Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

by 2D

Chapter Three: Warrens

Last Night:

Chapter Three: Warrens


Here lie the damned


The massive safety mechanism sealed with an agonising groan behind us, the outside pistons slowly pushing away the rust and grime which had begun to clog the numerous seals. Scraping metal against decayed concrete as the bunker door finally joined either side, twisting the large circle set between them slowly and painfully. As I looked back and listened to the wail of clashing surfaces, it sounded as if the door itself was in agony.

Slowly the massive metal disc shared by the two sides twisted until it had gone half way, the joint going from vertical to horizontal. The door remained quiet for a few sparse moments as if it were taking a breath of well needed air, cleaning out the dusty vents and inter mechanisms. There was then a soft hiss as the two metal semicircles pressed themselves together to form a seamless whole, small locks and magnetic clamps attaching and clicking.

As the massive metal door finally lay still within its concrete prison, I was about to speak before a loud siren went into overdrive and cut me off. From there a large metal slab began to descend from the concrete alcove, completely sealing the door away inch by inch. I stood agape as the noisy scraping continued and my last hopes of return were cut off, the exit was fully closed off.

The silence that followed the noisy loss of hope was soon broken by my companion's laughter, his stupid fedora nearly falling off as he cackled behind me. His annoying laughter continued as I huffed and kicked a nearby chunk of concrete, it skidded a few paces and fell off the curb. I waited for it to tap against the street below, as I had expected there to be more surrounding streets, but in this dark it was hard to tell. The only light we had right now was a small orange light from the door behind us, a thick semicircle of safety around us.

"What the fuck are we going to do now?" I hissed as my eyes struggled to adjust, the rust filled air around me making it harder to breathe and see. "Joker, why are you laughing? Those pricks just locked us out! We're trapped in a miniature war-zone!" I resisted the urge to shout as the light overhead flickered and slowly began to die, the circle of protection fading as time flew by. I waited for a response, and heard the quiet 'clack' as the concrete chunk finally hit the floor.

Joker stopped his cackling and slid his saddlebags off, flipping open one of them and placing his ratty fedora inside -- donning a sleek armoured helm. "Didn't you hear about what happened down here?" He said blankly as he leant down and picked his bags up again, slinging them back over his back with ease and a grunt. "The Elderlane hasn't been inhabited for a few years now, the last of the scummers moved out a while back. The ones who stayed died in droves after the Grey Death spewed in from the ventilation shafts."

"You... you mean everypony down here is dead?" I said quietly as my eyes scanned the dark horizon, looking down at a dead understructure. Everywhere you looked there were the faint edges of ruined buildings, ramshackle add-ons and bridges fitted in between. "Does that mean we're going to die down here?" I asked simply, regretting each breath I took of the thick grey rust.

"Nah it means you're goin' to die here, Twisted." He said snidely as a pressurised hiss sounded, and a small gas mask clamped itself onto his helmet. Standing next to his custom gear in my own Lower Guard standard, I felt a tad inferior. A feeling of self doubt curled up within my chest and blossomed, far from Vinyl, he returned via the gateway I had subconsciously provided. "Anyway, we have three days to follow route Xi-Omega." He chuckled as the massive wings on either side of him unfurled, covered in flexible metal mixture. "Or at least you do, I have business down here. I'll race you to the finish, mate."

"Wait a damn minute!" I said strongly as he took flight overhead, swooping off into the ever present darkness silently. "Where the fuck are you going, Joker?!" I yelled after his trail, letting out a shout as I threw a bolt towards him using my horn. He dodged the feeble shot as easily as I shook off the backlash, and swooped out of sight -- turning his light off and making his way from my field of view.

"This is fucking bullshit..." I whispered to myself as the light behind me finally died out, leaving me in complete darkness atop this large pillar of concrete and decay. I could feel the gentle rasp of the rust against of my lungs each time I inhaled, my fur cutting itself open as small pieces of metal lacerated me each time I moved. "Come on Twisted, better stay calm and focus on what's going on." I thought to myself as the darkness began to press in on me, something within the back of my head stirring as I charged my horn to a low setting.

I prepared myself with a short breath, and began a slow and steady Mana flow to the suit I was wearing. The on-board assistance came on line a few seconds later, with a series of bleeps and notices. I waited patiently as the painfully slow process took place, the suit adjusting its preferences for my body. It completed the check and fix with a shrill drone and locked my spell in place, causing me to stumble as a dark haze overtook my mind. The power requirements for this suit were rather high, considering its brand.

