow through with its attack doesn’t make it any less real.”

    “You’re a smarty-pants, you know that?”

    “Actually, I was quite unaware of the intelligence level of my trousers.” Chadwyck retorted, it was a bit out of character for him to make a joke directed to an enemy, but he decided that it was the best move toward frustrating this man into making a mistake.

    “No, I meant that you’re an arrogant arse.” The man sulked.

    “I’m not as moronic as someone I could mention, I knew what you meant.”

    “You’re being rude and I don’t appreciate it. Next time you feel my friends sneaking up behind you it’ll be too late.”

    “I appreciate the warning.” Chadwyck turned sharply onto an adjoining side street, the buildings were beginning to blend together; none of them stood out from one another. Simple stone buildings in varying degrees of dilapidation.

    He was looking for something that would indicate a short range transmission. With the cameras and the loudspeakers that were set up all around the city, there had to be a lot of equipment controlling them; especially if his captor was controlling everything from a single location. So far he had no luck in locating anything that appeared to be controlling different technologies, and he was considering a different approach when he noticed something most disturbing.

    “How did I end up on a main road? I’m certain I was walking in a straight line.”

    “I wouldn’t be worried about that, there’s something far more pressing happening.”

    Before the man even spoke, Chadwyck knew that something was coming. He turned and looked down the road and he saw a wave of… things coming at him. They looked like snakes, but they had human features. And they were huge. They were either disgusting mistakes of nature, or horribly failed experiments. Of course, Chadwyck knew which was more likely. “You sick bastard.” He muttered. While he didn’t think much of the majority of humanity, he still knew that they were human beings and should be treated as such. This man had no regard for them whatsoever.

    “Ah don’t be like that; you should be much more concerned with your continued well being.”

    Several of the snake-men tried to coil themselves around Chadwyck’s feet. He jumped back, drawing his gun and firing off all six rounds; of course, six dead snake-men didn’t amount to much when the entire street seemed to be slithering. He shed his duster and tossed it aside, taking hold of his cane and, with a twist, he drew a sword that had been concealed within the cane. He flourished the blade just as another two creatures leapt through the air at him. With expert movements he left their heads severed on the ground, their bodies still in dying fits.

    “Swordplay,” Chadwyck began slashing quickly at another snake-man, “Is a skill that every gentleman needs.” He smirked at the camera he spied out of the corner of his eye.

    He flipped over an incoming attack and jabbed the end of his sword into the eye socket of an unsuspecting enemy, quickly pulling the blade free and slashing it in a wide arc, slicing another three of the revolting constructs. “I’m sorry, now be free.” He said as he killed another pair of the things. He thought that he was doing quite well for himself, at least until his feet were snagged and a snake-man began to tighten around his legs.

    He lay on the ground, struggling to get free as twelve or thirteen last snake-men closed in for the kill. His sword had clattered away from him and he was left with little choice as far as what to do next. He didn’t look panicked as one would expect from someone knocking on death’s door. Instead, he rolled his eyes like he disliked what he was about to do. Then, just as his slithering opponents prepared for the kill, there was a burst of searing, white-hot flames that erupted from Chadwyck. The snake-men were immediately incinerated and became little more than piles of ashes that fluttered away in the wind of the moving city. Chadwyck stood up and dusted himself off, picked up his duster, and looked at the camera while reloading his revolver. He then bent over and picked up his sword, returning it to the cane once more.

    “What was that?” The man asked over the loudspeaker, there wasn’t a hint of glee or any other irritating emotion in his voice, only awe.

    “That was an, as of yet, unexplained phenomena that I like to avoid using in its raw form. Since I didn’t have access to my experiments, however, I made do with what I had.” Chadwyck straightened his hat and slipped his arms through his coat.

    Suddenly, the man had all of his enthusiasm back and then some, “I was right!” He giggled; it made Chadwyck cringe a little bit, “You are a fun one. Those were some of my older experiments. There used to be quite a few people on this floating spit of land, you know, lots of people to test theories on.” The man sounded almost pleased with himself.

    “You’re sick, and I can’t wait to kill you.” Chadwyck stated matter-of-factly. He started walking off down the road, dusting himself off again; he felt dirty having touched the snake-men.

    “Good luck, sir. There are plenty more surprises in my little game, and you’re almost a fourth of the way through your time.” The man sang after him. Chadwyck responded by turning on the spot and blasting away the camera he had previously left alone with an explosion of fire and then promptly walking away.

    -----------------------------------------

    It shouldn’t be this difficult, really. The city isn’t that large, it’s no where near the size of Alpha London, it looks like it belongs in Midwest America where it can have a population of three hundred and still be considered a city.” Chadwyck complained to himself as he continued drudging down the street. He could still hear noises, so he knew that the snake-men weren’t the last of his troubles, but more pressing was the fact that he’d walked from one end of the city and back another route and hadn’t seen anything suspicious at all. He couldn’t go about checking every building, and the day was half over.

    Luckily, he was yet to encounter any of the other surprises, as the voice on the loudspeaker had called them, so he was just waiting for that bit of excitement to come his way. And he knew that it would. Something was off about this floating city, and he knew rather than suspected that he wouldn’t be able to find this deranged maniac before running into more trouble.

    He walked a ways down a road he’d never been down before, he was positive of it. It was easy to feel like he wasn’t going anywhere when everything looked so much the same. He reached the end of another street and noticed something unnerving; a camera that he had previously destroyed. That didn’t brighten his mood any.

    “Hey! Waste of flesh!” Chadwyck called out, certain that the man would be listening, “I don’t like being lied to and you entered into our wager under false pretenses.”

    “How so?” Chadwyck smirked inwardly, glad that the man had heard his insult.

    “You told me I had to find you and I had until the sun went down to do so, correct? You then proceeded to tell me the rules of this sick little game of yours, but never once did you mention that the buildings in the city moved.” Chadwyck placed both hands on his cane and awaited a reply.

    “Who said I needed to tell you that? I don’t have to follow your rules, you follow mine. You didn’t need to know that they could move. The game is meant to be challenging. Why would I tell you all of my assets?”

    “What a juvenile response. At any rate, doesn’t matter, since you just confirmed my suspicions.” Chadwyck sighed, “So, the reason I can’t find you is because you keep on moving the building you’re in somehow. However you managed that is quite the engineering feat, especially since I didn’t notice. It’s a shame that you’re so damnably annoying, or I may have some respect for you.” He walked over to one of the buildings, carefully took his hat and coat off and set them aside with his cane and stared up at the four story building before him. “Now that I know it is a simple enough fix.”

    He closed his eyes briefly before thrusting his palms out before him; in an instant a ball of flames shot out of his outstretched hands and blasted away the foundation of the building. It was still standing, but now it had caught; which was strange because it was primarily made of stone, still the explosion had done its damage and Chadwyck focused on the next weak spot.

    “What are you doing?” The voice asked, slightly scared now.

    “Oh nothing, I’m just going to make this building collapse into the next one and start a chain of destruction that will ultimately make it useless for you to continue to move the buildings around since they’ll all be reduced to rubble.” He said cheerily, “Plus, if I’m lucky, I’ll just end up killing you.” He readied for another burst of fire.

    “Yeah right, go ahead and try. It’ll take way too long for you to knock down enough buildings to find me. Your time is halfway up. And you aren’t even close to finding me.” The man was confident, Chadwyck was betting on him being a little too confident.

    “Say what you will, but I could do this all day.” He held out a fist and it was engulfed with flames, he pulled back and prepared to launch his attack and then added, “I know you’re in there somewhere.” He mocked as he increased his power.

    “Well you’re wrong, smarty-pants. You think you know everything, but I’m on the other side of—“ Chadwyck interrupted him by causing another explosion, this time it was actually smaller than before; it caused a small roar, and Chadwyck heard it echo back through the loudspeaker nearly as loud as if he were right beside him, and if the man was close enough for it to echo so clearly through the speakers then he couldn’t be too far from where Chadwyck was now.

    “Oh, you’re much closer than I would have thought.” He smirked as he picked up his belongings quickly slipping everything back on and looking around at his surroundings. At the end of the street was a building that didn’t look much different than the others, but Chadwyck knew he hadn’t noticed it before; the door was painted white as opposed to the brown of the other buildings. If one wasn’t looking for it, it was incredibly subtle. “Damn you, you’re actually quite clever. I think that if you weren’t such an utter shamble of human filth with no regard for mankind we may have been colleagues.” Chadwyck didn’t mean it to sound too much like a compliment, emphasizing heavily on the insulting part of the sentence.

    “Aw, are you saying we could have been friends?” The man mocked being moved to tears, “You’re so sweet.”

    “No, sorry, I don’t have friends as a rule. Just makes things messy. And perhaps you missed the part where I called into question your humanity? I may need to use smaller words when associating with someone of lower intelligence, but I just forgot how disastrously imbecilic you were for a moment.” He started walking toward the building, taking time with his determined steps. Now he had time; he wasn’t in any hurry to exact his revenge. Rather letting the man’s impending doom settle upon him with satisfaction.

    “Not so fast,” The man tried to sound brave, but it wasn’t working out too well, “You’ve forgotten my experiments.”

    That much was true, Chadwyck had forgotten about the things out looking for him. He cursed himself for being foolish enough to let something slip his mind; he preferred knowing everything and keeping it that way.

