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 Arkane, Up to Chapter Nineteen
DAG
Posted: Nov 28 2009, 06:35 PM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



Contains: Profanity, violence, and nonsensical science that will have an explanation that might not make any sense

Arkane: Angels of the Battlefield

NOTE: The 'current' at the beginning of the chapter indicates that the chapter takes place in the story's present day. It's there, because some chapters take place in none-chronological order. For example, the second chapter is set two years in the past.

CHAPTER ONE
Beings Beyond God's Design


current

THE massive spaceship activates its front engines, coming to a stop in orbit around the blue planet below.

Dark, only visible by the silhouette it makes against the stars, it is a ship that shouldn't be--except it's listed in the Interplanetary Travel Records as arriving at Planet Karos this day

As it orbits, it releases a small silver dot that glows red when it hits the planet's atmosphere--a landing ship, carrying three soldiers to fight a war that shouldn't exist.

As the landing ship approaches the surface of the world below, however, something else watches, waiting.

From the shadows, these something elses have cultivated and assisted, turning humanity from a weak species to a civilization spanning three of the five planets of their Star System.

From the shadows, wings of light and wings of fire and wings of darkness watch, judge...and, ultimately, reap.

They've watched, and they've judged...now, they must reap...

God bless the Suffering.

***

From his position in a tree, he watches the guard walk, back and forth--two metres to the left side of the gate, turn two metres to the right of the gate--and watches the others stand at their posts, in guard towers and bunkers along the fence.

He knows he's got little chance of fighting his way in, unless he Warps. And then, they'd know what he is. Well, not what, but they'd have a clue.

And a clue would be too much. To give a clue would be a mark of Incompleteness. Of the Unfinished, the Cast Off, the Useless--he would be just another martyr on the path to the Complete, a--

A twig snaps. He looks down. Wasn't him--he's too careful--but it must've been something.

His right hand reaches across to his left hip, settling on the grip of his Glaive MG9 sub-machine gun. He knows it's risky--the silencer won't completely remove the gun's sound--but risks must be--

''Halt!"

He freezes. Crouching up in the branches of the tree, he's sure that he's marked with the infrared dots of a dozen snipers, ready to--

"I've got I.D.," someone says. He looks down to see a boy, maybe twelve or thirteen years, slowly approaching the gate, reaching for his pocket.

"Let's see it, then," a guard growls. When the kid offers a plastic card, the guard snatches it from him, working hard to maintain his tough guy appearance. He looks it over, and grunts. "Doctor Solstate's son? Fine, go right in. You know the rules, right? Don't go anywhere that your card won't open, and don't tell anyone outside about what's in here."

The kid nods, then shuffles past the guards, through the gap that opens in the gate, and across the grass to the central building.

The watcher in the trees slowly draws his weapon, centring the iron sight on a guard, finger resting on the trigger. There, he sits for god-knows-how-long.

This is crazy. They'll see me, gun me down for sure. I'll have to find another way in.

Unfortunately, he's not listening to reason anymore. Throwing all caution to the wind, he begins to squeeze, the gun getting closer and closer to firing...

An alarm starts to scream, red lights pulse along the fence, and the watcher in the tree gasps and stays still.

He's ready for the hail of bullets. Instead he catches the guards' voices.

"What's going on?" "Why the alarm?" "Bet it was that damn kid! Honestly, why..." "...Four fucking minutes left? I'm almost out of here, and this shit..." "I'm gonna complain to..."

"Attack!" someone screams from past the gate. A woman in a white lab coat comes running up, both hands pressed against her abdomen as she tries to hold in the remains of her intestines.

"Attack! Attack! We're under attack!" she screams, her voice hoarse. As the watcher looks on, she stops suddenly, her eyes wide and her face pale. She collapses, and starts coughing blood. The guards watch on in shock until he breathing stops, and then they all run inside, one who appears to be in command shouting orders.

There's only one guard left at the gate; he's dead before he even knows what’s going on.

The watcher sneaks through the gate, gun ready to kill.

***

Dominic walks quickly through the hallways. He hates this place--too dark, too confined, too creepy. The whole secrecy thing--he still doesn't quite understand why.

He just wants to reach his father and give him the new house's key. But, apparently, that's not in God's will, because just as he's getting near the stairs, the alarms start.

"Damn it," he mumbles. He hates the drills, hates the shrill alarms, the pulsing lights, having to find his way to one of the armoured rooms...

"Fuck it," he says aloud, continuing on his way.

Something white comes speeding around a corner, slamming into the boy. Both he and the white thing fall, but the white thing's up in an instant, and running down the hallway screaming.

"What the..."

He trails off when he realizes there's something wet covering his shirt. He tries to wipe some off with his hand. Then he holds his fingers up to the dim light.

"Oh, god," he mutters, upon seeing the dark, sticky fluid covering his hand--and, therefore, his shirt.

He scrambles to his unsteady feet and runs for the nearest armoured room.

Unfortunately, he doesn't quite make it.

***

The watcher now runs through the halls, gun out and ready to fire. He's had to kill two guards already; he hopes that's it. He hopes the rest of the mission won't be violent.

Unfortunately, it will. He can sense it in the air, something that shouldn't be...

Something like himself. But not one of his siblings--he knows how they feel, not like this, not this cold, this frantic, this messed-up.

He knows something's coming. He ejects his MG9's half-empty magazine and slips in a full one, storing the ejected one in an empty slot on the gun's holster.

He cocks the gun, and continues onward.

***

A growl in the distance. Or, at least, Dominic thinks it's a growl. And he thinks it's in the distance.

He creeps along, bent low.

"Hey, you!"

A guard steps from a doorway up ahead, Glaive AR4 held with one hand on the trigger, the other gripping the barrel, the stock against the man's inner arm. The weapon is pointed at the floor, but ready to swing up and blow apart intruders.

"Hey!" the guard shouts again, "get in here, now! There's something in this place, and it's--grah-ulch!"

In an in instant, there's something dark poking out the front of the guard's chest, and the man's fingers loosen their grip on the AR4.

The protruding thing moves, and Dominic realizes what it is, his eyes going wide.

The large, misshapen claw is pulled back through the body, and the dead guard falls to the floor, blood flowing from the ruptured corpse.

Something big moves in the shadows, appendages that look almost--but not quite--like wings move, waving lazily.

"Don't speak a word...and I'll make it quicker..." whispers a lisping voice

The thing approaches, stepping from shadows. Horribly scarred, claw like feet slam into the blood-covered tile floor, the blood-soaked, dark, scaled claw came into view, followed by a mostly normal--if incredibly scarred and burnt--right hand. Then, the torso...

A dark crystal, set in gold, bounces off of flesh covered in patches of scales with each step.

The head came last: blue eyes blazing with an unnatural flame, long and tangled hair growing in patches from a burnt and scarred head, and a mouth that couldn't even close with the massive fangs bursting from the thing's jaw.

"Just be silent, child...or, maybe you could live...do you want to live?"

The man-thing's voice was a low growl, slow, each word carefully enunciated yet still slurred.

"Yes...yes, you want to...interesting. Well, I need a trap, and Arkane couldn't ignore a child at my mercy...yes, you'll do fine..."

The human right hand reaches for Dominic, who's frozen with fear.

And that's when a hail of bullets hits the wall.

"Ah, Arkane, you've decided to join us. I hope you realize what you're doing."

"Oh, of course..."

***

The watcher--now more of a hunter than a watcher--stalks through the halls. He knows just what he's getting into--but he also knows why he's doing it.

For the General. For the Revolution.

For himself? No...

A low voice to the left at an upcoming intersection--a raspy, lisping growl.

The hunter breaks into a run, gun held forward in one hand. He turns and aims quickly as he slides into the intersection of hallways, firing at the wall next to the large, dark, familiar shape, making sure he doesn't hit the boy.

"Ah, Arkane, you've decided to join us. I hope you realize what you're doing."

"Oh, of course I do, Staile. Now, let the kid go, and I'll let you live.

Staile merely laughs. "Arkane, you're a fucking little bitch. How old are you now, fourteen? You won't fight me. And definitely not in here; too tight for, your wings, isn't it?"

Arkane scowls, pointing the gun at Staile's head.

Once again, the beast laughs.

"What? I'm not trying to kill you...just distract!" Arkane grins and pulls the trigger, and a spray of .30 calibre rounds slams into Staile's face. "Run!" he shouts at the kid.

He doesn't need to shout twice; with barely a second of hesitation, the kid's off and running, getting away from the battle.

"Just you and me, Arkane, here and now," Staile growls, a grotesque grin full of misshapen teeth forming on his face, "and I won't let you live this time."

"The General knows about you. He'll hunt you down, kill all of you."

"Really? He'll have a hard time at that. The Four will descend soon, Arkane, and take the Light of Star Apostle. And anyway, there are still eight of us Unfinished left, plus sixty-some others. You and your siblings will fall, if we need you to. I'll ask you again, same thing as last time: will you join us? The General is evil, my friend, he wants you to lay your life down!" Staile's voice grows softer, quieter: "we're not too different, my friend. The only difference is you're not a twisted brute, and you can look human. Neither of us are human, though, no matter what you wish for."

Arkane flinches. "How..."

"It's what we all wish for. You lay awake at night, don't you? Lay awake, praying to be human, to no longer be the Construct you are...will you join us?"