"Aboard Stalliongrad model VI online and ready to assist." Was the line I heard at the back of my head. This puzzled me greatly as I used the suits on-board lights to take a rare glance around, soon realizing what I had believed to be a flat city was in fact a ruined warzone of supports and shacks -- bombed and atop one another, as if an earthquake had come through. As for the 'voice', I hazarded a guess at how it worked. Perhaps the suit was using my horn as a two way neural transmitter? Might as well test it out.

"Xi. Omega." I thought simply, noticing a small but agitating draw on my magic as the suit protoprocessor began to work. There was a small flash on the H.U.D inside the helmet I was wearing, and two small symbols appeared next-to a tiny arrow. I could see the pair 'Ξ ω' in my vision, and I guessed this was the route I would be following. It was in fact pointing towards a small clump of walls amongst the ruins atop this desolate concrete wasteland. I trotted in that general direction, keeping an eye out for any signs of trouble.

I found none as I reached the supposed destination and its inner sanctum, a room supposedly once hidden and secret -- now blown half open and irradiated strongly. Peering down into the crater below I could spot the ruins of a once organised outpost. I suppose this may have been one of the many Cortex Uprising strongholds, positions fortified in case the CTS ever reached our boarders back in 700 STTS. Now however these fortifications were nothing more than tainted reminders of an age gone by.

Loose cabling streaked the walls and fell off entirely in some places, some miraculously surviving whatever blew this place open and hanging off the side. Blown bulbs could be seen here and there, systematically placed within the walls years and years ago -- now however, only two emergency lights were active. Three long oaken desks sat inside the fairly square room that had been exposed, half burnt and collapsed in. Burnt papers were scattered here and there, illuminated faintly by the dying light.

Metal desks and chairs were half melted puddles sealed onto the mesh floor, once more of a proud steel I bet. The resistant walls were chipped and scarred by flame and atomic fire, the words 'Reflect on your sins' were scribbled along the walls in random places; by those who remained, or those who came after I wonder? At the very centre of the crater there lay an elevator shaft going down to some place beyond view, it hung off the charred wall slightly and groaned gently as the pumped air swayed throughout the empty darkness.

A soft crunch echoed out across the seemingly lifeless city as I jumped down from a small ledge, the hue seeping from the emergency lights barely noticeable besides my inbuilt light. I looked down to see what I had landed on but immediately regretted the decision to do so, my hooves had punched a hole clean through a skeleton's rib cage. Stepping out of the broken bones I turned my head back up to gather my bearings, but even with the faint yellow glow from the few lights around the area, it was impossible to distinguish the shapes.

I carefully made my way forwards as the arrow directed me to a risky elevator I had spotted not two moments ago, surprisingly the elevator car was here. I looked up at the bent and melted support frames and wondered to myself over what used to be above this bunker of sorts, the sealed doors around me offering little answers. I pulled open the rusted and shambled elevator doors with ease, the old zig-zaged cage breaking into more dust as I pried it apart. A shallow cough filled my lungs as I fell backwards into the car. There was a loud scream as the metal snapped from the sudden usage, and I let out a yelp as the entire elevator free-fell for a few floors before grinding to a halt.

Leaping out of the elevator as it began to tremble once more, I landed with a roll and stood up carefully as I swept my torch over the room. I could hear a gentle scrape of metal but otherwise all was silent within the ancient bunker, nothing save my careful hoofsteps and breathing could be heard. This room was identical to the one a few floors up, except it was devoid of bodies and a tad more intact. I stopped for a moment and shone my light over the doors either side. One read "Armoury," the other "Reactor."

I trotted towards the supposed armoury and pressed up against the door, rattling the thing in frustration as it refused to budge. It wasn't bolted or barred, there was no lock and the broken circuits indicated that the pressure seal had died long ago. While I was here I decided to check where any potential allies were. "G.P.L." I thought blankly as I stood besides that door in the darkness. The power drain came again as the suit began to work and I heard the familiar metal scrape once again, this time far closer. While I was looking at the door I began to notice something strange, there was a thick metal coated slime covering the door completely -- dried and hardened.