    As if on cue, which was very possible, he heard sounds from all around him. And to make matters worse the building started to move. That was good at least; not that the building was moving, but that he saw how it was moving. Every street in the town appeared to be on a giant conveyor belt, and they moved in synchronization so that it didn’t appear that any one part was moving alone. If you didn’t look closely, you wouldn’t have noticed. Chadwyck was very put off that this tinkerer was an irritating jackass; he actually had an ingenious mind.

    Chadwyck’s appreciation of the mechanical city was cut short as the impending contact with more sideshow freaks was pressing down on him. He heard their quick footsteps and hungry growls, they echoed off of every building and down every alleyway; it was a terrifying feeling, being hunted by something unseen.

    He had a decision to make, either he had to go after the building now, or try and find it again after he dealt with whatever was coming after him. Both choices had setbacks, and that only served to make the young man all the more frustrated. If he decided to go after the building now, there was the possibility he’d be torn apart by tiger-men or some other nonsensical creature of fiction that this sickening genius had created. If he dealt with the matter of the creatures first, it could take a long time to find the one building with the white door.

    “Sod it,” He grunted as he started sprinting toward the building, “I’ve found you once; I’m not letting you get away.” He sprinted forward, and almost immediately he saw what he had heard approaching. He wasn’t far off when he’d sarcastically thought of tiger-men, but they were more like dog-men. If he had been in a brighter mood, Chadwyck would have called them dober-men. However, he wasn’t in a brighter mood, but his subconscious attempt at comedy caused him to smirk despite himself.

    They were fast, and they were numerous. There were easily thirty of them running right beside him and behind him. They bit at his heels and they tried to corral him. They’re appearance alone was enough to make Chadwyck sick, they had the faces of men; but their mouths were warped into muzzles filled with canine teeth. They had hands and feet, but ran on all four of their limbs in completely unnatural positions that didn’t cause any hindrance to their movement. They were covered in splotches of fur that varied in thickness and location. The worst of it was the sound that came from deep within their throats, it sounded like a dog growling, but there were human words hidden within them. Nothing that made sense, but it was terrifying.

    Out of the corner of his eye he could still see the building, but he knew that the beasts were going to overtake him any second now; he had to do something. He stopped running, turning on the spot to face the dober-men, they all slowed and stared up at him. They collectively paced, waiting for the alpha to strike from what little Chadwyck knew about dogs. Which wasn’t much considering in his mind they were little more than foul smelling bags of disease and parasites.

    “You were men once, until that psychopath did this to you. Yet you still follow him. It baffles me; if I were you I would want to tear his throat out.”

    “You can’t reason with them, they are mindless animals. Slaves to me, as dogs should be.” The voice said, the brightness and spontaneity that had been in his speech was covered by darkness. Obviously he was slightly afraid that Chadwyck had been so close to finding him.

    Chadwyck didn’t dare turn around to see where the building was, expecting the attack to come when his back was turned. “That is so sad, I truly feel sorry for you. Which isn’t common, so you should feel honored.”

    “Oh, I do.” The voice replied.

    “I wasn’t talking to you, you ingrate. I was talking to them.” He nodded his head toward the dober-men.

    One of them, presumably the alpha-dog-man, stepped forward; growling as he did so. But he wasn’t attacking, and then Chadwyck realized that it was trying to speak to him. He listened more intently and heard the words hidden beneath the pain, “Please,” It gargled within its throat, “Kill us. Kill me. Kill. Kill. Kill.” It pleaded in a sickening voice as it slowly turned into nothing more than another growl. He leapt forward, going for Chadwyck’s throat. As he came within inches Chadwyck rolled back, kicking the alpha-dog-man over him as he rolled back up onto his feet.

    “Very well,” He said as he turned and fired three rounds at the massive thing that was the dober-man. All three pierced into his hide, fresh blood seeped from the wounds, but he continued to move. “You’re resilient,” The young man noted as he released the sword from his cane.

    He turned just in time to catch one of the dog-men leaping at him, and he sidestepped, dragging his blade along its side and dispatching it before it hit the ground. He twisted and fired one more shot; not wanting to waste ammunition, as the bullet passed through two dober-men heads before losing its momentum in the hind leg of a third one.

    He rolled to the side, stabbing quickly at a few dog-men trying to close in on him. It didn’t look good; they were beginning to close in. He spotted the alpha-dog-man coming to the front of the pack; he would be the one to make the kill. Chadwyck placed his revolver back into its holster and placed his sword lovingly on the ground.

    “Come on then,” He said with hands encased in flames, “Let’s settle this.” The alpha-dog-man barred its teeth and jumped at Chadwyck’s throat, Chadwyck acted instantly. He threw an uppercut that connected with the creature’s lower jaw, instantly the beast was incinerated. However, that didn’t stop the other dogs from attacking again.

    “I don’t have time for this,” Chadwyck growled as the dogs began to circle him. He thrust his palms out to either side, sending two waves of fire toward the dogs and killing several of them. There were still ten of them standing, and Chadwyck was getting tired of beating around the bush. He closed his fists and they began to glow orange, like fire, but then they changed; they were now a pale blue. Sparks leapt off of his fingers and he unleashed a bolt of electricity; the energy jumped between the dog-men. He knew that wasn’t enough so he did it again. That time, the dober-men fell, their bodies twitching from the electricity.

    “What was that?” The man asked, dumbfounded yet again.

    “Another unexplained phenomena,” Chadwyck said simply. “Any more surprises?” Chadwyck asked bitterly, “Because I’ve had just about enough of you. I’m not playing your little game anymore.” Chadwyck picked up his sword and placed it into the cane, “Now get your ass back here.” He was angry, and that was something that was very rare for Chadwyck.

    He walked in the direction the building had been moving, but then thought the better of it and focused his energy around him. Small sparks jumped around the air about him, and he began to lift off the ground. “Electromagnetism,” He stated before the question could be asked.

    “Why didn’t you do that from the start?” The voice asked.

    “It’s tiring, but you’ve pissed me off too much for me to care.” From the air he spotted the building easily, the white door standing out in the sea of brick of stone.

    “Congratulations, you found me!” The voice called as he hovered down to the door, “You can have your dirigible back!” He was terrified; Chadwyck could hear it in his voice though he tried to mask it.

    “Oh, fantastic,” Chadwyck muttered as he blew the door off of the hinges and stepped into a dimly lit room.

    There were wires running all around the floor, leading to monitors that lined the walls. Chadwyck could see every corner, street, alleyway, and building focused on one of the screens; except for several that either displayed static or cracked lenses, the ones Chadwyck had shot. Along the ceiling were brass pipes, the pipes fed into control panels that were spread around the room as well; it looked like a giant computer terminal with hundreds of screens. The pipes were filled with steam that was used to move the machinery, particularly the machinery responsible for moving the town. And sitting in the corner, huddled in fear, was a small man. He had red hair and a matching beard. He wore a soiled white shirt that now appeared brown from dirt and equally messy trousers. He was shaking, and there was no joy in his face; but Chadwyck knew it was the voice from before.

    “Now that I see what a despicable life you must lead,” Chadwyck began, walking over to the man and holding him by the collar of his shirt, “I almost feel sorry for you. Almost.” He slammed his head into one of the monitors, shattering it. “However, I can’t overlook what you did to me; and I can never forget the abominations that were once people that you used like tools.” He smashed the man’s head into another monitor.

    “Please, I’m sorry. You’re dirigible is hidden on the roof. You can have it back. Please don’t kill me.” The man cried, he whimpered as Chadwyck looked up the stairs that led to the roof. Something caught the young man’s eye, something green.

    He dropped the festering flesh sack that was once a man and walked over to the wall, vines were embedded into the brick, like they had grown through solid stone. “Where did this come from?”

    “Someone from before,” The man replied shakily, “Someone who was even worse than you.”

    “What did they look like? Who was it?” Chadwyck walked back over to the man, who whimpered as he approached out of fear of more pain.

    “I don’t know!” He shouted hoping that Chadwyck wouldn’t hurt him, “They came and killed many of my experiments, they came on a ship like yours! Only… it was running on something else. I’m not sure what. But they went away again after they killed my creatures. They wouldn’t play my game.”

    “You have hundreds of cameras; you must have seen this person.” Chadwyck demanded.

    “No, no clear picture. Always a mess of those green ropes. Nothing else was ever in the shot.” The man started to feel more confident that Chadwyck wasn’t going to kill him after all, he relaxed a little.

    “They’re called vines, you moron.” This had turned out to be a wasted trip after all. Though, he had learned that the Chlorokinetic had a way of getting around; that made things a bit more difficult. They could remain on the move; he may never catch them unless he got ahead of them. “I really must be going,” He sighed and started to walk away.

    The man let out a sigh of relief as Chadwyck began to ascend the stairs, but then he immediately followed it by a sharp inhalation of breath as Chadwyck drew his revolver and shot the man in the chest, “Sorry, I almost forgot about you for a moment.” He said casually as he holstered his weapon again.

    He reached the roof and found the dirigible easily enough, though the furnace took a bit of fussing with before it would light. Finally Chadwyck resorted to using his pyrokinesis to start the fire, and before the sun had set he took to the sky once more; this time heading straight to Old Venice.
     
  6. The dog-men are most interesting to me. Was it done by both surgery and DNA manipulation, or something else? I want to know more. :D
     
  7. Don't read this if you haven't read the chapter yet! CHEATERS!

    The majority of it would have been through DNA manipulation, with the addition of some of the dark arts to make the subjects survive. Within this universe magic type stuff and science kind of goes hand in hand; which is why Chadwyck accepts his pyro/electrokinesis but still wants to find a scientific method of explaining why he's able to do so. Which is why he refers to them as "Unexplained phenomena."

