Thursday, October 11, 2007

What Lies Beneath

SecSpec Thomas of Beta Team was doing his sweep of the upstairs area of the target's facility when the small burst of static got his attention. His men were all downstairs securing the perimeter, searching through all the apparently stolen scientific equipment and trying to access the target's computer system. Of particular interest was the dismantled suit of Fortress armor on one of the heavy workbenches below. That would be a valuable find for the Council.

There were sounds of heavy combat outside but they'd just stopped. It was likely the target was now neutralized; that would make securing this location easier. The Council's database had a huge amount of information on the cape outside. Fortress was here on some sort of unauthorized mission and now that he was probably finished, it was against his personality profile to linger.

That meant the CEO of Fortress 500 would not stay behind to make their acquisition of this place more difficult than it already had been. The Council had lost more than a dozen men in previous attempts, all of them meeting with brutal fates best not contemplated. There had been some conjecture that the bite marks and sheer physical trauma on what was left of their corpses indicated an assailant other than Target: Bloodravyn. Since the target had no known associates and since what few DNA traces lifted from the bodies indicated something "alien", precautions against whatever security system the target possessed had been hard to protocol.

Enter Fortress. The legendary cape from Paragon City had been a godsend, or would have been if SecSpec Thomas believed in God. Fortress and his squad were outside destroying the target and whatever else might be aiding him, leaving the Council's Penumbra agents free to seize this location and everything inside. Perfect.

"Williams," he tapped his helmet's communicator. "Did you find out what just penetrated the east wall?"

That was when he discovered the static had not been from an external source. The low crackling buzz was in his earpiece. Cursing inwardly at the strange interference in this place, Thomas pushed the Channel Seek on his bracer. There had to be a clear signal band in here, even if he had to drop transmission strength down to radio channels.

What came up a few seconds later was definitely not his team's comm line.

"Hey there all you interlopers and instigators! Up next, direct by request, we've got a little number guaranteed to make even the most mundane B & E more interesting. So sit back, kick up your feet and enjoy the exit music!"

Before he could try another channel -


- a 200 decibel sonic pulse shattered his ear drum and liquefied half his brain. The pressure cracked Thomas' skull, sending gouts of blood from every pore from his scalp to his throat. The pain would have been unbearable but he was dead long before he and the rest of his twitching team hit the ground.

At the same moment, the old radio on the nightstand a few feet from his body turned on, speaker blaring at a less lethal volume...

Drowning in my sea of loathing,
Broken, your servant, I kneel...

Would you give it to me?

Outside, Ravyn looked up with weary hatred at Fortress, staring at the cannon that spelled out his doom in glowing vents of energy on its sides. His remaining eye, slightly glowing, began to shudder. Within, the retina was literally tearing, changing into something less... circular...

It seems what's left of my human side
is slowly changing in me...

Would you give it to me?

A raw shock of pain traveled down both arms, stone blades and a mass of bloody crimson scales erupting from Ravyn's skin. He screamed, both in agony and in anger. Whatever was twisting his body, he could not let go of the emotion of the moment. He could not forget the sheer hate inside. In fact, that hate was burning every nerve, driving every change in his flesh!

Staring down in furious disbelief at his hand, Ravyn caught the image of himself in the pool of oily water at his knees. Back lit by moonlight, his silhouette was straight out of a nightmare. His nightmares. The terrible dreams he'd had night after night in the Zigguraut.

Looking at my own reflection,
when suddenly it changes,
violently it changes!

He rose on legs that were breaking and bending backwards, his feet warping to pierce his armored boots with long black talons of burning bone. Obsidian, bloodstone and thick scales were covering every inch of him now, even his face as it split and elongated, reforming into something...


Oh, no.
There is no turning back,
now that you've woken up the demon
IN ME!!!!!!!!!!!

The radio faded out.

What happened next had no need for theme music.

The screams were more than enough...


erisraven said...

Oh... Even having an inkling this was coming, it's still a shock. This should have some fascinating aftermath. Just imagining what Lethane will say alone is making MY head hurt...

August said...

Heh. Mine too.

Lethane said...

Hey! I resemble that remark!