"No," Arkane says, his head shaking slowly, "Doctor Marksis promised me--"

"Lies!" hisses Staile.

"--that he would do what he could, help me out. He wouldn't lie. He's not the General."

"Very well, Arkane. If that's your choice..." Staile looks down at the floor. Then his head rises to lock eyes with Arkane once again. "...then...fuck!"

With a hiss, Staile spins around and flees. Arkane whips around, bringing up his gun.

Something catches the side of his head, and he falls sideways into the wall, sliding to the floor.

"You can't run, target. Me and my love...we'll always find you."

Arkane looks up. Above him stands a man, dressed in black, with tied-back brown hair, and an old Glaive AR2 gripped in both hands, the barrel pointed loosely at Arkane's head.

"Maxwell..." Arkane whispers. Then he lashes out and grabs the AR2, wrenching it from the soldier of fortune's hands and whipping it down the hallway.

Maxwell screams and dashes for his weapon.

Without a pause, Arkane is running down hallways, trying to find his way out again.

"Follow me," a voice whispers from an open doorway. Arkane skids to a halt, and turns to see the boy from before standing in an alcove in the wall. Somewhere he'd found a small semiautomatic.

"Do you know the way out?" Arkane asks.

"Yeah."

"Do you have somewhere safe to go after here?"

"Yeah."

"Room for a visitor?"

"Uh..."

***

They had cleared the front doors and were making a dash for the gate, Arkane moving slower, at the boy's pace, when a burst of assault rifle fire tore through a second floor window, exploding bullets tearing apart the ground behind the two.

"Don't you ever hurt my love!" Maxwell screams down, reloading his rifle.

"Listen kid," Arkane hisses, "get behind cover, close your eyes, and don't open 'em till I tell you to."

"Why?"

Arkane sighs. "Just do it."

Arkane pushes the kid towards an armoured van parked on the edge of the path leading to the gate, then turns to face the gunman.

Infamous gun-for-hire Maxwell Marksis takes aim and fires.

But when the bullets reach Arkane, he's already Warped...

First, his eyes shift from deep blue to dull, dark grey, then his skin burns--the sign of it darkening and becoming impenetrable. After that, the centre of his forehead ripples and rips, dark blood leaking out from the torn flesh. After a fraction of a second, black crystal-like objects emerge from the torn flesh. From these crystals, black designs spiral across his brow and up his arms, causing his skin to itch. It's now that the bullets hit him, mushrooming and falling to the dirt.

A loud tearing sound, and Arkane falls to his knees. Dark blood seeps through the back of his shirt, before the fabric is shredded.

Humongous black things emerge from his shirt: wings, each one nearly three metres long and covered with jet-black feathers.

"This is it, Maxy, buddy," Arkane growls, standing up, "this is where you die."

He raises his weapon, aiming carefully, barely noticing the bullets hitting him. But he doesn't pull the trigger; instead he turns around to where the kid is hiding.

The kid's the priority, screw the General's orders.

He comes around the corner of the armoured van, and the kid looks up. His eyes widen, and he scrambles backwards.

"Calm down, it's me," Arkane hisses, "now, come with me, we need to get--"

He's interrupted by a bullet slamming into the side of his head, mushrooming against his unyielding skin. The kid gasps and begins to shiver.

"Screw it," Arkane mutters, and he darts forward, wraps his arms around the boy's torso, and pulls him up as if he weighs no more than a kitten. He keeps his body between the kid and the sniper, and runs for the gate.

He gets close, bends down low, gets ready to fly, wings flexing out, preparing to fly--when a bullet crashes into the back of his left shoulder, ploughing through his flesh and muscle and bone, and tearing a dark, bloody chunk out the front of the shoulder.

He stumbles, the struggling boy falls from his grip, and Arkane brings a hand up to his shoulder. It comes away soaked with blood.

He turns to look back at the building. There's Maxwell's gunfire, muzzle flashes coming from a second floor window, and someone else on the rooftop.

"Damn..." Arkane whispers, looking down at the painful wound that shouldn't be there. Then he helps the boy to his feet, keeping his body in position to block the gunfire.

"What..."

"No time!" Arkane barks, "run! Still have that gun?"

With a nod the boy holds up the small firearm.

"Okay. Is it ready to fire? Good. Keep it pointed low, but in both hands, a finger on the trigger. Just try not to shoot yourself. Once we reach the highway I'll get a car. You point the way to somewhere safe. And it better not be the police. Any questions?"

"Yeah," the boy gasps, "who--"

"Fuck!" Arkane yells as another odd bullet strikes his leg, crashing through his right shin. He falls to his knees, but jumps right back to his feet. His leg hurts like hell--but he can stand on it.

Unfortunately, while he's pulling himself to his feet, the kid yelps and stumbles to the side, left hand gripped tightly in his right, blood dripping to the ground.

"You shot? Hand?" Arkane asks. The boy nods, tears welling up in his eyes. "Damn it. Well pick up your gun, and start running. If we stay here any longer we're both done."

"I saw you get shot. The bullet just bounced--"

"Yeah, but there's someone else here. And they're able to get me. So run!"

Arkane pushes the boy forward, and both run for their lives.

***

The winged Arkane watches from the forest's edge as Dominic stands on the side of the highway, the tattered remains of Arkane's shirt wrapped around his injured hand, trying to attract a kind soul--"Look like you've just been shot," Arkane had helpfully suggested, grinning--whose car they would steal.''

Most people just drive on past. The ones that did slow down spotted the blood and sped up again, probably thinking of calling the police.

Which would never end well, what with the terrorist angel hiding in the trees.

Finally, a car pulls over. And this isn't a cheap car--this is a brand-new sports car, no doubt holding a needlessly-fast V12 engine inside. Tinted windows makes it impossible to see inside: Arkane insisted that he can take anyone, but Dominic is sceptical.

The car rolls to a stop in front of the boy, and the passenger-side window rolls down. The twenty-something driver and his similarly-aged companion look at Dominic.

"Where're you headed?" the driver asks.

"Well, I'm going to the city--but you're staying here," Dominic says--it's the best badass line he can think of--and points the gun at the young driver. "Get out," he growls.

"Motherfucker!" the driver shouts, drawing a snub-nosed .38. He aims loosely at Dominic, and his finger tightens on the trigger.

Dominic panics, and pulls first. With a roar, the gun jumps in his hand, and the gun fires a Bullet right at the driver. The man's head jerks back, and a spray of blood, bone, and brain hits the window behind him.

His companion screams and snatches the gun from the man's dead fingers. Dominic flinches, right as the woman moves in front of the gun's barrel.

Her head is hit, and blood spills across the expensive leather interior.

Arkane runs from the forest, wings wrapped around his body like a jacket.

"What happened?" he asks as the boy falls to his knees.

"I didn't mean to!" the boy sobs, "I didn't want to kill them! I didn't want to shoot!"

"It's...it's all right, kid," Arkane whispers, "just calm down..."
Top
Seraphic
Posted: Dec 1 2009, 04:24 AM


Ten times smarterer...!


Group: Members
Posts: 112
Member No.: 3
Joined: 12-May 09



MechaTalk always crashes after I post, lol.

Alrighty, a lot of cool ideas being put in here, but a bit of a shaky start. I would just use the word "present" rather than "current". I don't know why I have that preference.

I wish the first section were not so general and non-specific. It is a bit hard to catch a reader's attention that way. An interesting thought: move that part to the end of the chapter to create better foreshadowing. It's better to do that sort of thing after we've established the story, I think.

QUOTE
"Attack! Attack! We're under motherfucking attack!"

This stood out way too much. People just don't talk like that, even when they're in a panic, DAG. Especially when they are dying. Instead of the language, try to create the panic with descriptions of the speaker instead. What does her voice sound like? How does she speak? What does her face/expression look like? How does her audience react to her?

Oh, and the narrator should refrain from using language also. You have at least one instance of that.

QUOTE
A growl in the distance. Or, at least, Dominic thinks[I] it's a growl. And he [I]thinks it's in the distance.

Fix the formatting here, lol.

QUOTE
The weapon is pointed at the floor, but ready to swing up and blow apart intruders with no-doubt top-of-the-line ammu--

It seems awkward to talk about the ammunition here.

QUOTE
"Ah, Arkane, you've decided to join us. I hope you realize what you're doing."

"Oh, of course..."

QUOTE
"Ah, Arkane, you've decided to join us. I hope you realize what you're doing."

"Of course I do, Staile. Now, let the kid go, and I'll let you live.

Arkane's line doesn't start the same each time. =p

QUOTE
Arkane grins and pulls the trigger, and a spray of .30 rounds slams into Staile's face.
This is just a minor thing, but you should label that number with a unit so we know what type of ammo we're talking about. Is it .30 caliber?

QUOTE
"Very well, Arkane. If that's your choice..." Staile looks down at the floor. Then his head rises to lock eyes with Arkane once again. "...then...fuck!"
This confused me a lot.

I could use more elaboration on Maxwell. He just seems kinda stuck in the story randomly. What does the guy look like again?

Why does Arkane have giant wings, but chooses not to just fly out of there at the end? In general, I understand the sort of horror you were trying to write in the last section, but I think it needs more elaboration to work properly. The scene is choppy at best the way it is now. You should emphasize that Dominic reacts out of fear or self defense. As it is, it kinda just sounds like he killed them because it was needed/convenient.

