The End is Knocking
“True family is not one linked by who birthed who, but by respect and the happiness brought by each other's life. Family members strangely grow up under the same tree. But never forget about those who cared for you from the moment you drew your first breath.”
—Cristal Clear, Marble Griffdom library.
͙̲̭͙͇̬̙̬͢͞͠ ̨̪͕̼͖̞͔̦̭̕͠ ̶̡͔̣̳͇̤̳̰̥̺͎̰̟̺̙͕̯ ̢̜͇͈̲͚͇̗̲͍̟̭̝͙̥͙̻͉̰́͟͜ͅ ̴͠҉̣̪̻̯̟͉͎̳͓͓̳͡ ̷̗̯̭̰͖͚̙̤̺̥̮̥͚̫̯͕̀̕͘͢ ̵̸̙͓̲̻̤͍̞̰͎̩͇̳ ̸̷̣̘̪̳̦͈̹̺̼̺͟͡ͅ ̨̪͕̼͖̞͔̦̭̕͠ ̶̡͔̣̳͇̤̳̰̥̺͎̰̟̺̙͕̯ ̢̜͇͈̲͚͇̗̲͍̟̭̝͙̥͙̻͉̰́͟͜ͅ ̴͠҉̣̪̻̯̟͉͎̳͓͓̳͡ ̷̗̯̭̰͖͚̙̤̺̥̮̥͚̫̯͕̀̕͘͢ ̵̸̙͓̲̻̤͍̞̰͎̩͇̳ ̸̷̣̘̪̳̦͈̹̺̼̺͟͡ͅ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̸̧̩̺̪̟͖̩̯̜͎̘̲̪̤̤̕͜ ͏̶͎̩̗̭̤͙̣̦̗̩͇̻̯̯̝̦͉̟́͡ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̨̪͕̼͖̞͔̦̭̕͠ ̶̡͔̣̳͇̤̳̰̥̺͎̰̟̺̙͕̯ ̢̜͇͈̲͚͇̗̲͍̟̭̝͙̥͙̻͉̰́͟͜ͅ ̴͠҉̣̪̻̯̟͉͎̳͓͓̳͡ ̷̗̯̭̰͖͚̙̤̺̥̮̥͚̫̯͕̀̕͘͢ ̵̸̙͓̲̻̤͍̞̰͎̩͇̳ ̸̷̣̘̪̳̦͈̹̺̼̺͟͡ͅ ҉̣̼̩̞͓̲̀ͅͅ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̸̧̩̺̪̟͖̩̯̜͎̘̲̪̤̤̕͜ ͏̶͎̩̗̭̤͙̣̦̗̩͇̻̯̯̝̦͉̟́͡ ̷̻̰̠͉̞̗̦̱͖̱̰̕͘̕ ̛͢͡҉͓̟̯̩͇̖͔͉͙̻͔̯͠ ̴͈̙̘͔̫̫̤̘̞͖̤͜͢ ҉̰͓͖̪͕͓̦̺͈̣͈̻͎̘ ̢̜͇͈̲͚͇̗̲͍̟̭̝͙̥͙̻͉̰́͟͜ͅ ̴͠҉̣̪̻̯̟͉͎̳͓͓̳͡ ̷̗̯̭̰͖͚̙̤̺̥̮̥͚̫̯͕̀̕͘͢ ̵̸̙͓̲̻̤͍̞̰͎̩͇̳ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ͏̶͎̩̗̭̤͙̣̦̗̩͇̻̯̯̝̦͉̟́͡ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̴͈̙̘͔̫̫̤̘̞͖̤͜͢ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̸̧̩̺̪̟͖̩̯̜͎̘̲̪̤̤̕͜ ͏̶͎̩̗̭̤͙̣̦̗̩͇̻̯̯̝̦͉̟́͡ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱
Well... I’m not very good at sharing. Not very good at recuperating thoughts of the past either, "remembering things lately" was never my thing. I endorse in the past when it comes to other's stories, I simply find them more interesting, you understand my predicament? But I can try.
Alright. I think I have something.
It was afternoon. Another day at the library, alone, reading as usual. It was the time of my youth me and my mother weren’t going along, so I always stayed late in the library about seven big trees out my home at the time. But as I read in this particular day I felt a feather touch my nose, and as I sneezed, a new set of eyes were before me. My first and only friend rocked my— huh?
Y̹͝j̺́p̮̭̟̝̝̩d̷̰̟̲͍͖͖̰r̤̭̺̱̘̭ͅ ̨̤ṣ̞̩̰̣̝ͅt̳͙̫͖r̠̰̮͉̻̹ ͙̦̀m̵͕̗̖p͈͎͚̬̬̼͖y̖̳̱̖̺ ̫̙͟u͙̥̙͇̘pḭ̠̳͙̖͔̭t̢͓̮̦̪̤͇d͖̠̖͙̤.̻̤͚
What? It’s not my wh— Oh! Yes! Of course. My apologies.
Right, I have something... yes... yes! I got something.
I finally arrived at Ponyville. Strange place if you ask me, I wasn’t fond of it upon arrival, but Spike, my friendly assistant drake, was skipping with joy at watching me go out of my comfort zone. Asking me to at least try to make friends right as a smiling pink mare arrived next to him and—
D̬͙̰͝y̴̯̗̗̗͙ó̱̦͓͓̰k̴̟͈̻͈͇̺̼k̘͎ ͖͡m̟͇̤p͏̴͓̩̥̲͘y̞̦̙̺̪̭̪͠ ̡̪͔̤̱̹͘u̶̖͇͓͢p̮̞͈͓̼̞t͏̼̳̪͙̻ḓ̼̪̗͇̳̗͢͠ͅ.̸̼̱̪̹͓͍͞
Hah, that’s unquestionably curious.... Let’s try again. Remember... remember— Aha!
I was on my village, all my loved ones were cursed, I was fighting the jealous and hate filled mare named Once Prismia, using the necklace she had to amplify her jealousy so I amplified my love and I—
What? Are you sure? I don’t even know a pink princess... I believe? Well, isn’t this a problem? Going back to where I can remember better should be our best bet, don't you believe? Then I move forward, alright?
Yes, think. Right. I... I got something...
I recall the treasury where I was with my people for the last time. It had arranged golden ingots covered by blue mantels where most of us sat for comfort like an old mobsters counting his gold while sitting on it. Of course that would mean your maintenance was terrible with the walls cracked, hanging lights damaged and falling at the same rate as parts of the ceiling, and it was pitch dark. And with as little light as there was, you could sense the humongous forty ton vault door known by its old title of fortified Knox a long time ago.
Yes... I can see it just like back then.
The group I belonged with was of two thousand four hundred and forty-seven normal people. If the "unique" class were included we were about five thousand, to the dot, and I knew them all by heart, my family. Men, women and children from every kind, place and culture to my knowledge, my current student’s parents and old students, too many to name, so many lives to keep protected.
And there we were, arranged to sit close to the ones we knew most. Improvised groups based on trust if you will. Only a few lucky ones had one actual family member. Remaining silent, the whispers could’ve been heard clearly. Giving hope, crying for hope and a couple even praying for hope, not only those, the brave kids out of the vault doors, screaming commands to each other, whimpers of pain for every hit taken and shouts of victory for each one of the bastards that fell.
Being the eldest in the group meant not being allowed to help in the fighting, wanted it or not. My older sister was in a technical sense older than my person, but, uh... she’s good at fist taking enemies to the ground. She’s from old times where foot soldiers were the standard way of combat, face to face through the sight of an old fashion rifle.
But things have changed much from that time.
Norms have morphed, speech has transcended, and even what was considered unique people was very different of what my sister and I would ever know. Even if it was a forced change. Ha! Forced changing, I would have laughed to the irony if the situation was any different.
Extreme height, rainbow eyes, skittle hair and various skin colors composed all of the new unique people to call human. All two thousand nine hundred fifty three of the unique, most now outside. I’m no racist by any means, but on my days if you met someone whose hair is colored blue, with skin colored purple, you know things have gone into a metaphorical sinkhole, or you are high on minks, or dislocated of your sector, neighborhood if you will.