    But that is going to be explained in further detail later on in the story. As for the dober-men and the snake-men; it was through DNA manipulation with magic that would most closely be comparable to transmutations from Full Metal Alchemist. Though that would be the finishing touches, the man was more of a scientist than a magician or tinkerer. He was just plain insane, but yeah. Scientific experiments and magic go hand in hand, and since I don't want to spoil anything later on in the story I'll leave it at that for now.

    Also, just to clarify in case anyone was wondering, I purposefully didn't explain this in the context of the story because the focus of the story is Chadwyck and he didn't care enough to question how the man did it. If the man hadn't upset him so greatly, he may have been inclined to ask before he killed him, but he was more interested in the Chlorokinetic and getting his property back.

    Anyway, I hope that answers your question without giving away anything that is to come later on in the story. And I'm glad that you are enjoying it thus far ^_^
     
  8. Wow. This is REALLY good! I finished reading this and I want to read more. When I first thought of people controlling plants I thought they'd be Florakinetics, like aquakinetics, geokinetics and pyrokinetics. But obviously I was wrong. Keep up the good work!
     
  9. Oh, this is quite the story~
    Quote from Crasher Wake: How can I say this...I wanted more!
     
  10. Oh yes. This is completely fantastic. It was certainly worth reading, I must say. *Grins.*
     
  11. IT LIIIIIIIVES! Okay, so I am finally posting a new chapter. Yay~ Lemme know what chu think gaiz :D

    Chapter 3: In Which There is a Reunion That Ends Badly

    A cold wind blew through the cobblestone streets, the light pitter-patter of rain hitting off of the old bricked buildings that were beginning to sink into the canals and sea. Only the buildings at the center of the city were still livable, and they wouldn’t be for much longer. Old Venice was no longer the glistening, marvel of a city that it once was. Years of being left as a ghost town had left it in disrepair and disarray; no one seemed to care for the city built on the water nowadays. “After all,” The IPC had said when asked about the subject, “Why settle for living on the water when you can settle beneath it?” It was all a part of their campaign to sell housing in the underwater communities.

    The city on the water, Old Venice, it was pointless to anyone with money or power. The ones who inhabited it now were the poor, the common, the outcast, and those too stubborn to transition to a new way of life. Chadwyck called them ‘rabble’ in the interest of saving time.

    However, on this particular night, there was someone of great interest wandering the roads and alleyways near the waterfront. He was massively built, eight feet tall, possibly even taller; and rounded. He wasn’t fat or obese, but round in shape; with muscles toned to near perfection on his arms and legs. He wore a tuxedo; brand new and practically glistening. Black as the night that he walked in with a bright blue, paper flower tucked neatly into the pocket. He wore a top hat, it was slender and taller than an average top hat; adding another foot to his already towering height. He grinned a plastic grin, it was stuck to his face and it never seemed to waver; the grin of a madman. And it was true, he was mad; he had no sanity to speak of. His face was lined with a freshly trimmed gray beard that connected to his sideburns and mustache; the colour matched that of his hair.

    He walked briskly, each step making a scraping sound against the wet cobblestones. He eyed the dilapidated buildings with his blue, bloodshot eyes; what he was looking for couldn’t be said. Suddenly something caught his eye: it was a real, living, growing blue flower. He walked over to the cracked wall it was growing out of and began laughing hysterically as he plucked it from its roots and replaced the paper flower with it. “This,” He said in a gleeful voice that seemed to simultaneously ooze malice and ill-intent, “I must show this to mother.” He started stalking off toward the center of Old Venice with a heavy legged step; his shadow snaking out before him from the light of the moon. The howling wind masked beneath the laughter of the mad giant.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Chadwyck wasn’t taking any chances this time. Not after the ordeal he had to deal with at Baron’s Bay. He felt slightly like washing his mouth after repeating the name, the sick engineer that ran the city and his experiments were forever burned into Chadwyck’s retinas and memory. That was an unpleasant thought.

    This time he was ready; he would land the dirigible out of town and would walk the rest of the way to Old Venice, after covering the airship with anything he could find to make it less noticeable and taking care to pocket several of his prototypes. Just in case they would be needed. He straightened his coat, flattening out any wrinkles, and adjusted his cap. “Blasted storm last night nearly blew me off course. Luckily I managed to get above it,” He mumbled to himself.

    His ensemble was slightly different today. Of course, the only noticeable difference was that he was wearing a new vest. This one was burgundy with gray pinstripes. The rest of his dress remained the same; he didn’t care about standing out to the rabble, he preferred them to know he was superior to them in most every way. Including his manner of dress.

    His cane, however, he decided to leave with the airship. He didn’t foresee having a use for it when most of the common rubes would back off if he drew his revolver, those that didn’t wouldn’t last long enough to cause him any harm either. He had to be careful how much ammunition he used, however, as he only brought so much with him. In a worst-case-scenario he would have to make more; which would require locating the components to do so. It wouldn’t be difficult, just an irritating waste of time and energy. He grabbed the cane; finding a use for it after all. Swords did not need to be reloaded, after all.

    He set off toward the city, deciding that he skip the predictable failure that would be checking for information on the waterfront. Anything worth his time would be found in the center of town; unfortunately that meant immersing himself in the hub of filthy land dwelling outcasts. “Sometimes there’s just no way around it,” He sighed, “I really must remember to try and smile; these people like that sort of thing.” He noted aloud before he reached the beginning of the cobblestone. It was a subtle change from one expanse of society to another, but the more ancient looking buildings told him he had entered Old Venice. It was hardly touched by the machinery that covered most of the Earth’s surface, the IPC decided to let the city die in peace.

    Before long he reached a main square, there were wooden stands that substituted for shops and various other would-be businesses. As Chadwyck passed one stand in particular a woman dressed as an old gypsy fortuneteller approached him, “Tell your future for fifty pence.” The woman offered with a smile.

    Chadwyck actually had to muffle a laugh, “No.” He said simply as he continued walking.

    “But, sir! I see something dark in your future! Something that can be avoided if you are prepared to deny yourself to save another!” She shouted after him.

    He turned around and tossed her a penny; he never much cared for pennies, “There, now kindly shut up. Your prediction isn’t even worth half of that.” If there was one thing he hated more than people trying to con him out of his money, it was someone who did it in front of an audience.

    Chadwyck didn’t like the vibe that he got from the city. The people, if they could actually be called people as filthy and disease ridden as they were sure to be, were all too pleasant. They acted as if they hadn’t a care in the world, and that was simply not true. They had to have cares and worries; they didn’t even know where their next meal would be coming from most of the time. Yet, strangely, they were happy, contented people. Chadwyck shuddered at the kindness that he felt exuding from the people around him, and decided to stop at a stand-shop and get some idea of what’s going on.

    “You there, I require your assistance,” He spoke directly, staring past the man instead of at him. The man was filthy, as most people on the ground were, in threadbare clothes and gloves that had been worn through at several places. He was selling…

    “Junk, sir?” The man asked, thinking that Chadwyck was referring to his wares, “Finest junk in Old Venice, all recovered from the ruins on the waterfront by yours truly.” He pointed at himself with his thumb, completely satisfied by his work.

    Chadwyck actually didn’t mind junk shops, at least not proper ones. He found a lot of components for tinkering amongst the broken machinery and gutted pieces of clockwork. This, however, wasn’t a proper junk shop. “I fail to see why I would be in need of a slab of stone that fell from one of the godforsaken buildings near the water front.” Chadwyck sighed at the man, “No, I am looking for someone.” He spoke slowly, as if speaking to a child; he figured he wasn’t far off. The man didn’t seem to appreciate it, not that Chadwyck even noticed. “Has there been any plant life growing in the city, lately? Anything strange at all?”

    The man looked a little afraid for a second, then he smiled, “I don’t know nothing about that there, sir. I’m just a simple merchant of fine wares.”

    “Well, I agree you are simple. I disagree about your wares being anywhere near fine. But I digress; obviously I’ll have to search elsewhere.” Chadwyck turned on his heels and nearly ran straight into the man who had seemingly appeared directly behind him.

    The man in question was about two inches taller than Chadwyck, bringing him to about six-foot-three or so. He was dressed in a black suit, black tie, white shirt, black formal shoes and a black bowler hat. He gave off the appearance of a London banker in the days before the IPC. In his right hand he carried a suitcase, very plain and a little beat up, and on his left index finger he was twirling a key-ring. His hair was a vibrant green, and he was grinning widely.

    “Oh God, not you.” Chadwyck muttered upon taking a closer look at the man.

    “Hello, ducky. How is our dear Chadwyck Felling? Better than everyone else as usual?” The man asked with a smile. “You must excuse my friend,” He said to the junk man, who apparently just worked out that Chadwyck had insulted him, “He doesn’t realize what a complete ass he is, sometimes.”

    “Must we resort to insults, Liam? We are adults here, after all.”

    “This coming from the man whose defense mechanism is what again? Hurling insults?”

    “Listen here, you cretin—“

    “Good to see you’re just as predictable as ever. Walk with me, we have things to discuss.” Liam started to walk away, not even looking back at Chadwyck; he knew he would follow.

    Chadwyck stood not wanting to follow the man, but if Liam was here, there was a reason. “I’m not going. Whatever he has to say is pointless.” He tapped his foot, rolled his eyes and muttered a quick, “damn,” before following behind the young man in the suit. Before long they were alone on a side street, and they could talk in peace.