DAG, I notice that your sentence structure tends to be a bit choppy. You use a lot of comma splices and other breaks like the double hyphen thing. -- It's fine to do that once in a while I suppose, but when that's the only way you ever find to add detail to a sentence, all the flow of the narrative becomes broken. It was hard to follow the thought of the story because it kept darting left or right to one detail or the other. Do your best to have the words flow more easily, even if it means giving those details their own sentences.

The way your sentences are written now, it sounds a bit like you are typing in the same fashion you might tell the story to me if you and I were sitting in the same room. That's fine to listen to, but literally typing that way makes it hard to read. Again, work on the structure if you can. =)

I usually don't have a problem with this, but all the dramatic swearing in your dialogue seemed unneeded. I may have a problem with this later on, but my characters will be swearing casually like I do, lol.

I hope you find that useful. Let me know if there is a specific thing you need to discuss. =o
Top
DAG
Posted: Dec 2 2009, 02:18 AM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



I did what I could to fix it for now. Maxwell will come in again before too long.

And I chose to use current rather than present, because I thought that using present might suggest that this takes place at/around the Earth's present day.

And also, I should probably mention that all the firearms are fictional, but semi-based on real ones (The AR guns are M16-like rifles, the MG9s are something similar to Uzis, etc.).
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DAG
Posted: Dec 8 2009, 02:30 AM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



I intended on getting the second chapter up on the weekend, but I wanted to revise it a bit. So...

CHAPTER TWO
The Ghostly Men

one year ago
THE Star Apostle shines down on the planets that orbit her that morning.

With Apostlerise's end in the city far below, the Gord Gus enters the planet Corlas's orbit, sending down a single landing ship.

On board the landing ship, the three Constructs ready their weapons.

Rayden, his two Glaive-built AR3s on either side of him, belts with dozens of extra clips wrapped around his waist, runs a hand through his hair, thinking of the haircut he'll need soon. He then picks up the two .44 revolvers magnetically attached to the table in front of him, and sticks them in holsters hanging from his hips.

Jenicia attaches an ammunition box to her large gatling gun, and wraps her hand around the handle. Next to her sits a backpack carrying four more such ammo boxes.

Arkane finishes reloading the extra clips for his twin MG9s, then slips them into various pockets of his pants. The thirteen-year-old then holsters the MG9s and leans back.

"Okay, everyone, pay attention," Rayden says. The elder Construct hits a button on the side of the table, "this is a map of the city."

The table's surface, a computer screen, lights up with a map of Throne City. The city, capitol of the desert planet Corlas, is located in the northern green region, on the shores of Crown Sea.

"The target is here--Republic Square, where President Malcom Michaels, is making a speech in half an hour. I'll be there, to take him out. Jenicia, you're going to sneak into the palace--he's making the speech there, of course--and you'll have to try and attack from behind. This should help distract the guards and police, and you might actually be able to take out President Michaels.

"Now, Arkane, you've got a different mission. You'll have to stay behind and guard this ship. Any questions?"

"Why do we have to kill the president?"

"Damn it, Arkane, we've already been through this: Michaels is helping hold back the world. Democracy can't last forever, and won't get anyone anywhere. There's need of a revolution--we're the revolution. Landing in five minutes..."

***

Ten minutes later, and he's running fast as he can--but not Morphing, because that would be dangerous, would reveal what he is--through the forest the ship had landed near, the plan thoroughly fucked.

There had been people waiting in ambush, ready to strike--people who knew of the plan, and had waited until Arkane was alone to strike. Three of them, armed to the teeth and ready to kill.

They had all been draped in cloaks and hoods, their limbs gloved.

The centre one was tall and wide--not fat, but huge--and had been carrying an AR3 one-handed.

The one on the left had been thin, with an AR2 gripped in both hands.

The one on the right hadn't been carrying anything, but a sword hilt stuck out from behind his back.

The armed two had fired, and Arkane ran as fast as he could, dodging into the bushes, trying in vain to escape. And presently...

Something moves ahead of him. The unarmed one steps out of the bushes, raising a hand to his sword's hilt.

"Redeem," the being says, in an odd accent, "redeem, foul sin!"

Arkane stops. Draws one of his MG9s. Off with the safety, aim, fire.

A five-round burst hits the being. It takes a single step back. Laughs. Steps forward, drawing a long katana.

"What, can't hurt me? What a shame, because this sword should work just fine..."

"Who are you?" Arkane demands, preparing to Morph.

"Haven't you figured it out yet?" the sword-wielder asks.

He points a finger at Arkane. "We're Constructs, boy, you and I both. But we're the abandoned. The forgotten. The Unfinished. I'm giving you a choice: join with us. End the General's crimes, his war. End his lies. If you don't, he'll just use you up and discard you like the others."

"No, he won't," Arkane insists, "we're the summit. We're the best. He's promised us a peaceful life, after the war."

"He's lying," a voice growls from behind. Arkane spins around to see the massive foe--apparently also a Construct--appearing from the bushes.

One behind. One in front. A third unaccounted for. All knowing of the Constructs.

Nothing to lose. Arkane closes his eyes, and braces himself for the Morph. It's only his third time--still two seconds of agony. The wings tear his nice jacket to shreds, but he couldn't care less at this point.

He draws his second MG9, so that he has one in each hand.

"Tell me, what did he name you?"

Nothing to lose. "Arkane."

"Archer?"

The boy responds with a nod. As he does, he turns sideways and points a gun at each foe.

"Still using the same surname...Arkane, I'm Staile. This fellow here is called Rael. Now, where did Maxwell get to..."

"Another failure?" Arkane growls.

"Maxwell? No, just a mercenary," Rael says, resting the dull edge of his sword against his shoulder. "Oh, there he is."

A burst of bullets slam into Arkane's face. They bruise, but that's about it--though they also distract him for a precious half-second...

Something large and heavy tackles the Construct, knocking him down and landing on top of him.

"You've made your choice, Arkane," the thing growls. Something sharp bites into Arkane's right forearm, slicing right through the invulnerable flesh, "so let me make mine..."

Arkane gasps in pain as claws tear their way into his arm, slicing flesh and muscle and tendons...the agony is unbearable, as the boy tries to look away, think of something else...the memories of ten years ago...the fatherlike man who vanished...

Then, the pain is gone. Something is shoved into his face--a large claw, soaked in bright blood.

"Staile, there are others approaching. Stronger ones."

"Fine, let's go. Maxwell can catch up."

Arkane throws the last of his strength into Morphing back.

That done, he sinks into unconscious, too delirious to worry about waking up in a vivisection.

***

He wakes up lying in a bed--possibly his own.

He lets his eyes open slowly, his pupils adjusting to the white fluorescent glare. His eyes flick to the left--an old knife, blade nicked and dull, sits on a small shelf.

His room and his bed, all right.

A pale, gaunt face looks down at him--the face of his younger 'brother', Aleksander. Other than size differences, the three male Constructs all look more-or-less the same--pale skin, black hair, blue eyes, and unnatural thinness.

"You feeling better yet, Ark? The eleven-year-old asks.

"Yeah, I guess so," Arkane replies, "the pain's gone down to mere sheer agony. How bad is it?" he asks, glancing down at his heavily-bandaged forearm

Aleksander shrugs. "Didn't get to see it--Jen and Ray had your arm wrapped up when they brought you back.

"How'd they do on the mission?"

"President's dead. Corlas is in panic, and are blaming Benistat."

"Well, I guess it all turned out well, then," Arkane mumbles, his heavy eyelids drooping, "I'm sleepin now, if anyone asks..."

"The General is uptight about something. Jen and Ray saw something down on Corlas, when they found you."

"Yeah, I know."

"Well? What is it?"

"Don't worry 'bout it, Aleksander. Not your problem..."


I tried to go through and fix this up, but I probably missed a lot, so once again, all (polite and helpful) criticisms are welcome. And don't point out that I didn't include any content disclaimers; I realized this around five seconds ago, and am about to fix it.
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Seraphic
Posted: Dec 20 2009, 09:30 AM


Ten times smarterer...!


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Posts: 112
Member No.: 3
Joined: 12-May 09



I re-read your first chapter, DAG. The fixes made a lot of difference, and I'll say that I enjoyed the chapter pretty well. Maybe that's because I've read the chapter before and I know what everything is, and I'm not dealing with the same confusions.

The second chapter holds its own, I think. Best not to dwell on it and just churn out the next part. If possible, try to give a description of a weapon/gun where appropriate instead of just throwing out random model numbers at us.

Oh, and what the heck were you trying to say with the first sentence?
QUOTE
THE Star Apostle shines down that orbit her that morning.


Anyway, I'm starting to feel the potential of this story. I hope you follow through.
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DAG
Posted: Dec 20 2009, 10:38 PM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


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Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



That's a mistake. It should read "T Star Apostle shines down on the planets that orbit her that morning."
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DAG
Posted: Dec 21 2009, 03:17 AM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


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Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



And another one...

CHAPTER THREE
Light and Fury

current
"JENICIA?"

"Yes, General?"

"Any report from Arkane yet?"

"No, General. But there's something on the Unfel City News, security footage stolen half an our from the Glaive Central Complex. Should I put it on the screen?"

"No, I know what it is anyway...that damn fool Morphed, didn't he! When will he learn to watch out for cameras? Well, at least he's not doing it in front of a hundred people...god, that was messy!"