And of course, the fashion back then was hideous! At least that's my opinion, I never was a fan of dark blue, silvery-lined, tight suits. Good classic Tron looking, but different lining positions that reduced the reference, and my liking. These were necessary for our "protection against manipulations in general", or something in those lines, "good old polonium" I always said, don’t believe I will ever remember why though. And they were cold as you wouldn't believe, I mean, you could make ice under them, a nice portable cooler.
I, as many around me, wore clothes on top of the obligatory tight suits due to the cold. But I didn’t wore a lot as others needed it more. An old style long sleeve shirt and jeans and my own special working boots was all I needed. I fashioned like the stereotypical worker of the time United States was only fifty states.
My appearance back then was of an old, old man. Believe me, when you hold the Google world record of oldest living person, you know you're old. Not that I looked the part, face young, mid-thirties looking, height small for people on the old lost measuring system of feet, in which I was six, and I moved on par of those of my apparent youth.
But there’s where the good looks ended. My hair was as gray as it could get. Barely wrinkled, but I still had showing veins on my neck, arms and feet. And if anyone looked me in the eye they would immediately know I was no youngster.
The only youngsters I knew were my current students, those on the new people category of course. Or what was left of the "too hurt to fight", "too young to fight" or the "too screwed up to fight" bunch that were sitting around me back then, one was even leaned on my shoulder.
Tau was to at my left. Taller than me for about half a meter, from the too screwed up bunch. He broke down the moment the fight started; I could hear his laughter. The laugh was catchy actually, a nice chuckle which could make you think of a nice joke. For him leaving his parents to enter college with me was difficult. Being left by those parents to die was slightly harder.
Mikayla was to my right; the one leaning on my shoulder. She reached about my size, from the too young pack indeed as she could still smile and bring hope. My grandniece was special, right in her element, darkness. And also one of the prayers, not really knowing what she was doing, never taught about the ways of any religion, she simply reasoned "it wouldn’t hurt to try". Sweet child in the end. She was even holding my hand attempting to make me pray with her.
And last but not least, the giant by two feet higher than Tau, Jupiter, that’s the nickname I gave him because of the name of his brother, Mars. Yes, Mars is a name, a ridiculous name at that, if I followed the same process they named him I still wouldn't name any relative of mine named Earth, that's for sure. And yes, I see the hypocrisy, but at least mine is a nickname.
But anyways, Jupiter was in front of Mikayla and damn was he a downer, I promised myself once I got the chance I would give him a present, maybe some candy, children love candy. He was too hurt to fight, the most depressed in the room, and that's an achievement. Solely sitting and staring at nothing holding the emptiness that was his right arm. At least the last time I saw him he did so. He lost the extremity trying to save his girlfriend from the first wave. And his condition didn’t allow fighting for vengeance. Well, until it eventually grows back.
Thoughts were my form of entertainment as I couldn't see a darn thing, listening was all I did. I wished I could’ve done something more than medical aid or being a know it all. Better me than my little Millie I guess. But even if I was not a fighter, I knew I was the planner, and I needed a plan. And with the time in the darkness I thought of something, a horrible one, but an idea nonetheless. I even smiled on how half-assed, jerk prick insulting it would be to my recently praised worse enemy.
But it was then I noticed it.
There was quite a lack of sound from outside. The silence itself sent chills up my spine and from what I could tell from the sudden drop in whispers, I was not the only one to fear the eerie situation.
I panned my eyes to the source in front of me, I could see my breath. My tired expression, if any could see, was a byproduct of months of lack of sleep. I seemed like a calm and wise old man, if one could see further I was shaking. Not from the cold.
I felt the stares of all those behind me direct themselves toward the vault doors.
Sitting in a comfortable position with my elbows on my thighs, my old brain lighted up with power to process the problem. But I soon discovered every possibility I thought ended with me or everyone in this room, crippled, dead and/or worse.
So we simply sat and stared.
No one dared to make a sound, or even move as a common thought passed through their minds, "Did we win? Or did we lose?", but you didn’t need to be a genius hear the lack of a victory roar, telling me all I needed to know. And even if we had won, many already lost confidence of anything coming out of trying. When all you supposed would help you in times of need abandons you to all die, family included, it gives you things to think about. And we had that. A lot of that.
A loud strike against the vault door startled all of those with still hope in their hearts, and their faces paled.
The end was knocking.
I remember a song like that. Old classic.
But what had made me get to that point? Giving a smile to a small girl saying her future was bright? Made decisions for freedom over caution? Maybe even just deciding to live longer… Anything I chose isn’t a matter anymore. The past is the past. But the now?
The now was everything.
Another hit to the thick door made most jump, and me stand. Carefully stepping down the covered gold, I could only deduce how it was going to end. My working boots clanged with the stone floor as I sang a familiar song in a volume only I could hear. In this now, if I was to die, I would write how it would happen, and I would look at death in the eye and laugh.
Mikayla yelped as I stood. Giving the signal to others of my activity. They must have thought I had a plan as they stood up with me; everyone else with survival in their minds uplifted their spirits as well. If we were to survive the encounter, I swore I would make a party, no matter how much I hated those things.
Jupiter still had a few of those batons, the ones covered with polonium and the electric generating handle? Yes, those. He passed them around with his good arm as Tau, who had calmed down slightly but I could feel him twitched now and then, passed me his baton he stood at my side. He didn’t see me singing nor did I notice his smile. Mikayla stood behind me, her hard grip on her "baton" as if it would save her, praying even harder. I could’ve sworn to have seen their eyes glow dimly.
None in the room would die laying down; I could feel it in the room. They're still as stubborn as I know humans to be, all simple people, office workers, students with potential but nothing reached and elders in no way ready to meet death like me.
What an interesting change.
The frequency of the slams of the door increased.
“The end is knocking~ the end is knocking~ turururu~ rururu~ rururu~ Yeah~” The vault door was slammed one last time sending ripples of power everywhere and pieces of the door of the size of Nash's chest. Steel sliding stone was heard across the room as dim colored light reached inside for what felt like years.
The old man gazed long into it the abyss, and it gazed back.
Its white fur fumed in scars and burns, with a faint glow radiating energy. Small dots outstretched throughout its body; some bullets still implanted in its furry skin. Red and orange mane and tail wagged like a live flame were still covered in blood from its victims. Wings which seemed too small to lift it were held closed to its sides and Nash smiled with pride at its broken face with blood skirling out its long nose. But the smile faded at the sight of its foot long horn on the top of its skull glowing red, black and green from the bottom to the tip proving more courageous in coloring than its large red iris turning white, paying their full attention at Nash's existence.
Against his own fears’ wishes no move was done, and against the other voices in his head he resisted singing a song. Nash stared right back with the same cold intensity as his mind went white. No real plan, no amazing strategy, and no way out. He was gazing at the last morbid creation of the mind of ignorant violent misanthropes and deniers. He knew he was already dead.
It was distracted by analyzing everyone in the room, but especially Nash's still being, every inch, inspecting as if looking for something, but none stirred, every second we were alive was a small victory. Nash expected of those around him were doing, or thinking, of something, because many voices in his head wanted me to do various stupid things. And now they all sounded reasonable.
“Tera, the slippery Elder…” Nash stiffed as it spoke, a strong and firm voice you would expect from any good narrator or politician. Morgan something came to mind. But then Nash was distracted as to how it knew his nickname, but with reason he remembered who they were being led by. It meant many bad things were to happen.
“With your capture, the last pit of resistance will fall, bringing true peace to this beautiful existence." "He" said in almost cheerful tone flaring "his" horn, and by reflex Nash fell back into a defensive stance and with the quick flick the baton in hand it came to full length.
If it wasn't because of how much it hurt to stand, Nash would've stayed staring. The true reason the next stupid idea seemed so brilliant at the time.
He charged. The sudden movement was all the mob needed to release a battle cry and advance. All of them yelling as hard as their lungs could give them. They made those that lived before proud.
Nash felt Mikayla trying to grab his harder to follow, the man knew how useful she could be, but was already too weak. Nash felt how my shirt slipped from her grasp, but with the baton in one hand, feet at their tips, free hand at the striking palm, muscles tense and mind at the go, the charged with Jupiter and Tau by his side could only go faster. And Mikayla was left behind.