    “Well, I assume that you’ve noticed something wrong in this city too. So I can skip the bit where I explain my suspicions. What do you think?” Liam asked as he pushed his hat back on his head, making his face fully visible.

    “These people are too happy; it’s disturbing to see so many smiles at once.” Chadwyck said with a frown.

    “Any amount of happiness is too much for you, but sadly I have to agree. There’s just something that isn’t right here. They all seem too content for the situation in which they’re living; people on the ground are seldom this happy.” Liam nodded, “But there’s something else I just can’t quite put my finger on.”

    “I am quite capable of working this information out for myself. What else did you wish to say?”

    “Yes, yes, about now you’re thinking I’m useless. Telling you things you already know. But I’m not after your Chlorokinetic, so you don’t have to worry. I’m after something else at the moment. So, now you can rest easy, working with you was enough for me to know not to work against you. I’d hate to see how you treat your enemies.”

    “What happened to our partnership wasn’t my fault. And it’s all well over now, we’re both better off, happy days. Now, what do you propose to do about what is happening in Old Venice?” Chadwyck straightened his hat, “Or did you seek me out to solve all your problems for you? As per usual?” He added the last question on quickly, and sarcastically. To his great unhappiness, Liam simply smiled in response. Chadwyck hated it when Liam wasn’t upset by his insults; yet he was still to discover a means to hurt the man’s ego.

    “Not at all, you see, I know what I’m looking for. I just thought that since our goals are similar, we could help each other. Just this once.” Liam dusted off his coat and reached into his inside pocket. He produced a small blue flower; it was just beginning to bloom. “I found a small number of these near the waterfront. Look like something that might interest you?” He smirked.

    “Plant life, the Chlorokinetic was here.” Chadwyck took the small flower and examined it, fascinated. Then he stopped, suddenly realizing something. “You said you weren’t after the Chlorokinetic, why did you go looking for plants?” He asked suspiciously.

    “Relax, don’t shoot lightning at me like last time you overreacted to something I said. My target’s description included an affinity for blue, paper flowers. I found this near the group of those.” He reached into his coat again, pulling out a shoddily made origami flower.

    “What is that supposed to be?” Chadwyck asked raising an eyebrow.

    “You never were an artistic type, ducky. It’s a flower made of blue paper; apparently its owner found the real thing and traded up.”

    “And you propose that your target found the Chlorokinetic?”

    “Well, it’s a possibility, of course. Your botanistic friend is the only one that we know of with this ability. Plant life doesn’t grow in this world without help any longer.” He tucked the paper flower back into his coat, “I’ve been tracking this guy for days, but somehow I haven’t been able to even catch a glimpse of him. It’s like he drops off the face of the Earth.”

    “You’d know all about that. And how do you know you’re looking for a man?”

    “Rumours that I’ve heard through the grapevine. No one seems to know where he can be found, however. It’s incredibly frustrating.”

    “You take things at face value far too easily. Honestly, you could be looking for a woman and never know it because you were too busy chasing a rumour from some slack-jawed peon. You never dig deep enough, which is why you’ll never understand how that case of yours works.” Chadwyck pointed at the briefcase, as if it had been the topic of conversation all along.

    “I do know how it works.”

    “Don’t say it.”

    “Magic. There, explained.” Liam smiled a triumphant smile. Not because he had won an argument, but because he had succeeded in annoying Chadwyck to no end.

    “That is not an explanation, that is a fabrication of your feeble mind trying to compute what it is you carry around with you. Even magic can be explained scientifically given enough insight.”

    “Like your ability to produce fire and electricity from your body? That sounds pretty magical to me.”

    “I’m still working on that. Scientifically.” Chadwyck sighed, “My point is that you have no real clues to go on. Now we have to start from scratch to find your mysterious, flower-loving, paper folding target. If these people aren’t too petrified of their own shadows to answer some questions.” He turned and started walking back toward the town.

    “You have to be nice, ducky, that’s why they won’t talk to you. You’re incapable of being polite!” Liam called after him before lowering his hat down close to his eyes and following after the tinkerer.

    Chadwyck disliked the idea of going around to each stand with the green haired man tagging along, pointing out all of his flaws in the way he dealt with the rabble. No, he wouldn’t agree to Liam searching alongside him. Instead they took opposite sides of the square; and Chadwyck was determined to prove that he could deal with these people. “If they can even be called people,” He muttered as he approached a meat stand. The stench of the rotting carcasses nearly caused him to gag.

    “See anything you like, sir? We’ve got a fresh selection just in today. What would you like?” The man smiled a salesman’s smile. That was why Chadwyck hated the surface of the planet: dealing with the filth too disgusting to make it on the flying cities.

    “A flyswatter, preferably.” Chadwyck said sarcastically, watching countless flies crawling about on the fleshy slabs. “I don’t see this as being fresh when there are practically already maggots squirming within them. I may be sick from your shop’s general lack of hygiene, let alone the state of your products.” He made a disgusted face, not on purpose, but just looking at the stand littered with disgusting, rotting meat made him sick to his stomach.

    “Excuse me?” The man asked, he didn’t even look angry, he asked it more like he just didn’t understand the sentence. “I’m terribly sorry if my products have offended you, sir.”

    Chadwyck raised an eyebrow, this wasn’t normal. The man wasn’t upset in any way, which in some ways was beneficial to the situation. Chadwyck had gotten a bit carried away with his general disgust for people and forgot, briefly, that he needed to dig up information on this flower-loving enigma that was Liam’s target.

    This was much more interesting, however, the people in this town really seemed to be ignorant to insults. They were happy all the time. Now he knew that there was something wrong. Liam didn’t seem to notice it at all, as he kept happily chatting away to one of the female shop owners. He noticed Chadwyck motioning for him and he came walking over, after a few extra moments of squabble.

    “Yes, ducky? What’s wrong?” He asked, he looked a bit upset that he had been called away from his conversation.

    “Sorry to interrupt your shopping, but there may be something you might be interested in.”

    “Which would be?”

    Chadwyck looked at a man who happened to be walking past them and shouted without warning, “Watch your step you flat-footed waste of flesh.”

    Liam looked appalled and was about to apologise to the man when Chadwyck stopped him, “What are you doing? We need these people to... Why isn’t he upset?” Liam had just noticed the man continued to smile as he walked by.

    “Now may be a good time to get away from the centre of the city.” Chadwyck muttered as he noticed that everyone had turned their heads to look at the pair, they all smiled plastic smiles.

    “What in the world is going on?”

    Everyone in the square turned their heads in one fluid motion, looking toward the waterfront. “Mother. Is. Calling.” They all said in unison. They began to walk away as mindless as machines.

    “All right, that was definitely not normal.” Liam muttered.

    “Really? I failed to notice.” Chadwyck rolled his eyes, “We need to see where they’re going.”

    “Fine, but let’s follow them my way.” Liam smiled. Chadwyck turned and attempted to protest right before Liam grabbed his hand and the pair of them disappeared in an instant, and later the same second reappeared above the mass of mindless rabble on one of the ruined buildings.

    “I hate it when you do that,” Chadwyck managed to mutter while trying not to vomit. Instantaneous spatial transfer, it was Liam’s only, for lack of a better word, magical ability. He couldn’t do the things that Chadwyck could do, but he could be anywhere at any time. It was helpful for avoiding unnecessary obstacles, but it did leave the brain frazzled and the stomach churning, at least for anyone other than the person possessing the ability.

    “I know you do, which is what makes it so much fun.” Liam chuckled as they watched the people file down the narrow roads toward the waterfront, the water an unappealing shade of green.

    As they neared the edge, they saw a woman; she was elderly, covered from head to toe in a white dressing gown, with long, white hair. She was wrinkly and decrepit, but she had an aura of power about her, her smile as the drones approached her was unnerving to say the least. “My children,” She began in a voice that sounded as old as she looked. It was like a grandmother lovingly telling a story to her grandchildren, but something about it was completely wrong. “Providence has smiled down upon us, look what your big brother has found!” She shouted as she pointed to a bed of blue flowers.

    “Those are the flowers you were talking about? That looks like more than a small group of them.” Chadwyck muttered.

    “No, that’s not the cluster I found. There’re more of them here.”

    “At this moment, your big brother is looking for the source of this gift! But there are outsiders here who would take our blessing for themselves!” The woman shouted, rallying the crowd.

    “I really don’t like where this is going,” Liam said sullenly as he saw the crowd’s reaction to her words. Suddenly the sound of heavy footfalls rang in their ears directly behind them.

    Chadwyck was the first to turn around, and he saw the round, muscular, nine-foot-tall giant before Liam did, “Well, then I suppose you won’t be too pleased with this.” He said sarcastically. Liam turned around and his jaw hung open stupidly.

    Chadwyck feared no one; it was a simple matter of knowing that he was more intelligent than and all around superior to most everyone else. Once those two criteria had been met, there was little to be afraid of. Yet, as he stared at the towering colossus before him, he couldn’t help but think of his imminent death. Luckily for him, however, pride wouldn’t allow him to sit there and allow this lumbering behemoth rip him apart. He grabbed Liam by the arm and jumped from the building, as they sped toward their fate on the ground they were suddenly standing safely at the end of the street.

    “What the hell are you thinking?” Liam asked him as he got his bearings.

    “Keeping us alive, we need to move. It looks like the rest of the family is coming to finish the job.” Chadwyck managed not to get sick, though he felt dizzy as they ran; so much so that Liam had to direct him as they headed toward the square.