***

"Okay, let's get to my bedroom."

"Where?"

"Garage."

Arkane glances over at Dominic, a small smile on his lips.

"What? It's private. I like privacy."

The two hurry into the garage through a side door.

"Stand back and shut your eyes."

"Why?" the boy asks as he grabs a bottle of pills off a shelf and gulps a few down.

"I've seen my brother de-Morph; it's pretty hard to watch."

Dominic sighs, but complies.

Arkane shuts his eyes, and concentrates on his human shape.

Pain like acid inject into veins begins first on his back, as the black wings go rigid and stretch out, filling the room. Then, the wings draw themselves back into Arkane's body. It may be less bloody, but it still hurts like hell, and Arkane groans the whole time.

The painful part over, the black gemstones also disappear into his skin, the black designs fading.

Arkane lets out a short, gasping laugh, and then falls to the floor unconscious.

***

The Construct wakes still lying on the floor, a blanket covering his body.

The room is still pretty dark, with thick curtains blocking most of the morning sunshine. In a corner sits a bed--the curled up thing lying there, Arkane reasons, must be Dominic.

"Hey," he calls, "Dominic, wake up. We should probably get out of here soon."

Dominic does wake up--but it probably had more to do with the approaching police sirens than anything else.

The boy's head turns to Arkane, and he manages to get out one word before Arkane is on his feet with his gun out.

"Fuck," the boy mumbles.

"What should we do, Dominic? Fight or flight?" the Construct asks.

"Fight or..." the half-asleep youth echoes, "oh, shit," he mutters, realization dawning on him. "If we're caught..." he begins.

"Treason for me. Then they find out what I am, and it's labs and scientists 'til I die. Treason for you, too, unless you convince them you're a hostage. So, fight or flight?"

Dominic begins to shake his head, but then stops himself. "I don't know. God, I don't even understand what's going on!"

"An angel is asking you whether you want to join a terrorist cell and fight the police, or join a terrorist cell and run for the hills."

"Thanks," Dominic says, "yeah, that really helps. Good thing I--"

A fist knocks against the garage's outside door.

Arkane stalks towards it, gun raised.

"Who's there?"

"Dominic? That you?" a voice calls from outside.

Dominic sighs. "Open the door. It's Todd." the boy grabs a wrinkled black shirt off of the floor and tosses it to Arkane.

"Who?" the Construct asks, shoving his arms into the shirt's sleeves and buttoning it up.

"My friend. Just open the door."

Arkane hesitates, but complies. "Nothin' left to lose," he mutters as he yanks open the door.

"Dom, there're cops lining up down the street--I think they've found another terrorist hideout or something."

Oh, sweet irony, Arkane thinks to himself. "Dominic, we need to get out of here. The police are getting ready to move in on us. They've no doubt seen you friend."

Todd turns around, noticing Arkane for the first time. "Who're you?"

"I--"

"He's a friend of mine. From out of town."

Friend...

Arkane steps back, leans against the wall.

Friend...

"You all right?" Dominic asks.

"Uh...yeah, fine. Now, let's g--"

"Fire!"

A burst of machine gun fire flies through the open door. Arkane leaps out and drags Dominic behind the wall, but the other boy...

Todd is torn apart, parts of his body landing half a dozen metres from the door, blood flying even farther. Arkane looks on in disconnected anger at the sight of another innocent drawn into the General's war, but Dominic...

His wordless screams fill Arkane's ears, the boy's body struggling as Arkane tries to hold him back.

"Todd!"

As he restrains the horrified youth, Arkane's head is running through the possible moves he can make.

"No!"

"Move in!"

The cacaphony drowns out his thoughts.

"We've got 'em surrounded!"

Friend...

Arkane closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.

Friend...

When his eyes snap open, they shoot first to the blood on the carpet floor, then to the open door.

Friend...

"Dominic, stay here. I'll take care of this."

The boy gives no indication of hearing Arkane's instruction, but when the Construct lets go of him, he flops to the floor, sobbing quietly.

Arkane forces the Morph faster than he ever has before; luckily, he's able to temporarily deaden the pain.

He leaps through the doorway, gun roaring. Three SWAT cops about to enter the garage go down silently, cut nearly in two by the MG9.

Arkane looks around, eyes narrow, wings stretched out, black as a starless night sky.

The police are retreating, getting behind cover--and forcing Arkane to hunt.

"Nothing to lose," he growls. He jumps up on the nearest police cruiser and spreads arms and wings far as he can, tattered remains of Dominic's lent shirt hanging from him.

Two terrified men look up at him, guns dropped and forgotten.

"Look upon your death!" Arkane screams, pointing his MG9 down at the cops. He squeezes the trigger, and blood spills.

The rest of the police force opens fire on the winged being. Arkane waits patiently for them to empty their guns, and then hops down and picks up the guns--SpecOps-grade SHVs with extended banana clips; he must be wanted pretty dead by someone--that his last two victims dropped. One in each hand, he jumps into the air and flies after the fleeing police, guns chattering as they rain death on the men and women who killed his friend's friend.

When he's killed every cop he could, and he sees the tanks come out of the military base on the edge of town, he heads back to Dominic.

He lands hard in the back yard, and Dominic stumbles out from the garage with a shotgun in his hands.

Friend...

May as well try the words out; we're both fucked by now, Arkane tells himself.

He falls to his knees, pain hitting him even with the Morph. He looks up to see Dominic looking down, a grim look on his face.

Nothing to lose

"Friend..." Arkane mumbles.

Dominic smiles for a second, but then he gets serious again.

"Those motherfuckers killed my friend. If you leave, I'm coming."

Arkane grins. "Good. I'm not going home, though; chances are we're both going to die today."

A soft chuckle comes from the street. "Yeah, that's a certainty, brother."

Dominic goes stiff. "Who's that?" he spins around and raises his shotgun.

"I don't know..." Arkane mutters, as a man in a black suit comes around the corner of the house.

"Pleased to meet you, Arkane. I've been looking forward to this." he says smoothly.

"Who are you?" Arkane asks, standing up.

"Me? Oh, I'm Siegfreid Val, the Angel of Death."[/COLOR]
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DAG
Posted: Dec 28 2009, 04:53 AM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


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Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
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The next few chapters may take a while, as my new laptop doesn't have Microsoft Word yet, and I can't open the Arkane file until I get a copy. Also, if anyone remembers that concept album I wrote, I might be downloading a program to synthesize music (like what Garage Band can do, but for Windows) and be getting actual music for that.
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DAG
Posted: Jan 4 2010, 02:57 PM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
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Joined: 12-May 09



CHAPTER FOUR
Dead Men

four years ago
ARKANE sits on the bench, watching the lightning way off on the far side of the lake. Bolts of blue and white split the sky, followed by thunder a few seconds later. As he watches, rain begins to fall, coming across the lake, until the torrent hits his bench.

The very second the downpour begins to drench him, there's a man standing next to the bench, wrapped in a cloak.

"Long time no see, Ark," the man rasps, "recognize me?"

"Wh-who are y-you?" Arkane asks weakly.

"Guess not. Well, I'm your brother. I'm Sabre."

"Who?"

"That bastard!" the man suddenly snarls, "how could he do that?"

"Who? Do what?"

"The General! He's...god! How could he?"

The man spins around and walks away. Arkane stays on the bench in the rain, staring at the green dragon tattooed on his right forearm, until the alarm on his watch goes off.

***

"Okay, you and Jenicia stay up here, and shoot anyone who gets close to the landing ship's hiding spot," Rayden says, handing Arkane a long-barrelled rifle, "I've gotta go attack the Glaive warehouse here and steal more munitions. Don't worry, shouldn't take me more than half an hour; it's never hard to bust into these places."

Arkane and Jenicia both nod and settle down on the cliff.

As the two wait, the storm starts up again, torrential rain destroying all visibility.

"Arkane," Jenicia whispers, "you should head back to the ship; you're a horrible shot even when the weather's clear."

The ten-year-old nods, and navigates his way down the cliffs towards the ship, gun in one hand.

As soon as he gets near the ship--no doubt out of Jenicia's visual range--the cloaked figure from earlier emerges from the shadows.

"Hello, Arkane. I've a gift for you, a bit of mercy, straight from my heart..." he draws a long, thin, sharp knife from within the cloak. "I'm so sorry..."

He moves the knife to the side of Arkane's neck, draws back a bit, preparing for a quick horizontal slash...

Arkane just stands there, numb, as the knife moves towards his bare throat...

"Stop!"

Both turn to look at another cloaked figure, standing there, a metre-long sword gripped in his gloved right hand.

"He's just a child," the sword-wielder says, "he could still redeem himself of the General's sin."

Saber steps back, lowering the knife.

"What's the General's sin?" Arkane asks.

"Your existence," the sword-wielder responds. “Sabre, let’s go.”

The two vanish into the dark, leaving Arkane standing alone in the rain. Shrugging, the ten-year-old continues on towards the landing ship. It’s another hour before they’re back at the warship Anastasia, and he’s able to change into dry clothes.

***

“Don’t you think you were a little...pre-emptive, there, Sabre?”

“You said yourself, Nightmare said—”

“Nightmare says a lot of things!” Rael snaps, “but that doesn’t make him right. Remember, back at the Factory, he said he’s get better. It’s been six years...and he’s still...y’know...”