—Thirty Meters. Cero seconds.
The thing tried to carry them, push them, and pull him. The silver lining of the P-Suit glowed green and did its job reducing the force of the push. Those that didn’t have the suit were manipulated easily to the roof and unceremoniously dropped. Nash had no time to glance to their direction but could deduce their fate by their cut off screams. Those with the suit wavered at the force, boots glowed neon green and grew heavy as they slipped through the attempt feeling a slight pressure. Nash in contrast was slow but wasn’t slowed down.
—Twenty five Meters. One second.
"He" then speeded the particles, to burn everyone. Horrible pain, but not an immediate death, Nash saw it coming from how the horn glowed red and with the low flames forming on the hair of those in front. With a hard grip, and with a swift move, Nash's baton swung true, adding possibilities, un-focusing and confusing the creature. At least around and behind him, those that didn’t realize what was happening became balls of carbonized flame in a blink of an eye, their screeches stamped forever on the survivors, but without looking back they advanced.
If "he" had tried to continue there wouldn’t have been able to try again. So those that knew of it were safe to just charge and withhold the batons better. But unfortunately Nash had lost sight of Tau and Jupiter by then. Experiencing tunnel vision he didn’t see the movement from the outside behind the thing.
—Ten meters. Three seconds.
"He" was getting desperate, manipulating the broken pieces of the door to throw them. Barely getting one lunged towards the center —where Nash ran— and then pulling a piece of the wall to the right side. It tore through like a bullet through air. Some of the blood splatter covering the advancing group's faces, but they wouldn't be stopped.
"He" was ready to throw another.
"He" didn’t get the chance.
“Release!” Nash yelled summoned a hiss from my boots signaling freedom, now they all were bare footed, making much easier to leap for "his" face. The frustrations in his features changed to surprise by amount of time the distance between them shortened. Nash who was right on his face was about to strike.
He didn’t get the chance.
What Nash thought at the instant was that the creature became a ball of fire, not even perceiving the modified foot soldier-handled missile hitting it right in the flank. The shockwave of the explosion plowed the flying man dead center in the chest, blasting him back towards the group.
They stumbled to the floor, shocked and disoriented, everything hurt. It took only a couple of milliseconds before they were sent to our blessed unconsciousness.
For ten seconds.
Nash snapped awake, coughing, throat rasp, ears ringing in a very high pitch and my body shook violently as if it was extremely cold. There was no control over his legs as he couldn’t feel anything from the waist down. Chest might as well be stomped repeatedly by an elephant with the kind of pain that it greeted with, and the head was where that same elephant sat. How good would it be to have morphine then?
“Hold still!” A familiar female voice was the first sensorial signal Nash received other than pain and cold. The voice was weak and distant, but still tangible. It came from an armor suited lady, green dark reflecting armor. Not that Nash was going to see that anytime soon.
The yelling was the second thing Nash could sense, several voices trying to be heard at the same time. Chaos or celebration were all the same for him. Maybe both. The engines of a nearby ship got louder as it landed far enough for medical pickups. The old-timer tried to open his eyes even with the pain, but by now he found nothing to see, lacking undamaged eyes.
“Marga...” He tried to say the old name, but it escaped as his chest had other ideas making the name too weak and scripted. “Wha... happe…”
“Shut it! Stay still!” The voice answered harshly and then lowered in intensity, “Come on kid you know more than this than I do!”
“I-I d-don’t k-know! U-uncle told me I wasn’t r-ready!” The worries on the back of the stubborn man's mind lifted as little Millie spoke, she was safe. And scared half to death.
“Step aside!” A new voice added itself to the mix, a deep male voice.
“Mars!” Mikayla said happily confirms Nash's suspicions.
“I said, MOVE!”
It took all around a second to think about what he was about to do. But before they could even blink Nash was screaming at a pitch none would believe possible at his age. It felt like being stabbed multiple times in each space possible throughout my body with a rusty knife as it twisted inside the flesh. Very common feeling.
But luckily, or unluckily, Nash wouldn't have to stay around to feel how he trashed around while held down for his own safety. The complete "healing" would take twenty seconds, but it really didn't matter as the unwanted unconsciousness of dreaming took him whole.
Nightmares are dreams too.
Nash became conscious with a voice inserting a thought. Not knowing where he was, or how he got there. The only thing I knew was the need to run. Legs seemed pulled by the ankles by a solid grip and my arms following the motions by the same feeling in the wrists.
He saw a hallway, long as infinity. It was filled with green cloths on the floor and beds with wheels on the sides, there was even candy on the walls, they appeared and repeated their positions like a broken record in the hallway again and again, like an old cartoon with a huge cowardly Great Dane and his skinny green shirted friend that liked to constantly eat. The numbered rooms passed by were empty and bare of life. All with one number.
A͝͏̵͝n̸̸̢ ̀͜͠͝ò̷̕͘͠l͝͞͞d̕͜͢ ̨̡h́͢o͘s̵̕p̢͢҉͠í̶̛͝͝t̴̷́͝á͏҉͟ļ̀̀͘͢. The voice said rushing into Nash’s head, it felt as it came from nothing. The floor became grass. The man’s reasonable brain questioned the possibility of it all. But the "run" thought once again blocked anything else but the need to push himself further forwards. The acknowledged fear grew deeper, the pull stronger and the grass taller. And the running was so fast it looked as if he was flying over it. The grass were now trees, and Nash ran harder, breaking the trees with inhuman strength, and pulling and smashing the ground with with impossible speeds.
Y̡̯̭͎͙͎̦͋ͯ̇̒ͥ͐̕͢͝͡o̷̦͔̤̝͇͇̣̙̻͈͕̝͓̱̩̜͙ͯ̌̂ͨ̂̋ͅu͆̈́̐̃́̚͏̥̮͎̙̞̠̙̟͎̺̪́ ̅̋ͫ̇͘͏̼͖͉̹ͅc̵̷͚̭̼̰̲̜̱͈̈̐͛̈͗̉̔͐̓ͪ̃̃ͥ͆̾ͯ̍̈́̚ä̴́̎̉͞͏̭̫̺̺̝̮͎̩̫n̸̬̫͉̹͚̥̜͍̬͍̈͑̈́̾͛̅ͪ̏̓͡’̧̢̖͈͉̯̒̅̅̃ͥ̇̈̾̇͠t̴̨̢̘͓̩̥̬̹̦͉̬͑̐̏̈́͑̃̈́̂́ͯ́ͬ͂ ̷̨̬̞̗̖̭̳͓̝̟̣̥͓̥̙̝ͬ̏͌͆ͬ́̄ͨͮ̈́̃͐̆ͭͩ͆͢l̷͇͈̺̗̲̙͚̪̻ͥ͒͛̃͜͡ͅi̷̸͔̩͓̬͇̣̘̙̱͇̻͇͈̮̟̮̻̺͆ͪͣͩ̋̓͆̽̎͋͆ͮ̒̓͗͒ͩ̍̕͜͜ͅv͕̻͙̝̘͚̘̖͔̙̩̳̓ͣ̍̒̾ͭ́ͩ̐̽̂͆̔̑ͪ̀ͅe̶͕̱̘̱͙̘͚̫̥̖̱̘ͨ̃͗ͪͣ͂̾̃ͤ͘͢ ͬ̀̈͆̐ͨ̑ͤ̓͌͐͒ͧͮ͏̪̗̯̪̥̀̕f̷̫͔̮̬̖̳̹͉͓͉̖̪͐ͯ͋͛ͨ͒ͬ͟ͅo̢̢̳̣͉̖̹͒̏̑̆̊̾͊̔ͬͯ̽̇̆̌͋͊͘͞r̴̴̸͍̲̦̼̤̹̖̹͉̙̫̠͇̿̅̔̉̐̽̐̓̅ͅȩ̙͇̗̬̺͙̳̱͔͖̳̺̘̻͎͆̓ͦ͟͢͡͡v̵̲̗̩͔͖̞̻̦̗̙͌̏̔̃ͥͪ͌̀̀͒ͮ̽͜͡e̸̡͖̠̫̦̠̗̪̺̘̟̭̼̗̯̒̈̎̆͆̈́̔́͘ř͑̈́̌̽ͥ̑̍ͮͦ̈̔́ͧ͆̌̚҉̢́͘҉̲̥͕̤̱̪͖̣͓̥͙̦̤͎Y̞͔͓͍̻͈̘͗ͣ̊ͨ͒o̺͔ͮ͡u͕̗̣̞ͩ͐ͨ ̗̫̦̤̪̗͑͑ͥ̚ͅč̙̭̙̺̆ͣͣ̆ͦ̓a͙̍͐͂̎ͭ̎ͅn̦̗̬̭̯͊͒’̶ͯ͒̾ͤt̗̙̙̙͐̽ ̮͎̝̉̿̄́̆́̌͞w̔͟i̖̣̰n̜͒ͯ͑
The voice became familiar. And just like that it hit, but then it slipped away, but that was enough for the world twist with the chanting "run" dissipating.