    “Stop the outsiders! Don’t let them escape!” The old woman shouted as they ran, behind them Chadwyck and Liam could hear the grinding of gears and the hissing of steam, but they didn’t dare turn to look. They just kept on moving, trying to find the best place to make a stand.

    As they ran across the square, somehow looking more ominous than before, Chadwyck muttered a muffled curse as he saw men circling in front of them. “These freaks are quick on their feet,” He said to Liam as they turned sharply toward another street. There were people there too, slowly backing the pair toward the centre of the square. There was a huge fountain with a marble woman holding a vase of some sort in the centre. Chadwyck hadn’t noticed it before because he simply didn’t care, now that he saw it he noted that it was beautifully made; thus unworthy to be on the ground among filthy land-dwelling rabble. “The town’s gone completely mad.” He mumbled as they were being surrounded.

    “I’m a bit winded, but I may be able to get enough energy for one last teleport. Can’t guarantee they won’t catch up, but care to try?”

    Chadwyck considered for a moment. “No, I don’t think so. I still need information on the Chlorokinetic. And what about your large friend with the flower?”

    Liam thought for a moment, “Money isn’t everything.” He shrugged.

    “Coward.” Chadwyck shot back, a slight, uncharacteristic smirk on his face momentarily before it faded back to a cold scowl.

    “I don’t fancy slaughtering an entire city,” Liam sighed, “I guess it can’t be helped.” He was about to unlock the case when they heard an ear shattering hissing noise that rang through their skulls. It was hard to move, it was like being paralyzed just by the noise.

    When the duo looked up, they saw that the people of the town weren’t people at all. At least, not any longer. The hissing they had heard was mechanical joints and steam, now they could see gears and machinery where bones and organs should be. Their jaws had unhinged themselves, exhaust steam escaping from their open maws. The really disturbing thing to see was that there were still human organs inside that hadn’t been replaced by machinery.

    “I suppose you don’t feel too bad about being forced to kill them, any longer?” Chadwyck asked as his ears began to ring.

    “What the hell are they?” Liam asked, recovering from the hissing noise as well.

    “These are my children.” The old woman spoke loudly, the hybrids didn’t move, they all revered the woman with respect. She was in the hand of the nine-foot-man. “And they are oh so hungry.”
     
  12. OH MY GODS IT LIVES! Finally, amirite?

    Here comes the next chapter, straight to your viewing receptors for your entertainment!

    Chapter 4: In Which Things Quickly Go From Bad To Worse


    Chadwyck and Liam stared ahead at the advancing horde of mechanical abominations. Their human organs steaming with the heat of the technology inside of them turning and sputtering. It was essentially cooking them, the scent was reminiscent of a barbeque; though this particular one made Chadwyck gag. “Another damn fool who uses science to create monstrosities.” He muttered to himself.

    The ‘children’ kept advancing, their mechanical parts making sickening creaks as they edged closer to the pair. They were surrounded, so attempting to run again wouldn’t get them far. They were backed up to the fountain, and the combinations of flesh and components were all around them; steam hissing in their joints with every lurch.

    “Mother loves you dearies, so I have decided that you can eat the intruders. You have to keep up your strength, you know.” The old woman said in a sing-song voice over their heads, sitting up on the monstrous man’s shoulder now. His grin was the worst of all. If he decided that he wanted to take a bite of them then it was all over. Not that they were in any better position with the normal sized creatures, but at least they couldn’t crush them between finger and thumb.

    “Liam,” Chadwyck whispered as quietly as possible so that the old woman wouldn’t overhear. He kept his hand over his mouth in case she could read lips. “When I give the signal, use the rest of your power to get us up on that ledge over there,” he nodded toward a building inconspicuously, “we have a better chance if we can keep the high ground.”

    Liam looked up and then back toward Chadwyck, keeping his voice down as well. “Fine, but this is the last teleport I’ll be able to muster for a while. I hope you have a plan.”

    “Not at all. But if we don’t move we’re going to die much more quickly without being able to put up much of a fight. As such, you may want to get that blasted box of yours ready.” Chadwyck reached into his coat.

    “What’s the signal?”

    “You’ll know it when you see it.”

    “Trying to come up with an escape plan, are we?” The old woman chimed, “it won’t do you much good at all, my children will feast on your flesh.” She seemed to genuinely enjoy the idea, licking her own lips as she thought about it.

    Chadwyck didn’t speak again, instead he drew a small sphere from inside his coat; one of the prototypes he had decided to bring with him. Hardly perfected, and not properly field tested yet. What better time to do so when lives were at stake?

    He focused his pyrokinesis into a small vent on the sphere, creating a contained ball of fire within it. Once he finished pumping fire into the vent, it closed itself off. A light flashed violet indicating that the device had successfully contained the flames that were trying to expand. He hurled the device into the approaching crowd and yelled, “Cover your eyes!” Liam was dumbfounded for a second, but Chadwyck shielded his own eyes and Liam quickly did as he was told. Not a moment too soon.

    The sphere hit the ground and shattered, a thousand fragments of various components blowing to pieces within a rapidly expanding ball of white hot flames. Anything unlucky enough to be within a fifteen foot radius was incinerated; which was quite a few of the creatures, but given their vast numbers it wasn’t a great improvement. What happened next was what Chadwyck had been counting on.

    The components that mixed into the flames were mirrored, reflected the light from the explosion and magnifying it. Add that there were thousands of mirrored components and the effect was essentially a flashbang grenade of intense proportions. Liam knew how to take a cue and grabbed Chadwyck’s hand as soon as the flash erupted; instantaneously transporting them to the rooftop Chadwyck had indicated.

    Below them the scene quickly became chaotic as blinded monstrosities began to attack blindly, hoping to hurt their prey. “Interesting,” Chadwyck mused, “they seemed more human than animal earlier today, but now it appears that their minds are deteriorating. Perhaps the heat has gone to their head?”

    “Was that a joke? You made a joke about an entire city being slaughtered and turned into unholy abominations?” Liam shook his head, sticking one of his keys into the lock on his case.

    “I usually don’t attempt humor, but you must admit that it was clever,” Chadwyck raised an eyebrow.

    “Sure, clever. What was that thing you used down there?” Liam asked, changing the subject.

    “Ah, did you like it? I call it the Ifrit Model II, model I didn’t work out too well.” He shrugged, “at least this model did what it was supposed to do, for the most part. The light was supposed to do permanent damage to the retinas, but I see that some of our friends are regaining their composure. Still, fairly extraordinary for an untested prototype.”

    “Glad to see that our lives were resting on the success of this untested prototype.” Liam sighed and was suddenly holding a very large rifle that he rested on the lip of the building. It vented exhaust from the side, just past the trigger. The bullets would be propelled with compressed air rather than gunpowder, and they were vastly more accurate and fired with several times the force.

    Chadwyck looked at the magically summoned weapon and shook his head, “I still wish you’d let me experiment with that box.”

    “I don’t think so. Knowing you, you’d gut her so bad that my baby wouldn’t ever work again. How would I carry ten weapons at once without her?” Liam patted the gun on the side. “She stays with me.”

    “Fine, fine. “ Chadwyck waved a hand dismissively. “Start picking off the smaller ones first.”

    Liam paused momentarily; he had been aiming his sights toward the giant and the old woman. “Why wouldn’t I want to take out the ringleader and the biggest threat?”

    “She seems to care deeply for these… things. If we upset her, then she is more likely to make a mistake.”

    “A mistake worse than having a bullet through her head?”

    “With her gone there’s no guarantee that the others will stop their attack. And I have use of her, still.”

    Liam knew exactly what this was about. “You are still worried about questioning her? You’ve got to be kidding me. She’s trying to have those things eat us. I have a clear shot and you’re telling me not to take it so that you can ask her about some walking flower shop?” Liam wasn’t happy. Chadwyck could tell because Liam’s pulse had quickened and he was biting his lower lip. The first was a common sign; the latter was exclusive to Liam. He only did that when he was frustrated.

    Chadwyck sighed. The truth would have to suffice in this situation. “Yes, Liam, I need to ask her about the Chlorokinetic. I understand that your warrior’s instinct tells you to shoot the head and watch the rest of the body die, but just listen: if you shoot the body first you overload the head with pain, the head can’t think straight and it’s easier to spring a trap.”

    “Stop bullshitting me with your pretend war tactics. I won’t shoot her. But I’m not dying for information: if things go bad, I’m taking the shot.”

    “Fair enough, Liam, then at your leisure.” Chadwyck gestured over the lip of the roof and toward the crowd of dazed creatures. He turned and started to walk toward the other end of the roof, to an adjacent building.

    “Where are you going?” Liam hissed, trying to keep anyone from hearing him but Chadwyck.

    “I’m going to open fire from another location. We can’t very well sit in the same spot; they’d descend upon us like the plague.”

    Liam didn’t argue, it seemed like a good enough idea. Divide and Conquer was a decent tactic when faced with so many targets. Still, the fact that Chadwyck was so readily risking both of their lives so that he can ask some questions was foolhardy; Liam’s sight rested on the old woman another moment, itching to pull the trigger. He fired: a bullet passed through an abomination’s skull just to the left of the old woman. “He’s got five minutes to do something clever.” The green haired man growled, firing off another shot.

    ---------------------------------------

    Chadwyck saw the first creature fall, oil and blood mixing and pooling at its collapsed body. Still more fell; Liam never missed a shot, it was something that he prided himself on. It was one aspect that made him the perfect partner. His personality was one aspect that prevented him from being the perfect partner.