“Still Nightmare?”

“Yeah,” Rael smiles briefly, “Remember, though, he can be wrong about the future, so don’t just go killing everyone just because he says one of the Complete will kill us all. Remember, he said he’d get better: wrong. Said Staile’d betray us, but he’s been our leader for three years now.”

“There’s still plenty of time for the general to attack us, though.”

“Yeah...but he hasn’t yet, though he’d have the advantage. And besides, Sabre: we’ve got Lightbearer Iron, and unlike him, we’re perfectly happy to use it. If we’ve got to fight any of his Constructs, we’ll will.”


Sorry for the wait
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DAG
Posted: Jan 7 2010, 08:38 PM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09





CHAPTER FIVE
To Mourn What You’ve Lost

current
THE first bullet hits Arkane in the shoulder, spinning him around and dropping him to the ground. Blood hits the grass. The man walks towards him, a long-barrelled revolver in his hand.

“Like that? Forty-four calibre Lightbearer Iron-tipped rounds. Does to Constructs what normal bullets do to everyone else. Now, any last words, Ark?”

“Why...” Arkane gasps, his shoulder healing painfully.

“Why?” The man echoes, “Because, you’re working with the General. You’re with the other side; I’m sorry, Ark, but—”

CRACK

The man stumbles sideways, blood pouring from his right side.

“But...what...” he gasps, “Impossible...I...”

He looks up at Arkane. “I won’t die, brother!” he vows, before turning and leaving, blood splattering from his shredded body.

Arkane looks up; Dominic is still standing there, shotgun in his hands. Then, he drops the shotgun and falls to his knees.

“It’s easier the second time,” the boy whispers. “Before we leave or whatever, we need to do something about my brother; he’s blinds, and if that guy shows up again...”

“We can bring him along. It’s not far; just outside of the city. There’s a landing ship in the forest. We’ll be fine, if we can live long enough to make it.”

“You want to take my brother to a gunfight?”

“Where’s you prefer him: with us and in danger, with a chance of living, or here, alone and in danger, without any chance?”

“Good point,” Dominic admits. “Well, let’s go get him.”

***

Arkane follows Dominic back into the house and up the stairs to his brother’s room, wings tucked in close around his body.

“Claudius?” Dominic calls, knocking on the door, “We’ve got to leave, now.”

“Were those gunshots earlier?” a voice asks from inside.

Dominic sighs. “Yeah, they were. Now, hurry up and—“

“Who the hell’s shooting guns around here? God, it sounded like there was a gunfight in the backyard!”

“Claudius,” Arkane says, “they were in the backyard. Now, pack whatever you need and get out here.”

“Who was that? Dominic?”

“He’s a...friend, Claudius. Just pack, and we’ll leave.”

“Is Dad coming?”

Dominic grimaces, glancing over at Arkane. The Construct can see the pain on the boy’s face.

“Dad’s still at work; he’s fine. But we’re in danger, just trust me on this. You need to get out here.”

“Oh...okay. Just give me a second.” Claudius responds.

Arkane turns to Dominic, holding out his hand. “Pass me the gun.” The boy complies, and Arkane inspects the weapon.

“Where’d you get this?” he asks.

”My dad’s room,” Dominic replies, “why?”

“It’s a nice gun, I’ve never seen this gun in a civilian’s home before; usually just in the hands of the Glaive Elites.

The door opens, and out of the bedroom steps a boy who looks almost exactly like Dominic, except for the slightly longer hair.

“Okay,” says Arkane, “let’s go. We need to get out of this city soon.”

“Why? Claudius asks.

As soon as he asks the question, someone knocks on the front door. Arkane sighs and heads down the stairs, with Dominic and Claudius following behind.

“Go into a different room,” Arkane commands, “I’ll call if it’s safe.”

The two comply, and Arkane opens the door slightly, on exposing his head.

“Hello,” says the man standing outside, “I’m looking for Dominic and Claudius Solstate.”

Arkane looks the man over. He’s dressed in the green uniform of a Glaive Private Military officer.

“Why?” the Construct asks.

“Listen, I don’t have to tell you anything; my message is for the guy’s kids, not some stoned babysitter.”

For the guy’s kids...

Arkane looks around. “Dominic!” he calls, “you take care of this.”

The boy emerges from what seems to be the house’s kitchen.

“Yeah?” he asks. Arkane sees that Dominic’s holding a large hunting knife on his right hand, behind his back.

“Who are you?” the officer asks.

“Dominic.”

“Okay, well, I’m very sorry—everyone at Glaive is—but your father was taken as a hostage by the terrorists who attacked the Glaive Complex last night. President Michael Kunia expresses his sincerest apologies, but Dr. Morgan Solstate is missing, and—since the terrorists have successfully left the planet—presumed dead.”

“Thank you. Would you please leave now?”

“Uh...” the GPM officer pauses, “...will you be all right? I understand your father was your only parent, and your brother is—”

“Leave,” Dominic snarls.

“I’ve got a box from his lab—we’re supposed to give personal belongings back to the family whenever someone, uh...”

“Dies?”

“Yeah.”

“Bring it in.”

The officer nods, and begins to turn around, but he notices Dominic’s left hand. “Hey, uh, your hand’s bleeding pretty bad. What’d you do, cut yourself? Might want to get that looks at.”

“Yeah, I’m working on it.”

***

The officer leaves after carrying in the box. As soon as the door closes, Dominic falls to his knees, sobbing and whispering “oh God,” to himself.

“Dom?” Claudius asks, coming out from the kitchen, “what’s wrong?”

Dominic takes a few deep breaths to calm himself and then says: “Dad’s missing.”

“Missing?” the blind boy echoes, following the sound of soft sobs to his brother. He sits on the floor next to Dominic, and the two begin to talk quietly to each other.

Arkane, despite being rather inexperienced in matters of family, can tell this is a private matter between brothers; he sets the shotgun down and picks up the metal box the officer had left. As he carries it into the kitchen, pain erupts in his spin, and he nearly falls, gasping for air. Luckily, the pain doesn’t last long, and Arkane—confused and annoyed, but setting the moment of agony aside for later consideration—continues into the kitchen. He sets the box on the blood, and tears apart the metre-wide box’s lock. Then, he flips open the lid and peers inside.

The first thing he notices is the long-barrelled revolver sitting on top. This, he sets on the table.

Next is a stack of framed photographs of Dominic, his brother, and his father. These Arkane set next to the gun without looking through them, leaving the pictures for the brothers.

Then, Arkane finds a stack of USB drives, labelled with such names as: The Fire Tablet, AR5/MG9/SHV2 Designs, Impaler Shot Cannon Blueprints, PuriFire MAW Designs, and others. Arkane shoves these in his pockets for later investigation.

And, underneath that...

Arkane’s breath catches in his throat, and his heart speeds up.

The next item in the box is a thick binder with, written on the front cover, words that make Arkane’s heart nearly skip a beat: Angels of the Battlefield: A Study of the M-Z Tablet and its Practical Applications.

The Construct sets the binder down carefully with shaking hands, and looks back inside: the bottom of the box is filled with cardboard boxes. Arkane picks up one box, labelled ‘.357’ and opens it: sure enough, it’s filled with bullets that are most likely, based on the box’s tag, .357 calibre, normal looking save the light purple tint of the tips. Arkane returns the ammo box and pulls out another; this one’s full of shotgun shells. Most of the remaining boxes also contain ammunition, but a few on the very bottom instead hold chunks of a purple metal; probably, Arkane reasons, the same metal tipping the bullets.

“Arkane?”

The Construct looks up; Dominic and Claudius are standing there, Dominic holding the shotgun by the barrel with his right hand, both wearing backpacks slung across both shoulders.

“You two ready?” Arkane asks. They both nod. “Okay, you, Claudius, take this.” Arkane stands up and walks over to the pair, pulling a sheathed knife from his pocket. He hands it to Dominic, saying “get him to loop that through his belt; you’re probably better at explaining things to him.”

With that, Arkane returns to the table, and picks up the long revolver. He sits down, folds down the barrel and cylinder of the gun, and begins loading bullets into the seven chambers. As he does he realizes that the number seven seems to be something of a theme on the gun: on both sides of the grip the letters VII are printed, seven lines are scratched into the barrel, and, of course, the seven chambers. As he’s loading the gun, Arkane realizes he’s forgotten to check something: he pulls the rounds back out of the cylinder, and folds the barrel back up. He points the gun at the roof and pulls the trigger a few times. “Good,” he murmurs, “double-action.” He reloads the gun again, and switches the safety on. Then, he looks up at Dominic.

“Okay,” he says, “I need a backpack, a jacket, and a shirt you won’t need anymore.”

“Okay,” the boy says, and he heads for the garage.

After a short silence, Claudius speaks.

“Hey, uh...not sure if I caught your—”

“Arkane.”

“Okay, thanks. Arkane—kind of an odd name—uh, nice to meet you. What’s going on here, exactly?” the blind boy asks, right hand fiddling with the hilt of his knife, which is in its sheathe, attached to his belt.

Arkane exhales slowly, then inhales. “Well...” no use lying... “O’m a genetically altered human being who can transform into an angel-like beings with bulletproof skin and wings, and I saved your brother’s life when my attempt to steal weapons schematics at the Glaive Complex was interrupted by another angel-like being. So, we came back here, and I—and possible also your brother—are being hunted by the police. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s about it.”