Nash’s eyes got to his wrists and ankles. They were held by shackles that couldn’t be felt and chains connected to them making no sound as they moved and barely visible. With gritting teeth, trying to use the caramel trees to fight against the invisible puppeteer Nash was with little awareness fighting back. Like in a dream when you fight something and you know not why, but you do it with as much spirit like an ignorant soldier at war. But the trees were brushed through them like sticks.
Additional chains flew through the end of the hall to increase their hold, uniting with the ones that already were.
I͟’̡vȩ ̵àĺręa͡ḑy ̴w̷o͠n,͟ Pro͞f͞essor.̸
The voice was recognized. And like hearing reality through a thick sleep, Nash was fully aware. And knew where he really was. His eyes popped wide, mind clear. Sharping them both with rightful reasoning beholding the walls they got faker with each glance. The doors disappeared as did the green cloths and the bed. The trees remained, but they would be no problem.
One powerful conscious step was all it took, accelerating one hundred times the speed already gone into the thin string of the shackles was outmatched by the velocity, collecting behind as the infinite hallway finally had an end. A wall with a worm hole of black, glowing lines of code spinning and rotating from side to side in a circular motion.
‘A way out,’ and a smiled came as Nash remembered, ‘just like the real one.’
Yo̵u҉r n̡a̴t͞u҉re͏ kn͢ows ͜it̀ ̷t̸o̶ be ̛ine͜v́i͢t̢ablé.̀ Y͏o̷u̧ ́wilĺ se̸ek̶ mę.̧ An̨ḑ I will͠ wa̛it͡.
Nash busted through the portal, shackles only lasting a millisecond before breaking one by one. And so he flew away from the darned place reaching the horizon of the visible world. Because after all. This was only a dream.
But outside there was the void. The dark and empty void.
Empty, not silent.
Static, screeches, screams and shouts resounded through the darkness. Painful intensity, but it was better than the alternative of oblivion. The man made system was visually unsatisfying by how incredible it sounded. Interconnected dreams, yet, there was nothing impressive on its actuality, at least visually. It was all dark and void like floating in a sense-taking lake.
Nash wasted no time and formed a ball around him with his still stable mind, the outside would be uncolored like the rest of the world so the winged horned horses moving from mind to mind to cause pain would pass by like if he was invisible to them. The nightmares are personal, and so are your tortures. But he forgot about that, saving someone here would be fruitless as they would fall asleep again and hell would start over.
He had to rest without being found by the guard dogs of the realm of dreams. If he wanted to have better judgment when he would be inevitably awoken. It was the best way to sleep really, with agonizing yelps of other people's nightmares reaching you.
But there was something strange about the place that day. There was more in the darkness. It wasn’t hard to see really, a color in such a dark place would pop out, even the color blue. Nash was curious of this but not stupid, and simply observed from afar.
It was a book from what he could tell. Blue stars in it, four in total, and all in a representation of whirling around in a circle of less intense blue with "Harmonious Future" written in white on the front. Then the rest of it came about, colors hurting any eye that would dare see them by their intensity. Five surrounding the book, eight around the book two of which I could swear were a sun and moon looking stones and one star looking thing in the center oscillating around the book in a circular motion. Nash himself could only huff a laugh, thinking, “What kind of twisted circus was that bitch thinking up now?”
Without warning Nash contracted from the stomach in pain. His horrible safe haven shook and crumbled. The sound stopped. The real world was coming to say hello.
A blow to the gut had cancelled his sleep, a grunt and a whine was the intelligent response. A voice stated, “You see, he’s up,” before the feeling of being pulled up into sitting position by the neck piece of my still surviving shirt came about. Nash was immediately greeted with a familiar headache. ‘There goes the good rest.’ He thought while lazily opening his eyes and straining to see what was in such a hurry to have a conversation.
He saw first that he was in a pod, didn’t know which at the moment. It had the standard military grey hull looming over, as well as the typical blast doors. A big one of those doors in front and a small one on the left, and windows which he could only see in the distance constantly flashing yellow and green in low intensity and intervals, a white light however illuminated the room making the man awe in the glory of visibility he had lost not hours ago.
The ship itself was in good condition. The room decorated with people, covering most of the floor as the blast chairs in the sides were full. Those on the floor were tied to the chairs with re-enforced military level rope, some next to compressed oxygen tanks. But then something dark green caught Nash’s attention, looking up, the silly man smiled. Repair bots, preferably called them Repair Roaches. Nash was impressed some were still left.
Not bigger than an actual cockroach they were very useful as a replacement to maintenance for big ships or machinery. In his mind the dark green buggers must have their very own unique variant frequency by human control or automated. If not, they would’ve been opening my skin and tearing people to pieces left and right like everything else control of the enemy. Fond memories. They were making their routine programming, checking every nook and cranny of the hull, verifying for any sign of damage or leaks. They were always a useful tool to have.
There was a distant but constant buzzing sound and beeping sound. The buzzing was recognized as a high power laser, alternative current if the sound was anything to go by. The beeping was a sensor of a high caliber turret or a micro-furnace baking a cake, Nash believed the former, and he would love cake right then. But those auto-turrets do give a sense of safety even if just a little.
But then as it should’ve been a while ago, Nash caught how everyone stared at him. And astonishing as it might sound, Nash had forgotten he was being carried on his shirt.
“Hey!” A powerful yell assaulted all ears Nash panned down as quickly as he could, which was relatively slow, sighting the attacker. Only to be received by a familiar face that was in very bad shape.
Hair flattened out with distinctive dark color, clothes of military application with pockets and shoulder pads, blue silver-lined suit underneath glowing like no one’s business with metallic pieces strategically placed, most looking ripped out, skin still brown-ish in color, some discoloration here and there, wounds on waist and arms, burns of some kind, dark eyes not hiding their gaze at me and not a sign of true age was always a plus. It was always a nice thing to see his sister alive and mostly well.
“Margaret? How—AGK!” Nash’s friendly greeting was painfully rejected through a fist to his face with a fist he didn’t see coming, eyes watering by reaction. Many yells stated their disliking, but by the way they all stopped and quickly became murmurs Marge eyed them as if she was going to kill them all. She turned back with a hump. Ah sisterly care.
“Don’t you dare "Margaret" me! I’ve been in the dark for way too long and I want an explanation, NOW!” Margaret said, annoyance of the situation was already overpassed her limit. She was pretty strong lifting a fully grown man by the collar with one arm, and punching him in the face in the other, but Nash wasn’t feeling like complimenting her would help. And as absolutely nothing came to his mind to say, a tiny hand reach over his shoulder, with a simple game of counting Nash knew it wasn’t Marge’s.
“I get you being mad but… but you don’t have to be mean about it.” Mikayla whispered loud enough for Margaret to hear the beginning, but not the end.
“Don’t you start kid, if it was not for you, this shit I'm starting wouldn’t be as bad in the first place!” Margaret shouted back. By how the silence spread, Millie was looking as if she was about to cry, but the sister would have none of it.
“Hey.” Nash yapped. Not thinking anyone actually understood what he said, that's what you get while yapping something, but it still earned a glare and changing the warmonger's wrath’s direction, “How are you?”