Sweeping my light around in sudden fear I began to see that the entire room was covered in this thick cocoon mixture, the metal spotted with pieces of circuitry and blood, bones and bile. I nearly threw up on the spot and turned back towards the door in suspense, seeing the circuits ripped out and... chewed on. "Closest G.P.L transponder location, approximately zero meters away."

I took in a deep breath and swung my head around in suspense, a sinking feeling welling inside my gut. There was nopony around me as I examined the area, but then I heard that soft metallic scrape once more. Looking upwards slowly in terror I was met with at least twenty pairs of eyes, the one directly above me leaning down with a large snarl and a robotic hiss. Neo-Shifters, deformed Changeling warriors outfitted with experimental and dangerous tech -- the perfect assassins. As I stared up at the hunter before me, I noticed a piece of Lower Guard armour sunk between its synthetic muscles; perhaps one stallions final act of defiance and warning.

"Ark level twenty." I thought to myself as the horde above me lept down with hunger in their eyes, glowing fangs and inners exposed by holes and broken balaclavas. Time seemed to slow down as they moved towards me in some kind of chaotic yet unified pounce, and as my armour struggled with the request I had given, a subtle yet all too haunting voice came back from the grave.

"Oh Twisted my dear child, look what mess you've gotten yourself into. Here, let me help..." The hissing demon within me send a dark chill down my spine, a sudden boost of energy lighting the suit up like a Hearths-Warming Tree. Time began to flow once more like the blood pumping through my veins at the speed of sound -- a heartbeat like a melancholy toned drumbeat throughout the soul.

"Request accepted, power levels adequate. Initiating Ark reaction."

The entire horde of Neo-Shifters lept onto me as I savagely fought back, subconsciously powered by a strength far beyond my own. The on-board VI slowly firing up the miniature Ark Pylons within the armour weave, an already expanding Lightate shroud surrounding me. Fighting tooth and nail I bucked and smacked the vicious killers, skidding to a stop besides a door placed at the very back. The horde jumped me once more in a massive dog-pile of hate, blood from both sides spilling as the rusty air glowed a ghastly white from within the maul.

A loud shrill of noise ripped through my flesh and out of my horn as I screamed in agony, all of the Ark energy being focused on my horn. With a sudden boost from my possessor and a mighty roar of defiance, I opened my eyes and threw the first Neo-Shifter back. A crackling beam of power launched itself from within my horn and ripped through the first few Neo-Shifting assailants in my path, disintegrating them and thin slices of the wall beyond as I struggled to control the beam. The Ark reaction began to crackle and spiral out of my control as warning lights began to flash on my H.U.D. Yet he pumped more power into the beam as a dome of vaporization surrounded me.

The screen of my visor began to crack and then shattered entirely as everything in my view became a blinding white, loud crackling and fury filling my ears as everything around my horn began to disappear from view. I could feel my entire body screaming for release as the magical backlash began to kill off cells one by one, my ear drums popping and bleeding from the intense pressure. I screamed loudly as the ball or energy flew outwards rapidly, powered by the fiend within. My horn crackled and suddenly stopped as blood trickled down my face in a quick stream, spewing from my cracked horn.

The Ark field collapsed inwards onto my horn and detonated with a loud 'BOOM', ripping the room I was in apart as my skin was burnt to a crisp and peeled away by the rogue energy. Armour melted to my skin slightly as the intense heat fell inwards then shot outwards seconds later. The walls were ripped to pieces and the floors broke apart and fell into one another. All traces of the Neo-Shifters was gone, just like half the building.

I fell down onto the delicate concrete slabs below and punched a hole right through them, falling onto a second and rolling to the right. I then fell down onto another slab which was stable, the sound of an entire series of walls falling into one another and smashing after being partly destroyed and/or dislodged. A furious dust storm was kicked up by the falling materials and broken cables. The Ark energy still crackled on my coat as I picked myself up slowly, and limped towards an intact staircase. I trotted into the entrance just as a steel bolt fell from above and ripped through the floor a few paces behind me, and many floors below.

I began to scramble down the stairs laid out before me with a desire to live, an insane backlash ripping my insides apart as I barely managed to stay conscious. My other was sat in the back of my mind supplying me with the power to make it through this, for all his evil he was indeed good in certain times. A loud crash sounded and a shock wave rippled throughout the building, causing me to stumble and fall down the stairs. I fell for the longest time until I hit the floor below and a second shock wave came, ripping the stairwell open and creating a small chasm.