“Huh,” is all Claudius can manage, his right hand still playing with the knife.

“One thing, though,” Dominic says, stepping into the room with Arkane’s requested items held between his left arm and chest, “yes, the police are—were—hunting us, but...where are they?”

***

Arkane wraps the shirt tightly around Dominic’s injured left hand, and then loads the lent backpack with the documents from Dr. Solstate’s box, as well as the metal and half the boxes of bullets; the rest of the ammunition boxes he drops into Claudius’s and Dominic’s backpacks.

Arkane folds his wings close to his body, and pulls on the sweater Dominic had brought him.

“Everyone ready to go? Good. Dominic, keep the shotgun ready. Claudius, be ready to whip out the knife if I tell you. Now, let’s go.”

The trio run from the front door to the stolen car and pile in. Arkane moves to turn the key, but he stops.

“Arkane?” Dominic asks from the passenger seat, “what’s wrong?”

“Stay here. Be ready to shoot. Don’t let Claudius out.”

Arkane opens the door of the sports car and climbs out, reaching for the revolver sticking out of the backpack sitting between the driver and passenger seat. Before he pan pull the gun, something dives at him from atop the Solstates’ home.

A cloaked figure lands on top of the car, long, curved katana held in one hand.

“Arkane, oyu’re tired,” the thing growls, “do you think you can fight me now? If you give yourself up, I’ll let these two live. If you fight back, I’ll kill them. Slowly...just like you and Sabre...remember, Ark?”

Arkane shuts his eyes against the flood of nightmarish memories. “Don’t...” he mumbles, “please...I’ve tried to forget...”

“Oh? I’m sorry, did I distress you? Do you like to pretend that that little thing on Benistat never happened?”

“Rael...just...no...” Arkane mutters pitifully.

“I remember that ever. Single. Day!” the Unfinished snarls, “you’re disturbed by what you did? He wasn’t your friend!” Rael snarls, “you never knew him—he was just another mission to you. I’ve not forgotten, Arkane, and I’ll see you dead by the Descent.”

“Leave, or I’ll...I’ll...” Arkane starts to feel weak, his body trembling; he’s stayed Morphed far too long. With a gasp, he loses consciousness and collapses on the gravel.

“Well...this’ll be easy,” Rael growls, raising his sword and preparing to slice Arkane’s head clean off.

“God bless the end...” he whispers, as the sword begins to move, slashing down towards the Construct’s exposed neck...

***

Dominic is scared again. But not simply because Arkane’s trembling and in no shape to fight, but because the boy was ready to kill again. This time, though, it isn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing, but planned: open the door, lean out, swing the shotgun over the hood, and fire.

Arkane falls, and Dominic throws open the door, steps out, aims, and fires.

The cloaked figure falls screaming, and Dominic walks around the car. The cloaked figure pulls itself up, and turns to face Dominic, picking up his sword.

“Nice one. I’ll have to come back and face you one-on-one someday.” He turns and hobbles away; Dominic raises his gun, but Arkane interrupts.

“Let him leave,” the Construct gasps, pulling something attached to a thin chain from his pocket, “he’s one of the nice ones. Now, I think...” Arkane de-Morphs, drawing his jet-black wings back inside his body. “I think I’ll...” his eyes close, and he lets out one more shuddering phrase: “just rest a bit...”

Out of the corner of his eye, Dominic sees something white and glowing flash by, and feels a rush of air against his face. He looks around...but there’s nobody there...
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DAG
Posted: Jan 21 2010, 12:31 AM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



CHAPTER SIX
Where No One Knows

one year ago
“THIS is a battlefield!”

Rael’s voice echoes down the hospital corridor. Arkane shuts his eyes and takes a deep breath. He grabs the rope looped over his shoulder, and pulls it and the SHV it’s attached to from his shoulder. His left hand snaps out and grabs the rifle by its barrel, and his left hand reaches to his pocket. He pulls out a crescent moon-shaped rifle magazine, and attaches it to the slot on the bottom of the gun. The gun loaded, he takes a step forward. Then another.

God I’m so scared right now

His heart’s pounding like a jackhammer and his hands are shaking.
“This is a battlefield, and we’re the warriors. We’re the gladiators. We’re the duellists who will fight to the death. I hope you’re ready!” Rael’s voice becomes shriller with every second.

Arkane reaches the end of the hallway, and enters the massive room at the centre of the abandoned hospital. Floodlights and fluorescents turn the whole room into a white glare. Arkane raises his rifle, and someone jumps on him from above. Something hard smashes into the back of his skull, and he collapses.

“How pitiful is that—I didn’t even have to try,” Rael gloats, standing over the Construct, sword in hand.

Arkane growls and, lying face-down on the floor, morphs. His wings throw Rael away, and Arkane jumps up, spinning and firing his rifle. Rael dives to the floor, ducking under the spray of bullets, and slashes out at Arkane’s legs with his sword. Arkane jumps back, and something sharp slashes through his back. He screams and falls, but someone catches him, jabbing a knife into his back.

“Don’t.” stab “kill.” stab “my. stabfriend!” the attacker snarls.

“Sabre!” Rael yells, standing up, “what’re you doing? Get out of here!”

“No!” Sabre yells, “I’ll kill him before he can hurt you!”

Arkane’s elbow snaps back and catches Sabre in the ribs, forcing the Unfinished back. The Construct brings up the rifle, and lets loose a burst of bullets right into Sabre’s torso at close range. Although the bullets aren’t strong enough to penetrate his flesh, the close-up hammering is enough to shatter his ribcage, driving shards of bone through his lungs and heart. Sabre falls to the floor, short black-and-white wings spreading out as he falls, already coughing up blood.

“Ark! Don’t!” Rael screams; Arkane doesn’t even hear him. The young Construct slams his boot down on Sabre’s chest and grabs a flailing arm. He digs his heel in and pulls as hard as he can.

“You’re all dead,” he whispers, eyes wide, lips spread in a grin, “you’re all failures, and you’re all going to die...”

Sabre is sobbing and coughing up dark red blood, eyes shut against the pain as his shoulder and elbow joins separate with a sick pop.

Arkane’s breaths are coming fast and hard, audibly gasping for air as he feels his goal nearing—the flesh at the Unfinished’s left shoulder begins to tear, and with one last strong heave, the arm completely separates. Arkane stumbles back a couple steps, drops the bloody limb, and jumps forward again, landing with both knees on Sabre’s gut. He entwines his fingers, and slams both fists down across Sabre’s jaw, shattering the bone and teeth. He brings his hands up, and does the same again, this time shattering the Unfinished’s face.

“Arkane...” Rael croaks.

The Construct growls and pulls a knife from Sabre’s belt. He stabs it through Sabre’s left elbow, and twists, before grabbing the arm on either side and pulling, tearing off his arm from the elbow down. Arkane turns and tosses this at Rael; the elder Unfinished jumps back, and Arkane returns to the torture.

He pulls another knife from Sabre’s belt, and slices the Unfinished’s gut wide open. He cuts again, and again, and again, and then drops the knife to the side and plunges both hands into his foe’s body, scrounging around until he gets both hands wrapped around the spine.

Arkane stands up and holds the body in his hands by the spine, blood pouring down on him. He turns to face Rael, and, with a quick jerk of his hands, snaps the spine and breaks the body in two. A crimson waterfall splashes Arkane, rivulets of blood running down his body, droplets soaking into his dark hair...

He drops both halves of the body, his fingers curling into blood-soaked claws. Rael’s eyes widen, and he turns and flees.

Arkane watches him but doesn’t chase—just stands there, watching him, breath coming in heavy gasps and tears beginning to run down his face.

Oh God I killed him
He collapses to the floor
Tore him apart...
and begins to cry, face buried in his blood-red hands
What have I done?
and his wings spread wide.
At least...
At least here,
Least that’s one down,
nobody will find out
Only seven left!
and none will ever know.

***

He returns to the landing ship, still covered in blood.

“Oh god!” Rayden gasps, “what happened to you?”

“It was...” Arkane stops—he doesn’t want to let the General know, not yet; he can’t send himself back after the Unfinished. “...Nothing. Just some...some...uh...”

He walks over to a chair and straps himself in, still shirtless and bloody.

“Arkane...” Jenicia starts.

“No,” the young Construct snaps, “don’t ask me. Please.”

“Ark, I understand. Just...make sure you have a shower as soon as we get back to Anastasia, before Alek sees you.”

Arkane nods. “Okay,” his whispers, struggling to hold back a sob. Then, something hits him, and he begins scrambling to pull off the safety harnesses.

“What the hell are you doing?” Jenicia asks, reaching to grab Arkane as he jumps up and makes for the door.

“Just wait,” he says, pushing her out of his way, “there’s something I have to do.”

***

As he stands there, in the empty hospital, looking down at the body, he starts to think.

Why do I keep having to fight these guys?[i/]

He bends down over the corpse’s upper body.

[i]Do I want to fight against them again?


He reaches for a small silver object on a chain around his dead brother’s neck.

Could I fight against them again?

It’s a small, crudely formed pendant in the shape of a knife, either pure silver of silver plated.

Sabre, I’m so sorry; I won’t ever live this down.

He holds it up, and it shines in the brightly lit room.

We both know whose fault this whole mess is.

He looks down at the body again, flinching as he realizes the damage he’s done, the pain his brother must’ve endured...