“I have no time for this. What the hell did you do, what the fuck happened to everything, damn it be all, what happened to the bloody sun?!” Margaret responded wailing her free hand, and Nash, at each question. Millie had hidden to where she found best, shrinking more at each swear and so did most people in the room, they weren’t used to those. “I’m tired of this crap!”
“That’s enough!” Roared Mars interrupting the sure to come barricade of ‘sisterly kindnesses. He wasn’t in the same room, but the speech was loud and clear from the walls. “Miss Nash, enough, you will have your answers, but when we are safe to tell them.” Mars said voice full of false patience, Nash sighed of relief. Margaret was not close to calm however.
“And what better moment than now, huh kid?” She howled at her side to a blast door where Nash deduced was the Pilot cabin, “We are flying at a speed that those things can’t match, why the hell not?!”
To her statement, Nash’s attention begged to see the pressure window to the right which had constantly been flashing yellow and green in low intensity and intervals. It had a good view of the outside from my lifted angle, I just had to move my head over a little.
Night time would be the first thing anyone would think by looking at the sky outside, no moon in the sky would normally mean a night of ‘new moon’. No clouds made it easy to see everything up to the horizon. The speed the ship was going made it hard to see details, but those far away were impossible to miss.
The best way to describe it was fire. There was not only fire, just many things that could be confused with the simple exited particles throughout the landscape. Explosions, fireballs, lightning shots, explosive bullets, the momentary flash bomb and even a green beams predicting the fall of the next man-made rock converting the floor into squishy paste.
In the horizon lightning strikes of rainbow fell to earth, purging it clean. No sound could be made out thankfully, which Nash found momentarily odd, but then thought of the distance added with the hull. It would be strange if you heard anything at all. Or he could be deaf, but it wouldn’t make any sense, but it would be interesting. Being deaf. Just for a moment of course. But it’s still a horrible thing, hearing is so nice.
“Because we are not safe!” Mars answered back from wherever he was. Oh, yes, in the cabin.
“…What?” Margaret asked almost as if she was told the universe was one dimensional. “We are thousands of meters in the air, traveling at a speed that can only be reached by a spaceship, and you are telling me we are not safe?!”
“We are always in harm’s way, this "safety" will not last here forever ma’am! Get to your position!” And with that final yell a momentary static signaled the coming silence.
Nash regarded what Marge was thinking as she remained silent, anger boiling softer. He could really not answer her unless until he himself was ready too. She gave him a long pissed off look that told me the discussion wasn’t over. And only after throwing Nash back down and on top of Mikayla, who ‘eeped’ from the drop, Marge stomped her way to the back of the ship.
People opened way in her process to the tail. And once there, Margaret was surrounded by fellow soldiers to calm her, not that they would actually know they make it worst. Hu-droids are or man-made—or made with men—soldiers of today’s world. Easily identifiable with their white hair, and pale skin; side effects of their making and lack of contact with sun, except for the markings on the whole body, more direct connection with muscle and for easier and faster reaction in vehicle combat. In the past some would’ve considered it odd having connection with muscle instead of the brain directly. But ever since the whole muscle memory improvement deal, it was a must.
She yelled and smashed a metallic wall with her fist, bending it slightly, the ominous looking warriors sidestepped giving her some space. Curious from the sound Nash squinted his old eyes, finding surprise on how he didn’t notice it before.
Humongous sized thing. It’s what would be denominated "Giant Killer Bipedal Robot" by mecha enthusiasts. Basically a giant person made of metal, this one missing a head and mammoth sized blocky limbs, legs bent on an angle making possible for the modernized tank looking wheels to move freely and keep the thing upright. The machine was in after battle condition having scratches and pieces missing and obvious cracks. It was still shiny though. Small dark repair roaches surrounded the machine, going into the damaged points and doing their best to fix them.
Marge scaled the leg reaching its mid-section. Not even sparing a glance at the roaches she furiously pressed a long combination of numbers into a spot on the center. The chest sprigged open and she entered mumbling suggestions for Nash to do something physically impossible with his posterior.
With the curiosity of his sister’s situation left for another day, Nash traced back to his current state through the last place he felt anything, his gut, which was strangely flattened, under a broken burned shirt, and glaringly unhygienic healed wounds. Nash tried to get into a more comfortable position but his neck cracked stiff, forcing him in place. “Merde.”
“Uncle don’t move!” Mikayla "yelled" under the man. He had completely forgotten about her location as he disobeyed her and fell from his chair to release his niece. She was in clear disagreement to the decision as she screeched while picking him up and shoving him to his seat.
Mikayla had no visual anomalies, or what can be called having tears of unrest or sadness falling into the dark bags under her fake blue eyes, sadly pale skin, showing ribs with cloths on, the perfect condition person. Her hair still had its unique ginger locks, still vibrant which Nash smiled for. Her clothes were whole at least, she would be wearing a simple pants and shirt if Nash wasn’t a responsible family member and gave her my coat, and its synthetic fur covered her whole.
With her state rationalized glanced to his seat. He was in a trance while analyzing as Mikayla was no longer standing but on the next chair, and Nash was roped with all the belts the seat could give.
“You shouldn’t move, you should eat,” Millie said worry on her voice lifting a bit, Nash moved his eyes to his belts and her, the warm smile didn’t waver. “Tau and Nu were called to help in the front, they told me they would come back for you when you were awaked. Stay still alright. Please.”
“Sure thing, but only after you.”
“I already had something.” She was not that good at lying, not only because she was skinny, but because her breath had no smell to it.
“Well, alrighty then, but do you think you know where we are?” Nash asked already knowing the answer and waiting with anticipation. She froze up, eyes opened wide and mouth closed, as if paralyzed. And spoke.
“Grand A-class pod, type seven. Made to transport huge cargo two thousand miles before needing an energy refill. Engineering bay on back, and no medical deck, it can sustain heavy attack from high caliber gatling or ionizer for fifteen seconds on standard firing before needing repair.” Mikayla replied monotony, eyes staring at space. She blinked a couple of times before her emotion showed again, a small smile. Reaching with a hand Nash ruffled her crazy hair.
“Thank you, Millie.” He did love the little google.
Catching an eye Jupiter and Tau appeared from the frontal cabin, nodding Nash informed Mikayla who said hi on her fashion. The two boys joined into the light and Nash updated their state.
Tau was fine for all visible features, the bags under his squinted eyes seem as a requirement to be alive nowadays. He had his yellow like skin tone proving his health, as well with his messy short brown hair moving freely. His suit gave all one needed to know about his mental health. Scratch marks were along the suit under a jacket he tried to use to cover them. The young man needed to have a talking into, but Nash was never going to find it on how things were now.
Jupiter was the best one with all things considered. Sure he was missing an arm and he was depressed to the point of suicide, but his golden eyes didn’t have a very bad sign of sleep deprivation. Long hair burned long ago, but he still had most of it reaching his shoulders. Still orange though. Why was that color chosen Nash will forever question.
The two boys were in a hurry as they didn’t speak a word, glancing at Nash’s belts they stopped to lift an eyebrow before going below my seat and pulling something under that shook it loose. Millie "shouted" her disapproval, but still followed when Nash was taken into the pilot cockpit.
Displaced into the very generously spaced cabin, a seat in the side was removed by one of the young soldiers and Nash was placed in compensation. The position even had a pressure window next to it. Fancy. Millie quickly strapped herself behind, earning a roll of eyes from everyone that was able to see.
The tired boys left to their posts, Tau to the once empty co-pilot seat to verify something as Jupiter to the screens on the side showing maps with distinct locations. Nash was able to think, ‘I’m here to be briefed, or interrogated, any of which that gets me something to eat faster, the better.’
The pilot, Mars, wasn’t visible. The front had many screens with videos of someone’s perspective showing the fight below, some lasted a couple of seconds, a shining misanthrope, an anthro denier or an evolved animal rushing into the camera before the camera flashed off, a "dead" tag covering the screen just as another took its place. And only a couple were entering the back of a moving pickup scout, smaller than the one Nash was in, and turn off the video with a "safe" tag instead.