Struggling to stand but determined to live, I pumped all the might I could into my muscles and made my way up and over the chasm and split, rushing down the steps frantically. My vision began to blur as the backlash set upon the nerves inside my mind, working its way around my body bit by bit. "I... I have to..." I couldn't think straight and the steps seemed to go on forever, my feeble and charred legs barely making the next step. I scrambled out of a door which appeared before me and limped down the hallway.

A gentle chill hung in the dark passageway around me and stretching onwards, there was no breeze yet the air had a strange way of sliding across your coat, although nopony really remembered what a breeze felt like - this was a cheap Saddle Arabian knock off compared to the real deal, the upper world breeze of a mild summers day. The musky air of the hall was pungent as I scrambled into the intact section, desperately trying to escape my seemingly inescapable death. A crashing roar called out being me as the pillars beneath the ancient spire began to collapse against one another, screaming as the age-old building tore itself open.

The ever-present darkness seemed to press into me as my cracked and battered horn flickered to life slowly, casting shadows against the beaten and worn glass panels laid out in orderly fashion before me. There were crashes and loud screams of flesh and steel throughout the air, my mid hazed and unfocused as a granite block shattered a bridge above -- raining glass fragments down upon us. A light haze settled in the air before me, no doubt the Grey Death shining in the cleansing light of my simple spell - although somepony would be foolish to underestimate the power of light in the dark and cold hellhole of existence we face.

The unmoving shadows around me seemed to shimmer softly whenever I took my eyes off of them, did shadows really exist? I'd heard rumours of such things, but no phantoms of bastard creation had ever laid hoof on me, meaning I was just being a little filly about my situation. Then again, who wasn't afraid of what they didn't understand? There were many many strange things lurking in the Elderlane, and I didn't plan on finding any of them any time soon. My eyesight began to dart around, slowly at first but soon becoming more erratic and dangerous in nature; and then I saw it. Like a maelstrom to the soul I could feel the air grow thin as the building fell into itself, sliding across the torn edges slowly. Banking towards me.

I was overthinking everything as I ran forwards, the dense Grey Death slicing through my face and coat as I struggled to stay upright in the murk. It was hard to breathe in this glass corridor, and the rusted air was slicing my lungs apart rapidly. Alarm bells began to ring in my mind as a loud collective and robotic scream echoed above the loud noise of the building falling apart, even my muffled ears could hear the rage and anger.

I looked up at the pitch black 'sky' and nearly stopped in my shambled tracks, as all I could see was a wall of cyan eyes and fangs dripping neon fluids. I ran for more than my life as the light from my horn sparked once, twice, and died altogether as the hallway ended abruptly. I forced the door open with risky burst of Mana, running forwards and looking back at the split second the Neo-Shifters crashed through the glass walls. It was like a shower of death and mercy bundled into one, a ball of fury mirrored a thousand times in shattered grime.

I ran further into the next concrete spire and went to shove some debris into the hole, to stall for time, but tripped instead and landed on my flank -- throwing the debris at a few Neo-Shifters. It was then that a loud groan rang out across the entire Elderlane as the huge building connected to Spire 1 crumbled at the base, the rusted and decayed iron supports giving way as another shock wave went throughout the area. The glass hallway was ripped away from the building I was in as a chasm dove right throughout the center, cutting the room in half and throwing me down as the ground churned. A hulking mess of tangled wires and concrete fell down from the roof as the opposite spire collapsed with a mighty roar, falling downwards onto me.

I scrambled up in desperation but fell flat on my flank when an unseamed Neo-Shifter tried to rip my leg off, and I had no energy to shake it off. I felt the crackle of dark magic die and pool out of my veins, the soul within me finished well and truly. A thick black ooze poured from my mouth and wounds, surrounding my body in a thick black tar-like substance. A loud crash sounded as the ceilings above began to buckle and fall inwards upon one another, concrete raining down the sides of the building to a chorus of agonized Neo-Shifters.

Something deep rooted inside me sparked as I ignored the pain and began to run for the hole blown by the shockwaves -- knowing it was my only chance. I charged forwards with all my might and cried out in bitter-sweet pain as my leg snapped in half beneath me. The run became a hurried scramble as the supports above my head groaned and caved inwards. The last thing I saw was a brown buck with white hair sat atop a nearby building, watching; always watching.

I jumped and I fell from the spire, and then everything went black.