If the General ever pits me against any of you ever again, I’ll kill him myself.

He puts the metal chain around his neck, and lets the silver emblem fall against his chest.

I’ll tear him limb from limb...

Arkane looks up to the distant, dark ceiling, for the first time noticing the very out-of-place painting covering the roof.

“I’ll tear him limb from goddamn limb!” Arkane shouts.

Good look,” a voice whispers from the shadows in a doorway on the other side of the room.

“Who was that!” Arkane yells, eyes scanning the shadows.

Your brother...Nightmare.”

“Please,” Arkane calls, “come out here. Let me see you. Let’s talk.”

No, brother; you’d only see me fit for mercy killing.”

“Why?”

Ask the General about Absin Archer; he’ll tell you all you need to know. All I ask is when you come to kill me, you give it your all.

“What?” Arkane asks in confusion, “who are you?”

Tell him I say hello and goodbye,” the unseen speaker requests, “because God knows we’re all going to be dead in this decade. Except a couple...maybe...

“Please,” Arkane pleads, “tell me what the hell you’re trying to say!”

We give thanks...

Arkane sighs loudly and spins around, heading for the door, his sorrow already lost in newfound exasperation.

We give thanks for the greater side of contempt...

Arkane sees a dark blue, nearly black trench coat hanging from a lopsided hook in the wall; he grabs it and pulls it on after a quick de-Morph, to help hide some of the blood.

And these conspiracy theories...

The voice should be fading away, but it’s still nearby—getting closer, in fact. Arkane picks up speed, but the voice gets closer and closer, whispering in his ear.

These conspiracy theories will hide our greater moves...

Now he’s running to escape the whispering, running for the doors that seem so distant, the sunlight streaming in the dirty windows like the light at the end of a tunnel.

And may our traitorous ashes, burnt black...

He bursts through, gasping for air, heart hammering away at his ribs, limbs shaking.

Rain on our Father’s legacies...

Arkane turns around and starts screaming: “Get away from me!”

We are the Unfinished and the Damned...” the disembodied voice finishes in a whisper.
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DAG
Posted: Jan 29 2010, 03:55 AM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



CHAPTER SEVEN
Believe That You Are Just Fine

From the [unreleased] files of Doctor Kennedy Val, with footnotes by wife Margaret Val
[i]seven years ago

MAXWELL has, according to his father, always been an odd child. I always thought something was odd—the boy goes to school with my son, and the two are friends—but I just thought Maxwell was simply shy in public, but according to his father, my good friend Doctor Jesse Marksis, he’s always quiet and shy.

However, this wasn’t the reason that Jesse had me start meeting with the boy; the reason was Maxwell’s recent anxiety. The boy’s marks in school have been dropping, and he’s gone from merely ignoring everyone who isn’t my son, to actually fleeing from them. Jesse believes it might be due to the boy entering puberty; however, I don’t agree with the diagnosis, if only because Jesse’s degrees are in theology, cloning sciences, theoretical physics, metaphysical physics, metaphysical biology, and multimedia arts. I, on the other hand, have degrees in sociology, psychology, philosophy, biology, etc. (*it is believed that Kennedy Val had a rather large ego at this point in his life).

Talking to him is proving to be useless, since he’s always so uptight. I’m planning on, if I can acquire Jesse’s permission, take the boy on a trip to the Museum of War and Peace—I understand he went there on a class trip last year, and enjoyed himself. Maybe there, I can get him to open up.

***

At first, everything was going fine. Me, Maxwell, and Siegfreid rode the train over to West Sea City. Although he never spoke a word before lunch, he spent three hours in silent awe, staring at the reproductions, scale models, and—in the case of a few Space Fighter and Ship Lancer ships—actual, battle-scarred production models, of space ships and weapon satellites. However, as we ate lunch in the museum’s cafeteria, Maxwell kept glancing around, and Siegfreid seemed uncharacteristically ill at ease. Eventually, I asked what was wrong with Maxwell—Siegfreid, I could talk to later—and he said that he had something important to talk to me about. So, I told him to remember it for out meeting the next day.

However, what I thought was a situation that was—for the moment—fixed, turned out to be nothing but the beginning of a larger issue. Everything went wrong when terrorists attacked the museum. The three of us were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and were used as hostages after the terrorists stole the models and schematics they were desperately scrounging up from every corner of the building.

Although I was terrified, as I sat in the back of an armoured and combat-refitted eighteen-wheeler, Siegfreid seemed to be rather calm about it, and Maxwell was downright excited! After the first hour, he actually began talking to one of the black-masked men watching us, and in less than twenty minutes, he had a conversation going. The black-masked man stated that they had no wish to harm us, and merely wanted to ensure their safe escape. He said he would personally see that we survived, and even introduced himself to Maxwell! His name (or codename, more likely) was Sabre. Not surprising, really—the small man had dozens of long knives attached to his black outfit.

For a group of terrorists, they didn’t seem to be too threatening. This Sabre fellow actually seemed to be appreciating our company—especially Maxwell’s, a fact I find rather distressing. However, the guard Sabre—and a female accomplice who’d joined him in watching us—snapped to attention when the vehicle rumbled and began to rock, apparently moving somewhere, but the two calmed down after a few minutes.

By now, I was scared: what if they killed us? What if we were imprisoned for a decade, like those three unlucky fellows who were kidnapped by the Separatists on Corlas.

But they didn’t seem to be interested in that. In fact, I was evicted from the truck and forced to walk home—not even roughly thrown, but gently lifted from the truck and set on the side of the highway, not too far from a gas station.

Polite, friendly, civil terrorists. Will wonders ever cease?

However, there was still the issue of the absence of my son and Maxwell, who I’d last seen in the company of terrorists! However, the news the next morning reported that Maxwell had returned home shortly after midnight. However, Siegfreid’s whereabouts where still unknown...my son was gone.

I would never see my son again.
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DAG
Posted: Feb 5 2010, 02:22 AM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



CHAPTER EIGHT
On Death Row

The Last Letter of Dr Val
five years ago
DEAR Sarah,

I regret to inform you that this is the last you’ll ever hear of me (see enclosed photograph for one last smile) and that I’ll be dead by tomorrow morning.

Dr Marksis is a fool for doing what he’s done, and I am a fool for ever letting it happen. I know he’s keeping our son locked up, and I’m going to break him out, along with any other vile experiments he has in that hospital down in Ground Zero.

This is the only way I can ever see my son again. It’s been two years—I hope he hasn’t forgotten me. And I hope I can kill Jesse Marksis for what he’s done.

So please forgive me for what I’m about to do. I’d explain it here, but it’ll probably be on the news. Just stay away from the Statue Field today, lest you die to. I’ve gotten Maxwell to help me, in exchange for me paying for his ticket off to the other side of the world, before they put him on the list of suspects for the sniper attacks last month.

So, goodbye, my dear, and I hope Siegfreid lives long enough to see you again.

As the man who sold me the gun said, GOD BLESS THE SUFFERING

After leaving his home and taping this note to the front door of his house, Dr Val was never seen again. Presumably, he had a hand in the bombing of Statue Field at Ground Zero, as he suggests in the letter, and died later on. It is unknown what significance, if any, is involved. The so-called Black Hospital—believed to be the hospital referred to—was thoroughly investigated after this letter reached the police, but no signs of occupation within the supposedly haunted building were found, though the investigating officers did mention that the hastily-evacuated hospital was “quite creepy”, and several suffered nightmares for a few days afterwards.

CHAPTER NINE
The Start of the End

current
DOMINIC’S pacing back and forth, trying to calm himself down.

“What’re we—” Claudius starts.

“I don’t know!” Dominic yells, “I just...” he sighs, stops walking, and leans against the side of the car. “I just don’t know. Arkane’s unconscious—I don’t think he’s dead, though. We’re here, we don’t know what’s going on...well, come here and help me; we might as well take him inside. We’ll toss him on the couch, then...Oh, man, This’s just bad...what’re we going to do?

“Arkane said that if we made it into the forest, we’d be fine...but he never told us where in the forest. And that’s the second guy whose attacked us since the police showed up...”

“I say we make a run for it. Try to find this ship in the forest. If we get attacked, we make a stand.” Claudius suggests.

“If we try and make a stand, we’ll just get killed!” Dominic protests, “maybe if we—what was that?”

There’s a sound of breaking glass from behind the house; both boys turn towards the sound.

“Claudius, you stay here with Arkane. I’ll go see what’s up. If you hear gunshots, run.”

Without waiting for confirmation, Dominic picks up the shotgun and heads for the back of the house.

***

Rael can see him coming—not Arkane, but the kid with the shotgun. Time for a duel. He ducks his head back behind the edge of the house, drawing his sword. He waits until he’s sure the kid’s half a second from seeing him, and jumps out, slashing downwards with his sword.

The kid gasps, and throws up his hands—and the shotgun he’s carrying. The sword hits the barrel, but doesn’t penetrate the metal, and the sword bounces back. The kid swings the barrel of the gun towards Rael and pulls the trigger, but the Unfinished jumps to the side, avoiding the spray and leaving the kid with a gun that’s useless unless he gets a chance to reload it.

Rael takes a second to catch his breath, still exhausted from the quick and tiring healing, before slashing horizontally at the boy’s midsection.