They didn’t attend Nash for a moment, so he took it as a good sign to rest. The nightmare was good, but not enough. But it did give an idea, one long forgotten by how philosophically nailing it was.
But that was Nash’s situation for the moment. And even though someone not far away was feeling equally tormented.
“RRAAAAAAAGHHHH! FUCKING DAMMIT!”
Screaming in frustration is always a stress reliever for most. And there are not many places that it can be done with no interruption, and much less with minimum damage.
The ‘MRCC-7’, whatever that meant, was the exosuits given to Margaret to fight the instant her bearings were at check n go. A safe refuge where she could do anything, a place she felt in control and to be respected. The only one left. The last three days had been more than a train wreck, an asteroid-crashing planet-destroying apocalypse level, wreck.
Attempting to calm herself with nice thoughts, out of the momentary burst and fist to the metallic wall, Margaret rested her face between her palms. For her the good thinking would be her long dead husband, and baby brother, both of which she was told dead three days ago.
Well, the brother wasn’t completely true, but he sure as hell was dead to her. Margaret needed to constantly remind herself the old man she met was him. The last she had seen of the little chump was on his birthday to be seventeen, a kid that snickered every time he talked, whom went on and on about the things he loved. Clumsy, forgetful, and absent minded.
Three days ago she found a grown old, old and decrepit weird man calling himself her brother. A shock no one should live by. No explanation to the state of affairs, he just handed her a gun and told her to fight the many things wanting her dead ever since. Only for the reason that she knew how to drive a tank back home was that she could manage the supposedly old giant robot she was currently in.
“Are you crying in there?” A voice entered Margaret’s transmitter suddenly, with a chuckle to boot. Margaret coughed quickly, if there was something she wouldn’t allow was to sound weak at those that consider her a monkey behind her back.
She prepared her voice to not be raspy before she responded in her usual manner. “Fuck you.”
“Yes, she’s alright.”
“How are you talking to be, or better yet, why are you, Ace, giving yourself some low spirit like the rest of this emo fest and want to talk about it?” Margaret called back, a nice distraction to not think, thinking was for after given a true moment alone with her ‘brother’, only if that little whiny girl stopped interrupting. Preparing the seat she was on, Margaret checked, or in this case stare, the board in front of her that she couldn’t fully understand.
“Communicator on the right side of your collar, and those ‘emo’, as you say, Sergeant, are in view of the great amount of sitting still and waiting for something to happen. It’s a world of titans out there, and no mortal can survive it.” Another voice replied other than Ace, a more serious female one.
“Ha! Yeah right, Lucy, those so called mortals are the closest thing I have ever had to an evolved, other than the evolved outside. They give me the creeps and have nothing to complain about, there are still alive, no?”
“And with what hope, huh? We were left to die in this place Ace, and the ones to lock the exit were our friends. We are grasping straws here.”
“Way to sound like a whiner there, Lucy, are you going mushy on me?”
“Go to hell, Ace.”
“What? So wizened off insults you swipe from the sergeant?”
“That’s enough.” Margaret growled over the two voices. “If you two lovebirds are going to continue going at each other’s throats, at least do it in your robot man-suits, ready for anything.”
“Oh! Oh! I have heard of that term before! Where does it come from?” A third voice added itself to the mix, a voice that made Margaret groan in frustration. ‘What had happened to my safe haven’. she thought “The phrase was due of how common intimate relations happened on a daily basis, right?”
“Way to sound like a modern geek, Talia, with that kind of talking I don’t see why the sergeant never answers.”
“That was sarcasm, right? And I still don’t know why we still keep using that old military title... still awesome though.”
Margaret didn’t know if she hated the group, or it was a nice distraction. Ace was like any old style high school asshole psycho, Lucy was like a fiery redhead but without red hair, and finally Talia, a fanatic retro junkie whose whole life out of the military was to learn everything she could about the information era, hence her liking to Margaret’s person. And the only reason Margaret knew so much of Talia was her continuous attempts to ‘exchange information’.
“Of course it was, and why don’t you ask things like this to my brother?” At the mention the radio went silent, Margaret sighed in relief. Asking about her brother was the only way to shut people up around the place.
“Hey, speaking of which, hitting the old timer, which I found hilarious by the way, is not going to give you any friends, with all being his students and all.” Ace was the one to speak, in an uncharacteristic serious voice. Margaret gave a small laugh.
“If it makes you feel any better Sarge, none of us really know either. It’s all in a ‘need to know basis’,” Talia let out another set of giggles, “it’s not like they can hide the obvious, if you asked the right questions maybe they can slip something.”
“Well, like "why don’t we just fly out of here?" We are in a space pod after all.”
“Uncle Nash, could I ask you something?” Mikayla asked, barding in my thoughts. Nash glanced to see her eyes, she flinched for a second before continuing. “Did you have a nightmare?”
“We all do now, sweaty.” Nash told her quietly, just noticing his throat was burning. “No more questions until we are safe alright?”
“One more?” Millie asked in her want-something tone she always adapted when she desired something.
Nash smiled with the best of his ability and replied, “Ask away.”
She was a bit nervous, stealing a quick glance at the boys, she asked, “What did that lady back there meant by shoving your head up your own... behind? I don’t think she’s using it right.” Nash almost choked on oxygen.
“Excuse me, Sigma, but the Professor needs to answer us first.” Tau introduced himself to the question, to Nash’s eternal gratitude. Mikayla could only pout.
“And it can’t wait anymore.” Added Jupiter, patting the pilot in the shoulder, Nash looked at Mars, who was in a very tense state. His messy red hair told his state of affairs, while his ebony lost color each day.
“Your brother has taught you at least how to ask things I see. Ask away, Mars.” Nash said over the unnerving silence. He coughed without covering his mouth and stared at me with an investigating gaze, as if searching for something. Whichever it was he shook his head and looked at Nash’s eyes to speak.
“When we were proposing plans, your proposals were denied, right?” Mars asked, voice in serious need for some liquid as it came out raspy. He coughed again achieving worried glances between Jupiter and Mikayla. Tau was back in his place ignoring the problem completely as if it wasn’t happening.
“Yes, we made that pretty clear, you were there, all crazy talk.”
“Well, we have too little options now, don’t we? We tried the last four and our numbers have fallen remarkably low. If this goes on we are not going to survive. So, could you repeat your proposals again, or better yet, the best one, no matter how ‘crazy’.” Mars plead in the only way he knew. Jupiter got into the cabinets in search, coming out triumphant with a small term. Shaking it for proof of its content he gave it to Mars.
“Are you sure? I was already told mad you know? And even so the plans were proven with people, not multiple building sized ships.” Nash replied considering of what Mars said, the implications were ominous. Mars drank a small amount of the term he was given, making his voice less raspy as he spoke.
“There are more than one thousand survivors telling the complete opposite. And even if true, the only other two ideas are to surrender and hope for the best or blast ourselves up and take everything with us by activating our He-Bomb on Yellowstone, which we don’t want. Now tell me your plan.” Mars was awfully serious about it, and Nash sighed, giving a look at Millie, a specific look she recognized, she nodded and covered her ears and closed her eyes. Nash rotated back to Mars, it was something hard to talk about.
“The thing with my plans...” Nash began saying, recollecting all that he needed to say.
But then the world turned red.
The lights inside Margaret’s cabin flashed red, making her react by nature and hold her controls. The communication right then was saturated with Mars’s voice.
“Brace!” The only thing keeping Margaret from flying all around in her cabin was the restraints of her chair, the whole things turned in an odd angle, but the giant armor was magnetically anklet so there was no worrying of it dangling around the inner hull.
The whole ship snapped violently upwards, Nash felt my back fuse with the seat. Those in the small cabin with time to brace were now holding to anything they could, Jupiter on Mars’s seat, Tau with a graspable piece of the floor and Mikayla grabbing Nash by the hand. It was going to be a wild ride.
A gatling firing and a buzzing could be heard. They were impossible to miss as they were loud as turrets could be. Not even the screaming of a whole ship full of still conscious people was enough to overcome it, only Mars and his amazing amplifiers.