    The tinkerer waited another second, all the heads were turning toward Liam now; they were figuring out his location faster than Chadwyck had anticipated. Slowly they started lumbering toward the building that Liam rested upon.

    Chadwyck checked his pocket watch leisurely; examining the time it had taken them to locate Liam. “Not long at all. I wager that I’ll only have about six shots before they’ve figured out we’re on opposite sides of the square.” He thought for a second before he reached into his coat and produced his revolver. “I’m not the best at long range,” he mused as he steadied his hand, “make every bullet count. They take too long to make.” He reminded himself as he fired off three rounds in quick succession.

    Two targets fell; a third stumbled, the bloody-oil mixture leaking from its shoulder. Suddenly the hissing resumed, and the crowd turned around; toward Chadwyck. “I lost that wager.” He fired off three more rounds, quickly, just so that he could feel right about guessing six shots. Unfortunately it also emptied his revolver of bullets. “You’re move, Liam.”

    ------------------------

    The crowd’s attention was quickly moved to Chadwyck, despite the fact that the old woman was shouting commands to ignore the other man and keep moving toward Liam. Apparently they had limited logical reasoning. Perhaps Chadwyck would be able to explain why, but Liam was focused on other problems.

    He had a moment before the woman got the group organized. Then Chadwyck and Liam wouldn’t be able to cover each other as well. In the meantime, it was time to move on to another weapon. The rifle folded up; despite the fact that it was quite solid. Suddenly, and exceedingly perplexingly, Liam was holding his briefcase once again.

    The young man unlocked the case with another key from his key ring, and from within it he produced a gun that was somewhat similar in appearance to the rifle; only there was a long chain of ammunition being fed into its chamber. It fired the same way, with compressed air, but at a much higher rate, sacrificing some accuracy; luckily Liam was well trained with the machine gun.

    His location already betrayed he didn’t mind using such a high profile weapon; the enemy would be attacking him en masse soon regardless. Liam mowed down as many enemies as he could, in the midst of the chaos the old woman regained control of her troops and had instructed them to divide attention; half the group heading toward Chadwyck and the other half toward Liam.

    Several of them were climbing up the cracked walls of the Venetian building, moments away from reaching him. “This is working out fabulously, ducky.” Liam sighed, his weapon clicking as its ammunition supply reached its end. Within seconds he was holding the rifle again; his sights on the old woman. “Sixty seconds.”

    ----------------------------

    Liam was appropriately using a heavy machine gun; several enemies fell every two or three seconds. But there were still so many of them that they didn’t seem to be making a dent. “Fascinating,” Chadwyck commented as he noticed that they were unable to choose a priority target without the woman’s input. “They must have limited logical reasoning. She wasn’t able to recreate common sense when she was rebuilding them.”

    He checked his pocket watch once more, “Liam will be getting ready to kill the old woman about now. Best do something characteristically clever to prevent such an unfortunate event.” Once more he reached into his pocket and produced another of his beloved prototypes. He casually lobbed it down into the plaza; a second later there was an explosion and a bright flash. As soon as the flash subsided, Chadwyck was moving the same second.

    He leapt from his perch, slowing his fall with his electrokinesis, and landed ten feet from the blinded old woman and the huge man. With his opponents unable to see for the moment, Chadwyck had an easy time running through the crowd, producing his sword from within his cane, and he jumped at the mountainous man; attempting to stab him in the back and pierce his heart.

    The tinkerer was inches away from his target, when, surprisingly quickly, the man twisted and a heavy fist sent Chadwyck sprawling across the plaza. His sword clattered away from him, and the brick wall he had met with was a bit cracked and mangled. Chadwyck could taste blood in his mouth, and that blood ran down his face from the corners the aforementioned mouth and a gash in his forehead.

    “I think,” he grunted painfully through agonized breaths, “that I may have broken something.”

    He was half aware of a large shape taking heavy steps toward his aching frame. The edges of his vision blurred, and he knew he was seconds from unconsciousness; which would lead to his death. Effectively, if his eyes closed, they would never be opened again. He heard a gunshot, presumably Liam trying to cover him. The old woman seemed to be alive, and the giant never broke stride. Perhaps he is being overrun and he’s fighting for dear life. I hope that isn’t the case, I don’t need any guilt at this moment in time.

    “You tried to hurt my son, and now you’ve gone and gotten yourself broken. Any last words boy?” The unmistakable cackle of the old woman’s fading voice reached his ears. It appeared that the giant had set her down.

    Finally, Chadwyck thought with an inward rolling of his eyes. He raised his arm, several cracks and a sharp pain resonating from within it as he did so, and aimed it at the giant man. “You’ve. Got something. On your forehead.” He spluttered, and as if on cue a small disc extended into a spike, and small clamps pierced into the flesh of his forehead.

    “What is this, mother?” The giant’s bass voice vibrated through the air. “It hurts!”

    “Thor Model R.” The tinkerer smiled, glad that the lightning rod had extended according to plan. He made a mental point to test his prototypes more rigorously before approving them for field use. Then he summoned all of his remaining strength and shouted, as loud as he could, from the pain of the exertion. A large bolt of lightning arced from his extended arm; the Thor Model R drawing it in like a black hole.

    The electricity flowed through the rod, along the rivets just under the man’s skin; from there it proceeded to fry his circuits, so to speak.

    “Wow, it actually worked.” Chadwyck laughed, which sounded more like wheezing and heaving painfully, as the giant crumpled to the ground. He heard a woman shouting, and more gunshots, then darkness swallowed him; the warm embrace of unconsciousness greeting him.

    -----------------------------------

    “Shit. Shit, shit, shit.” Liam was repeating himself with increased speed each time he had to dodge another blow from one of the lumbering zombie-like creations. When he saw Chadwyck race into the square, he took the initiative to switch from his rifle to a close range weapon; a semi-automatic shotgun that would fire eight rounds before needing to be reloaded. Unfortunately, it lacked as much force as gunpowder models as the air pushing the pellets out had to be diverted to allow for the ammunition to spread. Still, from up to ten feet away, it would tear flesh from bone, if you knew what you were doing. And luckily, from a certain perspective, most of Liam’s targets were quickly closing that gap.

    Chadwyck was flung across the square by a heavy punch; Liam didn’t have time to dwell on it. He needed to clear a path and go help his comrade; however brief their partnership was to be, he’d hate to see it end with a death. He was already running down the stairs of the dilapidated building when the giant was struck by lightning and fell down dead. It couldn’t have happened at a more opportune moment.

    Liam turned the corner and was met by a force of several dozen creatures. He turned around without breaking stride, still more of them. He’d managed to get himself into a corner. He fired his last two shells, and then glared forward, watching for the killing blow that was to come. The next sound was the crack of lightning, afterward a crash from the giant falling. The creatures stopped, standing stock still for several seconds. They all turned and cried as one, “big brother!” They rushed out of the building and into the square.

    Liam’s reprieve was only temporary, however, when he realized that Chadwyck wasn’t moving; he was about to be at the center of a horde of the creatures. He didn’t hesitate as he rushed forward, trying to reach Chadwyck before he was ripped to shreds. The creatures came to a halt, surrounding, not Chadwyck, but the old woman as she cried into the giant’s chest.

    “My son! You’ve killed him! You’ve taken my only son away from me!” She shrieked into the heavens and she glared at the creatures surrounding them. “Stay away from him, just stay away.” Her eyes met Liam’s as tears streaked down her face.

    “You’ve taken the only thing I ever loved.” She smiled sadistically, as she produced a small device from her coat. “Now we will all perish,” she looked at the giant again, sadly pressing the button on the remote, “I’m coming, son, I won’t let you be alone.”

    In that instant, the hissing of joints and parts became nearly unbearable as Liam was in the thick of the crowd. He yelled out in pain, his ears bleeding as he kept on running toward Chadwyck. “Dammit, ducky! Hold on!” He was completely exhausted and he knew that there was no chance of escape. Not if he took Chadwyck with him. But, that didn’t matter, despite the arrogant young man’s demeanor, Liam still considered him a friend. Even if their partnership had ended badly in the past.

    He slid forward, the legs of his slacks tears on the stone ground, and grabbed Chadwyck’s arm. He summoned every ounce of his strength and forced it into a single thought; a single effort.

    “You will burn with us!” The woman screamed as the abominations began to explode; a wall of flames engulfed the square instantly. Buildings were blown completely apart. Stones flew into the air and rained down as far as three miles away just from a sheer force of the explosion. When the smoke cleared, there was nothing left but the smell of burnt flesh and a crater where the square once stood.
     
  13. Nice story. I hope it is updated more regularly - you've said
    twice now. :p
    Also it seems both of the main characters are jerks. Awesome, but jerks. You seem to like your character flaws ;D
    The world you have created it certainly interesting, though. No flora? Is there any fauna other than the people (and abominations), I wonder.
     
  14. I would like to update the story more regularly, as I have many plans for this story, and for possible sequels. As far as of it is actually going to get update more regularly, I doubt it. Many apologies on that front, but I am currently working on multiple projects, some of which are other fics, some of which are RPs and lastly would be a webcomic (on a side note, look forward to that because I need all the readers I can get :D)

    However, I will not give up on this story, and I will continue working on it, I just can't promise regular updates.
     