However, that second gave the kid enough time to catch his breath and, while he doesn’t have time to pump another shell into his gun, he does have time to start jabbing at Rael with the gun’s barrel. Rael angrily kicks at the boy’s midsection, and sends him to the ground. He stands over the kid, ready to stab downward, when a bullet whizzes past his ear. He freezes.

“Step back!”

***

Dominic’s curled up on the grass, groaning in pain. He looks up to see Arkane standing over him, two long-barrelled revolvers held in his hands. As he looks, though, he realizes that it isn’t Arkane: this man’s hair is longer, he looks more muscular, and his wings have more of a blue colouring.

“Get away from him!” this new Construct commands.

“Do you really think those guns will work on me?”

Dominic reaches for the shotgun, pumps it—wincing slightly at the pressure on the wound in his left hand—and points it up at the sword-wielder.

“This one might,” Dominic groans.

Rael pales, turns, and flees. The new Construct watches him run, then holsters his guns, bends down, grabs Dominic, and pulls him to his feet.

“Where’s my brother,” he growls.

“Arkane?”

“Yeah.”

“He’s out front. He passed out; I think he’s still alive, though.”

“Good,” the Construct says with a nod, “lead the way.”

****

Arkane’s eyes open to slits, bright, blinding light streaming through and battering his retinas. He moans and shuts his eyes; the sound attracts somebody’s attention, and somebody’s suddenly on the ground next to him.

“Arkane,” someone whispers in his ear, “you awake? You okay?”

I know that voice... Arkane thinks.

“Arkane?”

Heard it before...

A new voice: “Arkane!”

Yeah, that one, I know for sure...

“Arkane, get up; we need to get out of here now!”

is it...

“Rayden,” Arkane mumbles, opening his eyes to slits again.

“Yeah, Ark, it’s me. We’ve got to get back to the General now—he says there’s a new problem.”

Why do I hear sirens?

|We’ve got to arm up at the Anastasia and come back down here to clear out some hospital in Ground Zero.”

Ground Zero...hospital...that’s important...why?

“Okay, you two,” Rayden says, “help me lift him. We don’t have much time before—”

A screeching of tires

“Freeze!” “Put your hands in the air!” voices yell. Then, another over one, amplified: “You’ve been branded outlaws on Planet Karos and are therefore subject to execution without mercy!”

***

Maxwell can hardly believe he’s working with the police, but they’ve hired him, and for good pay as well.

His good old AR2 is sitting in the trunk of the rental car; Maxwell reaches in and pulls it out, giving it a quick inspection. Then, he reaches back into the trunk and draws out a drum magazine, sliding it carefully into the slot. Finally, he flicks the safety off and walks to the front of the police line.

“What’s the mission?” he asks the police chief, “who’s the mark?”

“When we arrived, the three picked up their partner and ran into the house there.”

“So? I thought they were outlaws? Why not just blow the place apart?” Maxwell suggests.

“Because, two of the four are civilians, and members of the Solstate family—”

Maxwell exhales sharply.

“—And can’t be proven to be part of the terrorist cell. We’ve got proof that they’ve harboured them—possibly against their will—and helped them escape—possibly against their will—but no proof that they’ve committed any acts of treason or terrorism, or even murder, besides one dead body that we might be able to prove was a man killed by one of the boys.”

“So?”

“What?”

“Why’m I here?” Maxwell asks, the index finger of his right hand tapping rhythmically against the side of the gun, “what do you want me to kill?”

The chief suppresses a brief shudder, and then says: “All of them. You’re going to be listed in my report as a mercenary, possibly paid by Glaive, who sneaks in and kills everyone while my people are trying to negotiate with the terrorists. Ready?”

“Always,” Maxwell says. Then, looking down at his rifle, “aren’t we, my dear Maria?”

The chief shudders again, and turns away, as Maxwell walks slowly up to the front door.

“This is going to be fun,” he whispers under his breath, his heart beating like a jackhammer.

***

There’s a noise at the front door. Rayden stands up, drawing his guns, but it’s already too late.

A burst of bullets slams into Rayden’s chest and throw him back. He gets his guns up and fires off a couple shots, but the stream of bullets doesn’t stop until the Construct falls, dead and cut nearly in half, to the floor.

Dominic can’t do anything but stare at the entrance to his home, now covered with blood and decorated with a bullet-riddled body. Somebody steps into the house, dressed entirely in black and carrying a large, bulky weapon.

The boy jumps back and runs into the living room, where Claudius is sitting, waking up from a light sleep, on a chair next to the couch.

“What’s—”

“Run!” Dominic hisses, “get out and run! We’ll meet up with you.”

‘But—”

“Go!”

“...Okay.”

As his brother picks up the backpack and heads for the back door, Dominic reaches for Arkane with one hand and the shotgun with the other, wincing when his injured and quite possibly infected hand touches Arkane’s bare shoulder.

“Wake up!” he hisses to the sleeping Construct.

Arkane’s eyes snap open, and Dominic is left temporarily speechless when he sees the Construct’s eyes: the irises are dark blue, and quite jagged around the edges.

Were they like that before, or...

Then Dominic snaps back to what’s happening.

“Arkane, somebody’s breaking in here, Rayden’s dead, and I think the police have us surrounded by now.”

Dead!” Arkane sits up, eyes wide and mouth spread in a snarl. “Dominic, get out the back door. I’ll handle things here.”

“Where will we meet up?” Dominic asks.

“Don’t even...” Arkane closes his eyes for a second, “No, never mind. I’ll live. Where do you think?”

“The new house.”

“New house?”

“My dad bought a new house farther out, new the edge of the suburbs. We were gonna start moving there today...I picked up the key for the new locks on the doors...had to take it to him...that’s why I was...” Dominic trails off, shakes his head. “Anyway, just go south a couple blocks to Knight Street, go east, and it’s on the corner of Knight and Book street. Got that?”

“Yeah. Now go.”

Dominic nods, and heads for the back door, as Arkane reaches into the backpack holding the seven-shot revolver, and pulls it out.

Dominic stops. “Arkane!”

“What?”

“Shouldn’t you transform?”

“I’m...not really sure if I can Morph right now,” Arkane says, “now, leave!”

Dominic turns and leaves.

Before he’s even exited the house, the gunshots start.

***

Staile...

“Yes?”

The time is now...strike. Use your man in Glaive to take control of their private military, and take control of the city. The General will strike soon; if you’re waiting for him, with a thousand soldiers at your back, there’s no way he can win. Give Glaive the Lightbearer Iron, and not even the Completed Constructs could win.

“Thank you, Nightmare,” Staile says, “you’ve been a great help, as always.”

Your welcome, as always, Staile.

“Staile!” a newcomer hisses.

Staile turns to see Rael, clothes soaked through with blood. “What?”

“Arkane isn’t alone; he’s got allies. Just kids.”

“Constructs?”

“No, humans.”

A movement in the shadows, a rustling of fabric, and Nightmare speaks in his low whisper: “Bring both humans to me, and let me talk to them. We got Maxwell to come to our side; we should be able to get others.

“Good idea, Nightmare. Could always use new soldiers. I’ll get on that.

***

Dominic runs through back yards, climbing over fences, stepping on flowerbeds, and focusing on two things: running fast as he can, and not looking back to see if anyone’s chasing him.

It’s starting to get dark, as storm clouds gather overhead. Dominic ducks under a small pavilion in somebody’s back yard as the rain starts. He glances back the way he came—looks clear. He picks up his shotgun, and starts running again.

***

Claudius is terrified as he runs blindly through the streets, trying to get as far away as he can from the house.

He has no idea where he’s going to go, what’s going to happen...if he’ll ever see his brother again.

He slams right into someone; he mumbles “sorry!” and continues running. He’s completely lost by now—he’s never come this far alone before. He thinks he’s somewhere near his school, but he can’t be sure, unless he asks someone. But if he stops moving, someone might catch him.

When the rain begins to fall, Claudius takes shelter in what seems to be a bus shelter. He lays down on the small, uncomfortable bench, and rests, taking slow, steady breaths. Before long, he begins to fall asleep, and by the time the police arrive, he’s out cold.
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Seraphic
Posted: Feb 6 2010, 11:04 PM


Ten times smarterer...!


Group: Members
Posts: 112
Member No.: 3
Joined: 12-May 09



Hey, DAG. I just recently caught up with all the chapters, and I have to say I'm really enjoying the story. There are some kinks in grammar or typos here and there, but I think you can hammer those out with successive revisions. Once or twice I felt there were some logical disconnects, like how Arkane just *shrugs and walks away* after someone just tried to murder him as a child and how the gang has been stuck at the house for a few chapters without more cops showing up or something. Also, if cops DO go looking for them, wouldn't the new house be an obvious place??

Oh man. The "exchange" between Ark and Saber was gruesome. Why exactly did he go bat-shit crazy like that?

I think you have some good momentum here. Keep going!
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DAG
Posted: Feb 7 2010, 01:58 AM


Supreme Overlord of Chaos


Group: Admin
Posts: 188
Member No.: 1
Joined: 12-May 09



I'm pretty sure that a character pointed out that the police hadn't shown up again, and I thought I'd made it clear that it was Glaive using their influence to keep the police away, but I guess I just thought I'd made it clear while leaving it vague so, until I go back and add some clues to that effect, it was Glaive. And about the new house being an obvious place...nobody said that kid was a brilliant tactician!
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