And holding they did. The ship became an Olympic dancer. First ascending to a ridiculous height all the way making sure that it rotated as much as possible, stopping and re-rotating with no particular pattern. Declaring to all small objects they were free to cause as much additional chaos, and damage, as possible.
Mars must’ve turned off the engines at some point as the ascension stopped and the world was hold in mid-air for less than a second before gravity reclaimed its rightful place pulling us down, but not without a fight.
Mars re-directed the ship over itself backwards composing three-fourths of a somersault that rectified the trajectory to earth. But in the midst of the spin Nash passed one point to see those behind. Giving a full view of who was following.
What was following.
They were big, they were mean, they had claws, they had scales, they had a breath that could kill and they were multi-colored. All in one ugly package. They were one of the many beasts that hunted all men down, maybe even the worst. It was not a kind experience to meet one, much less to be in its way. Many of the ships behind didn't have any say in that matter, most tackled and pulverized.
“I hate dragons.”
In a short fragment of a second Nash could understand what was going on. The turrets did their job and gunned down the things at a fast rate, but that rate wasn’t enough as they discovered the power of teamwork and close quarters flying by switching places with the one being burned by the laser or mauled by the gun to another behind, giving time for the hurt to recover and leave to the end of the line to begin the cycle again. Only because of the additional front turrets that Mars added by his look back, made the horde look less imposing, blasting through the center.
With Mars’s spin completed the horizon was at sight, which they quickly joined with the nine g-force acceleration that the ship got to do. Nash’s seat, as Mikayla’s, angled from their controlled bases and received the force from fronts to back. Nash could imagine all those seated had the same experience. But again, not everyone in the ship was seated.
But the speed reached wasn’t enough.
The ship shook and the lights changed to a blinking red to orange, the acceleration eased momentarily. Nash was no military soldier, nor pilot, but he could confidently say that the change meant we had a huge scaly creature of about the size of the ship mounted to the back and preparing to make itself a feast with their bodies as it reached through his window.
Especially with its claw looming dangerously over his window.
“What the hell is going on?!” Right as Margaret’s words were said to her comrades, the whole ship shook and the cabin’s color changed into a flashing orange, only adding to Margaret’s frustration.
“Orange light! We just got mounted by something!” Lucy said anxiously, but it was more due to them being caught off guard outside the suits than having something so close to kill them all. The acceleration came back, and they hold on to anything to not get flung with deadly speed to a wall.
“By what?!” ‘Oh this is just bloody perfect.’
“It’s our job to see! All in vehicles!” With that said the ship rumbled like a house with a tornado inside, many things were flying around and breaking, but within the confines of her suit, Margaret could only guess what was going on outside. “Disconnecting the mechs now! Sergeant you are free and charged, go ahead!”
“Nash!” Mars’s alarmed yell to her last name was all that she needed to hear.
The tools were hard to knob as only recently the lady learned to handle them, but a soldier gets things done. Even with constant acceleration threatening to make her leave her seat, she continued on to start the metal beast. With a good selected amount of buttons pressed and switches flicked the small compartment vibrated as energy poured into the massive engines and computer, last of which began to state the processes of activation.
“Got it!” Replied Margaret into the microphone inside her clothes. Heart pumping hard as a recent family meeting had given her a hard on to kill. She could only stare uneasily at the computers initiation sequence. If there was something that under no circumstances would change with time, was the computers’ slow startup.
"—Boosters, online, extremities, online, central brain control, online—"
The front screen flashed red, blue, and green then it frizzled with black and white. Finally a full image comparable to opening the front of the armor making everything outside visible by its definition, with a small indicator of "type of vision" on the right down corner, which could be switch to infrared.
“Are you ready to kick some alien behind, sergeant?! Let’s do this!” Ace said his crazy distinctive battle cry, the ship made a distress call by the straining metal giving Margaret even more reasons to get a move on.
“Come on you fat tin can!” The "tin can" gave a slow and powerful strain as its wheels broke the inertia with Margaret stepping on the advance pedal. Once she arrived at the gate that separated the repair deck to the back engineering deck, right when it opened, and Margaret’s eyes went wide before she asked. “Hey, do we have any other way getting outside other than the exit doors?!”
“None, Sergeant.” Called out a synchronization of voices off her headset, the combination of Lucy, Ace and Talia, the three synched voices sent shivers up Margaret’s spine by the sheer creepiness of such a thing. Margaret didn’t know if to feel glad by not having a chip in her head which blended her mind to others, or sad for having to listen to them. “It’s that gate or nothing.”
Margaret cursed, looking at the faces of all the people still conscious screaming stuck at the doors by the accelerating force, a dangling rope showing why they were there, all spread out from top to bottom. And they were asking her to open the door with them still stuck.
“Fuck that.” Margaret worked quickly, removing as many people as she could, doing so gently as the "hands" of the thing were not meant to be gentle. The ship shook again but this time something broke by the sound of it.
“Sergeant!” Margaret had already placed seven of thirty people to safety as the creepy triplets arrived. “We need to get out there now!”
“Hey there’s people stuck on the doors, the faster we get them off, the faster we can get out!” Margaret grabbed the last concentrated group of three, only twenty more. The screen stated that the cabin was under attacked, but she was with no time to think about it.
‘Central override command acknowledged.’
The back breech door opened, a loud hiss of condensed air gave out pressure which could only be overcome by the cries of people flying out the doors to their assured death. Margaret reached for the dangling ropes to hold as many as she could, but to all the others she could only stare as they flew away, her breath gone as the people extended far from her sight.
“What the hell was that?!” Margaret screeched with fury at her communicator, pulling inside the last couple of the survivors.
“Mars opened the doors! We are needed outside!”
“Yeah, let’s do this!” Yelled the synched voices, Ace’s overlapping the rest. Margaret felt the need to growl. The three suited soldiers dashed and jumped outside. ‘At least pretend that you give a damn.’
With the back door opened the thing’s green-scaly-spiky tail was visible, swinging across from side to side. The thousands of other ships could be seen fighting in the background. But Margaret was feeling sick with what just happened to pay it any attention, taking a deep breath and keep her head on the moment.
But there was a great amount of nothing that she could do. Now, at least. After however, there would be a beating directed to a person named after a small red planet. There had to be a few benefits of having no relation to the army anymore.
And no more time was wasted, Margaret stepped on her pedal and the suit roaring its engine, steam leaving its extremities. And with the accumulated force, she leaped outside.
‘Back-jets, side-jets, activated.’
The auto-controls worked outstandingly, turning on and off certain boosters located in different points of the armor in admits of the air, the mech got into a good position to grapple itself to the lizard’s tail slipping off somewhat because of the scales but then keeping in place as if magnetized, which didn’t receive damaged. In the inside, the pilot restrains kept her in place, seat displacing freely to damp the exterior forces.
“I fucking hate dragons!” Margaret yelled in her cabin, pushing the arm levers forward and grasping the small handle with a mighty vise grip, the main screen showing how the outside arm did the same, nanoseconds of difference.
First course of action was scaling its tail, then was to cause as much havoc as possible while scaling to keep the thing from striking any weaknesses of the ship. It was the strategy all the others were doing attacking the spine, claws and even base of the tail where Margaret passed with a glare to the robot rider. Attacking the wings would be a good start.
“Take it!” Margaret violently shoved the arm lever. The gigantic enemy roared in pain as the exosuit’s right "hand" cracked the thin skin layer. But the dragon didn’t let go, it would die before leaving the ship free. By the Martians design —the name of the ship— there were few weak spots. And Margaret paled when the dragon lifted its right claw high and back and aimed for the main one.
The air of the ship quickly left, as well as the pressure. Nash closed his eyes tight as glass flew all over with his ears stinging by the deafening sound. The giant claw forcefully reached inside the window.
Nash felt a hand grip his head placing a breathing device on, he steadily turned and saw Jupiter, already wearing a breather himself, trying to disconnect Nash from the chair. Mikayla did her best to hold the young man in place, already with her breather. Searching Nash found Tau who was in a better position, able to hold himself on the specialized barred steel on the floor, using the absence of a co-pilot to have a breather himself.
The claw reached inside startling everyone in the cabin, sliding in until the window’s diameter was too small for the arm, from the tip until right before the scaly elbow. It was trying to reach something, or someone.