  15. That's fair enough. I know I wouldn't be bothered to keep up such a thing, then again, if I was writing one (a story such as this) I'd likely do it all at once.
    On a related note, I'd like to see a webcomic from you! =D
     
  16. Chapter 5: In Which There is a Daring Escape


    When one is unconscious, in the cool dark of a seemingly endless dream, the sudden rush of consciousness could come as quite a shock. Add into this the pain of wounds you don’t remember, and broken rib for example, and the exponential growth of said pain when you move quickly, as you do when you are startled. This is the sensation that Chadwyck Felling encountered when he awoke from his pain induced sleep. He swore loudly before falling back into the makeshift bedding beneath him.

    “Oh good, you’re awake.” Liam’s voice sounded from a few feet away, seemingly also on the ground. “I take it you haven’t seen the situation we’re in yet?”

    Chadwyck’s head was spinning, he felt like he was being pressed by a rather large rock, but he was almost positive that it was simply the result of being hurled across a square by a giant’s fist. How many bones had he broken? It felt like all of them. Then, Liam’s words actually reached his receptive center. “What situation?”

    “I’m not exactly sure. But, I can promise you that after you passed out, the crazy woman lost her senses and blew the entire square sky high. Sorry about that, but you won’t be able to question her unless you can put all the pieces back together again and reanimate them. Before you start considering it; it was sarcasm. I managed to avoid the both of us being incinerated because I used every ounce of strength I had on one last teleport. Meaning I’ve been unconscious for every bit as long as you have. Which begs the question…”

    “Who brought us here, nurse our wounds, and put us on the bedrolls?” Chadwyck finished the thought. “We can take solace in the fact that whoever did it doesn’t seem to be malicious; unless they’re nursing us back to health for some sort of sick game where they hunt people and they want us to present the best challenge possible. Though, the chances of that are minimal at best.”

    “You have quite the active imagination, ducky.” Liam groaned, his muscles ached constantly from the effort of the previous day. If it had only been a day. He wasn’t even sure how long they’d been unconscious, or even where they teleported to escape the explosion.

    “Yes, quite colorful, I’d say.”

    Chadwyck and Liam tried to get a good look at the source of the new voice, but he was standing just out of their line of sight.

    “Please, don’t worry. You are in no danger here. My people found you lying in the middle of the road while we were touched down to pick up another shipment of steel. I assume that the dirigible we found belongs to one of you?” The man asked. His voice was deep, so whoever was speaking was more than likely large.

    “Yes, it’s mine.” Chadwyck said, a bit more territorially than absolutely necessary. Though, he didn’t really know the meaning of the word “subtle.” Well, he did. But he didn’t really put it into practice.

    The man caught onto his distrust and chuckled. “Relax, friend, nothing is going to happen to your property. Aside from perhaps some repairs, it was in ghastly shape.” The man clicked his heels and then turned toward the door. “Please, rest, you are safe here.” And then he was gone.

    “Liam.”

    “Yes. I know. But I don’t see another choice. I’m in constant pain from overexertion and you’ve got yourself several broken ribs. I say that we allow you some time to heal and then figure it out from there.” Liam sighed, then he groaned from the pain of doing so. “I know you don’t like it and you’d probably rather kill everything aboard this ship, but there you go.”

    “Actually,” Chadwyck began, Liam could almost sense the smirk on his face, “I was going to say thank you. Though, I suppose I agree with you on the topic of allowing myself some time to heal; even if I would prefer to leave as soon as possible.”

    “Don’t worry too much about it; they’ve got you hooked up to one of the Auto-Med Dispensaries. The solution being introduced into your body should mend your wounds in a few days.” Liam took a second while he waited for Chadwyck to register it all.

    “AMDs… So this is an IPC factory.”

    “How do you know this is a factory?”

    “He mentioned that they had landed to pick up a shipment of steel. They must be producing something for the Inventor. Especially if they have AMDs, these are strictly IPC.”

    “Be careful, Ducky. You may be under IPC contract, but that doesn’t save you from treason. Inventing unsanctioned is punishable by death.”

    “I’m aware of that, Liam. As soon as I’m well, we’re leaving.” Chadwyck felt warm, the embrace of fatigue closing in on him. The solution from the AMD was making him drowsy as well. “Now, I’ll be going back to sleep.”

    ------------------------------------------

    Several days passed with the duo slipping in and out of consciousness. Neither could recall much of the days gone by aside from snippets; nurses checking in on them, conversations held just within earshot about their possible identities, nothing that presented much of a threat. Finally, on the fourth day, Chadwyck and Liam both felt well enough to stand without pain shooting through their bodies.

    “How do you feel?” Liam asked, having been less injured than Chadwyck, he was now well rested and near peak condition.

    “I’m fine. I don’t think I’ll be jumping for joy, and I may be a bit rubbish in a fight; but for the most part I’m ready to get out of here.”

    “That makes two of us.” Liam grabbed his briefcase and the key ring. Luckily it didn’t seem like anything worth inspecting. Then something terrible occurred to him. “Chadwyck,” he began as the young man took several vials of the AMD solution for some on-the-go treatment once he was airborne again. “Where are your prototypes? Did you keep any of them in your dirigible?”

    The thought hadn’t occurred to Chadwyck at all. He hated that. Liam’s usual lack of urgency had affected him; he always prided himself on being several steps ahead of anyone and everyone else. This was the second time in a week that he’d been blindsided.

    “Damn it all to hell,” was the only response that Liam was going to get. It was at this moment that several people entered the room. And they were, not all too surprisingly, armed.

    “While we were repairing your dirigible, we found a few prohibited objects. Would you care to explain, Mister Felling?” It was the same voice from before. And Chadwyck was right; he was a rather large man. Though he hadn’t picked up on one thing. “Military?” Chadwyck asked, somewhat lamely, “the IPC doesn’t have a formal military.”

    “According to whom?” The man smiled. The warmth that had been in his voice before was almost entirely gone now. Chadwyck and Liam had presented themselves as enemies. And it was true that no one had officially stated that the IPC had a formal military; it was always assumed that they had secret operatives, but not an actual army.

    “So, a secret military masquerading as factory workers? For what purpose?”

    “We aren’t masquerading as anything, we actually are factory workers. We make all our own weapons with funding provided by the Inventor.” The man nodded and seemed satisfied with himself, deciding he had sufficiently explained the situation.

    Then Liam spoke up, “so, the reason we’ve never seen this military force before is because no one’s ever stood up to the IPC. You’re all just lying in wait for an uprising. If it ever happens, then you’ll mobilize instantly. It’s a decent enough plan, I suppose.”

    This whole time the pair had weapons trained on them. They’d been looking for a way out, but the one way into the room was filled with soldiers, behind them was a stone wall, and things were looking altogether bleak.

    “Now then, back to my initial question. Mister Felling, what exactly are these?” He produced an Ifrit Model II and one Thor Model R. Neither of which would be particularly dangerous unless Chadwyck could get his hands on them, which he couldn’t.

    Chadwyck responded quickly and efficiently with, “I am under contract with the IPC, tracking down a person of interest and those are my tools with which to find said person.”

    “Yes, I know all about your contract. I’ve known since you were brought aboard. That, however, does not excuse you from the law; these do not seem to be simple tools. They look, to me, like unsanctioned inventions.” He smiled broadly before adding, “but we can just let the Inventor decide what to do. I’m on my way to call him now, why don’t you join me?”

    It was not intended as a question, as soon as it was asked several men with guns surrounded Chadwyck and his green-haired friend and began leading them after the tall man.

    “So, to whom do we owe the pleasure of this kidnapping?” Liam asked, assessing the situation. If he could just get a momentary diversion, he could produce a weapon and clear a path for them to escape. It didn’t seem like it was going to happen anytime soon, so he would need to wait until they got to wherever they were going.

    “Captain Jaimes,” The man replied, glancing over his shoulder. “Mister Felling, I should let you know that your contract is being terminated. You see, we’ve already found this person of interest; she’s being held in captivity this very moment. You’ll get to see her shortly, when I present her to the Inventor and secure myself a promotion.” He chuckled to himself.

    “So why bother healing us if you were just going to take us captive?” Chadwyck asked, trying to give the man as little time as possible to feel pleased with his accomplishment.

    “Well, I didn’t realize that I was harboring fugitives until recently. And, it wouldn’t seem very sporting to take prisoners while they were half dead.”

    “That may just prove to be your undoing, Jaimes, who’s to say that we aren’t well enough to escape?” Chadwyck asked with a wry smile.

    “The machine guns aimed at your back would beg to differ, Mister Felling. If you so much as take one step out of line, you’ll be shot without second thought.”

    “Fair enough, Jaimes, but I thought I’d just give you fair warning; you can’t wait us all the time.” Again, Chadwyck smiled, but it was more like a challenge.

    “Whatever you say, Mister Felling. Your mind games aren’t going to work here, I’ve read your file.”

    “Oh, there’s only so much you can learn from reports, you have to observe your subject in person before you can really know what they are capable of.”

    “Shut him up, please. I don’t need any distractions before I speak to the Inventor.” As he spoke, one of the men following Chadwyck beat him with the butt of his gun. Chadwyck stumbled and fell, his injuries that were still in the process of healing causing the fall to hurt a bit more than intended. However, the act had paid off; the soldiers were now paying attention to him, trying to force him back to his feet. Chadwyck trusted Liam to act accordingly.

    Liam knew what Chadwyck was up to, even before Jaimes had ordered him to be silenced. Military types, they were always so predictable. The split second diversion of attention was all Liam needed, acting nearly in synchronization with Chadwyck’s overdramatic tumble. Instantly, he had produced two pistols and dispatched the machine gun toting guards before turning his attention to Jaimes, who was staring death in the face, dumbfounded.

    “Tisk, tisk, Jaimes. You’ve made this far too easy. All I had to do was push a few buttons, and you reacted exactly as I wanted you to.” Chadwyck stood and dusted himself off.

    “As you’ve probably gathered,” Liam continued in Chadwyck’s stead, “the only reason you’re still alive is because you have some valuable information. Where is the dirigible?” The man defiantly kept his mouth shut. “Come now, tell us, and I may not have to put a bullet in your brain.” Liam smirked, keeping his distance from the man. That was a common mistake with amateurs; putting the gun within easy distance of the target just meant it was easier for you to get caught by surprise and disarmed.

    While Liam had the man covered with his pistols, Chadwyck took to recovering his prototypes from the man’s pockets. “Tell me where the girl is.” Chadwyck added to their list of demands. Liam shot him a glance that made it obvious he was none-too-pleased with his priorities. “Where are you keeping her?”

    Jaimes, who had been standing with his arms above his head, shrugged. “How should I know, I’m far too intimidated to think straight.”

    “Don’t play games with me, Captain. You are foolish to believe that shooting you is the worst thing that can happen to you at this moment in time. To kill you would be a blessing compared to what I can do.”

    Jaimes grinned maniacally, “what happens when I call this little bluff of yours, Mister Felling?”

    The tinkerer smirked, and shot a glance toward Liam that let the man know what he was planning. Liam, in turn, tried to nonverbally warn Chadwyck that others were sure to be coming after hearing the gunshots. Chadwyck was too caught up in the moment, however, to notice.

    Placing a hand on the Captain’s shoulder, Chadwyck whispered, “you’ll see the truth soon enough.”

    Suddenly Jaimes began to shriek in pain as his body violently shook, electric currents were currently coursing throughout his body; the atmosphere around him sparked occasionally. It lasted for only a brief moment, and then it was all still again. “You sick bastard, what did you do to me?” Jaimes nearly sobbed as he fought back both the urge to vomit and muscle spasms.

    “I told you, Jaimes, to kill you would be a blessing. I could torture you like this for hours. I could burn your entire body just enough to where you exist in a constant state of misery and pain; I could send electrical currents through your body and paralyze you for the rest of your life. Would you care to live the rest of your life as a vegetable? Unable to exist without someone to care for you? Death would be too easy, but misery that lasts a lifetime, that is an art.”

    “Alright! I’ll tell you where she is, just leave me alone. She’s in holding cell B-twelve; an isolation chamber.”

    “And the dirigible?” Liam prompted.

    “Docking bay four; the repairs are finished and it’s ready to fly.”

    Chadwyck walked back over to Liam, keeping his back to Captain Jaimes and speaking almost inaudibly. “He knows too much, Liam. If he lives, we’ll become the IPC’s newest targets and we would never have a moment’s rest.”

    “The same can be said for the entire factory. At some point, someone will give a description of us and we’ll be hunted down like animals. We need to split up. You go get the Chlorokinetic, I’ll go deal with the factory’s flight systems so that the whole thing comes crashing down.”

    “Meet at the dirigible in no longer than thirty-minutes. We need to get out of here rather quickly.”

    “Exactly. I’ll see you there, don’t dawdle.”

    “Hey,” the Captain complained, “what are you whispering about? I told you what you wanted to know, now let me go.”

    “Sorry, can’t do that, Jaimes, old boy.” Liam sighed and dispatched the man with a shot between the eyes. “Don’t be late, ducky.”

    “Wouldn’t dream of it, Liam.”

    The two took off running separate directions. Just two against an entire military facility. The odds were highly stacked against them. Of course, that was nothing out of the ordinary.

    ----------------------------------

    The factory itself was actually quite impressive, Chadwyck thought, as he raced his way through corridors and assembly lines, all while trying to stay out of sight of the guards now placed on high alert and actively searching for the two escapees. The plant was enormous, being kept afloat by the latest of propulsion systems that were sure to have come straight from the Inventor himself. The assembly lines were almost, but not quite, fully automated, assembling various machines of war with little human effort; aside from finishing touches and the like.

    Chadwyck wondered how many men aboard the flying factory actually knew how to work the machines; they couldn’t all be engineers and militants, could they? “That’s not the issue here, stay focused,” he had to remind himself again. His inquiring mind just wanted to know these answers sooner rather than later.

    The signs directed him this way and that, winding through the never ending labyrinth of pipes hissing with steam and grinding machinery. Armed patrols swept areas and caused Chadwyck pause several times, eating away at his precious time. Liam would be bringing the factory down any minute, and he’d prefer to be as far away from the wreckage as humanly possible before he became a permanent part of the landscape.

    Finally, after what felt like ages, he had found the holding cells. There weren’t a lot, luckily, this place wasn’t meant to be a prison after all; there were three blocks, A, B, and C and each had about twelve cells. The Chlorokinetic was in cell B-twelve, an isolation cell, a solid steel door that let no light into the room beyond.

    Chadwyck knocked several times, “hello, listen, don’t be frightened, I’m going to get you out of there.” There was no need to let the woman beyond know that he was just going to hand her back over to the Inventor, but he was sure that they weren’t out to harm her; these brutish soldiers simply overreacted.

    “Freeze!” He heard someone shout as he searched for a means to open the cell door.

    “Speak of the devil.” He groaned to himself.

    “Put your hands up and step away from the cell.”

    There were two guards, not one of the patrols that the tinkerer had seen rummaging through the ship, then. Ideally, these were the two guards that were in charge of the prisoners; meaning that they would have a key on them. Perfect.

    Chadwyck did as he was told, raising his hands up into the air, his palms open and facing the two guards who were grinning stupidly at each other; no wonder they were guarding people who were already captured rather than doing the capturing.

    “We’ll get a promotion for this for sure, there’s no way we’ll be stuck in this dead end place anymore.”

    “Yeah, we’ve just stopped a prison break, and caught one of the guys who killed the Captain.”

    They continued talking about how amazing their efforts were and starting working out their story for when they reported to their superior while they continued to inch closer to the young man in front of them. The tinkerer, in turn, released two bolts of lightning that were drawn to their automatic rifles like lightning rods; the shock sent them back several feet and made them drop their guns. By the time they got their minds to stop reeling, Chadwyck was already upon them, knocking them out cold with a quick kick to their heads. No point in killing them when they were just going to crash along with the rest of the factory.

    Chadwyck took the keys off of the first guard and stepped over to the door, behind which he would find the person he’d been hired to find; hopefully he’d have time to understand the way her abilities worked before the IPC took her for their own experiments. “Okay, I’m going to open the door now, relax; I’m not going to harm you.”

    He turned the key, a resounding ker-chunk of a heavy lock being released, and then the door swung open freely. “Empty?” Chadwyck asked no one in particular. A hole had been torn straight through the stone wall of the cell; whoever this Chlorokinetic was, she was more skilled than Chadwyck had anticipated. She created plant life in a completely dead area made of solid stone. “How? How did she do it?” The young man was fascinated as much as he was irritated. She had been here not long ago, she could still be aboard the factory. Chadwyck checked his pocket watch as he contemplated searching for her. Then the factory shuddered, the sound of warning bells told Chadwyck that it was time to go.

    -----------------------------------

    Liam didn’t have time to play around with the soldiers searching for him. They were sloppy and in a panic after just two men “managed to escape custody and kill the captain.” If he wanted, the ex-assassin could take out a squad in a matter of seconds. However, he didn’t have the time to spare. They needed to take out this factory and be gone before they got themselves organized. It didn’t matter how skilled the two men were, there’s no fighting a factory full of soldiers on their own turf and making it out alive.

    Instead, Liam opted for stealth. He worked his way through the ship, slitting only the throats that he absolutely needed to, and walked right into the engine room; nearly deafening himself in the process. The engines were enormous, and there were about eight of them keeping the factory afloat. Liam needed to figure out how many to blow to ensure that the ship came down hard enough to wipe it out, but give them enough time to get off of the express way to hell.

    “Alright, if I blow five of the engines… that should bring her down, but the last three should keep it sputtering just enough to stay airborne long enough to get the hell out of here.” He set his briefcase down in front of him and picked a very special key. The case became a six-chamber gas propelled grenade launcher. “One of these per engine should do the trick.” He smiled.

    He teleported around the room, firing off a round into five engines and watching the fireworks with a satisfied grin and turned on his heel; it was time to get out of this death trap.

    --------------------------------------

    “Ducky! What took you so long? This place is going down like a lead dirigible…. Where’s the Chlorokinetic?”

    “She wasn’t in the cell. Nothing there but a hole torn through the stone, she used our escape to cover her own. Whoever this woman is, she’s smart and much more powerful than I thought she was.”

    “That’s nice, you can go over notes later, I can’t fly this thing without you, it runs on your fire.”

    The men jumped into the dirigible and flew off, watching contentedly as the factory went crashing down to the ground in a ball of flames.

    “Where are you going to look for this woman now?”

    “She couldn’t have made it far; I’m going to check the nearest town for some info. She’s going to need some supplies after escaping from IPC custody.” The tinkerer sat down and pulled out one of the vials of AMD solution. “I was in no shape for that escape; I may have re-broken a few bones.” He injected the solution into his blood stream and handed Liam a torch. “It isn’t as strong as my flames, but now that we’re airborne it’ll be good enough to keep us afloat. I’m feeling drowsy already.”

    “Alright, I guess I’ll take the first shift, but I’m waking your ass up if something happens, ducky. I’m not crashing because you need your beauty rest.”
     

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