The responding wave of the powerful strike on the rest of the dragon’s body was so violent it forced one of the exosuits scaling and hurting it to lose its grasp and be forced off the dragons back. But with the powerful combined force of all its boosters it had, it got on the dragons scaly body safely, giving Margaret an idea.
Nash did a great work to become the seat he was already part of due to the accelerating force, and as the huge claw barbed and brought to pieces everything it touched he could hear the muffled shouts of Jupiter and Mikayla behind. And by simply looking to the left it was implicit, why. Tau was looking prepared to do something idiotic, body ready to jump, staring at the searching extremity with a stupid found bravery or increasing insanity.
Using both arms and pedals, Margaret accelerated her feet wheels before she rose to bipedal stand on the dragon’s back, the counter force against wind resistance and the ship‘s constant acceleration was enough to keep her stable, before —with a yell to the computer— the exosuit advanced with her arm boosters, aiming to the back of the thing’s head. The other suited soldiers saw the action, and thinking in sync in advance they reached each to the arm and legs that kept the dragon in place.
Releasing his grip and mask, Tau flew back colliding with the outstretched arm of doom from under its wrist and proceeded to enter his baton under its scales. The feeling for the scaled arm was obvious as it jerked and latched, trying to get the invader off. Pumping the baton’s handle, sparks of electricity lighted up Tau’s crazy looking face.
The thing’s roar overcame the wind as the arm, with Tau still on it, smashed against everything it could in the cabin, ceiling and floor respectfully as it sluggishly pulled out the window. Everyone could’ve sworn Tau was laughing. "Come on! You need to try this! Whooho!"
“No. You. Fucking. Don’t!” Margaret emphasized with each second passed in her charge. The dragon seemed to have been in trouble already, trying its best to take its arm out the window, but Margaret was one coin too short to care.
The arm was pulled out the ship, crashing Tau against the window’s remaining hull for not letting go, losing his baton in the process.
The armor collided with the back of the dragon’s skull scales with a sound comparable to a tree being crushed. The dragon yelped and for the tenths of a second it lost grip on the ship, but retained its bearings to continue its mission.
Or at least that was what was going to happen if there weren't three exosuit soldiers waiting for such an opportunity. They grappled the extremities in their moment of feebleness, the dragon wouldn’t hold long.
“Activate all your boosters, now! We need to take it off by the front!” Margaret yelled with a vise grip on the neck of the dragon, right hand changing to a better weapon to end the situation.
“There’s no need Sergeant, we can take care of it!” The three answered back in sync.
“You three haven’t fought a dragon! These things breathe fire! It, facing the ship, bad!”
“Sergeant, this is not a mythological dragon it’s a—”
“Shut it! Do as I say or I break you three into pieces!” Margaret said. As if to prove her point the dragon released a pillar of fire, missing the ship only because of a tug on part of Margaret. In that very moment the weapon selection was completed and from where her right hand once was, an impressively big, old style chainsword took its place.
“Computer again, boosters, now! Everyone, now!” Margaret yelled forcing her new weapon into the back of the dragon’s head, pulling the trigger in her lever. Understanding the command, the back, side and arm boosters of her, and everyone else’s armor, activated.
Not two seconds after the arm had left the vicinity the ship shook again, but this time the lights, which hadn’t stopped blinking since the horror began, returned to the permanent red it had before.
“Where to, professor?!” Mars screamed through the amplifier looking at Nash, he was occupied by a small model of the ship in a screen with parts that are blinking red. The shaken Elder could see the "shut breaches" message filling as he progressed it in the writing-board. Searching he found the only screen that remained showing a map, and knew what to do.
The ship’s stability, even with the wind, was still walkable. The adrenaline rush of the situation got Nash moving easy enough to stand. Mikayla was giving him an earful, which is why he was graceful of the deafening wind.
Reaching for the dizzy prodigy madman, Nash placed Tau on the lucky seat. No easy task. Nash even gave him my mask, Tau thankful for it as he breathed deeply into. Nash did the best to not look at Millie as her hands were on the corner of his eye trying to reach. And turning back Nash advanced towards the map screen.
After seven sullen pained, no-oxygen, steps, which also added dodging broken places of the floor and debris on the air, Nash acquired the wiggling mask Tau had left behind in his attempt in suicide. The position Nash needed to locate myself towards the front of the ship to use it gave him a perfect eye shot to the falling form of the most recent creature to almost kill him.
Green coloration, big as I had assumed it to be, with the most dangerous looking spikes anyone has ever seen on its back to tail, teeth sharp as anything could possibly be with lingers of fire leaving its mouth. It was being plummeted to the earth by four small things one eighth its size.
The last part made Nash’s brows rise.
Exoskeleton based armor, or exosuit, as recently seen from someone angry.
“Good luck, sis.” Nash muttered after finally placing the mask. He stared at the screen. The blue radio company map system, a military like map which showed everyone everywhere, at least everyone still able to pick up the signal and make connection.
Nash saw the small blue dots categorized as ‘us’, looked at the air based ones, disappearing at a frightening rate. Each had a small number in top of them, two hundred, and twenty ships remaining. Easily using a palm to expand it, pan it, then zoom it, Nash enabled a location his plan would take site. Double tapping it with a finger to mark it with a red dot.
“Alright everyone, hold on!” Mars shouted pressing a combination of buttons. After nothing happening he made engineers everywhere proud using the base of his hand to meet the screen, the slam making it function.
The wind got weaker, with a glance at the opened window on the side of Nash’s seat being sealed carefully by dark green roaches. Even with the hole closed, the pressure and air was still not restored in the cabin, meaning Millie was not to take her mask off anytime soon. Giving Nash enough time to sit next to Mars in the co-pilot seat and buckle himself into it with no repercussions or yelling whatsoever. It didn’t mean the glare on the back of his head had less intensity.
“How is everyone back there?” Nash asked Mars, mask muffling his voice.
Mars was breathing heavily, eyes distant, in the zone of adrenaline. Nash got comfortable. He didn’t blame the kid, getting on hype, keeping your mind cool to think was a skill that only comes with time. Waiting patiently for him to restore his breathing pattern to normal Nash moved his head to a tune.
“Twenty casualties.” Mars said after a long wait. He beheld Nash in the eye as if expecting something.
”How many due to the giant thing?” Nash asked relaxed, Mars analyzed the screens in front of him. Once he had nothing else to do, he looked at Nash straight in the eyes.
“Good job, it would have been everyone if you hadn’t thought fast enough.” Nash praised the kid, heaven knows he needed encouragement to keep his spirit high. A good Hershey’s would do wonders, but praise was all he got. There was a long and uncomfortable pause, which allowed the talking in the back room to spread. They were quite audible with what just happened. Most were insults to the thing, some for Mars, but it was possible he didn’t hear them.
“Right...” He ended, looking at the screens he still had left, specifically the map. He pointed at the marked spot. “What’s that?”
Nash turned at the map once more. Giving a sigh, damn that dream idea.
“Before I tell you, Mars, do you know what it means to lie to keep people happy?”
He looked warily and responded, still keeping an eye in the screens. “Yes, I understand that sometimes it’s necessary.”
No time passes as Nash asks again. “Could you handle a tough truth for everyone? Remembering that if that truth was to be known, no one will ever be happy?”
“What is that place, man this sh— …sorry. Professor, what is going on? Did you keep something secret?” Mars was getting paranoid, a bit of his old slag coming through.
Nash gave him a long stare and replied in a whisper, knowing full well Mars was going to hear.
“If we are able to make this plan work, we need to die.” Mars gazed as if Nash had gone mad, but Nash finished uninterrupted. “We are going to die to survive.”
By Mars’s face, Nash would have to be clearer to what was meant as Mars was already reaching for his weapon just in case the old duke went corrupt, or worse. But Nash wished it was so.
What would you do for a Klondike bar right then? Not even a second passed as the pair saw the ring that needed to be activated. Nash was hoping then that it didn’t look like a dark-evil-looking-white-code-floating portal like in the dream. But if Nash had watched the man on his side instead of the ring of doom, he would’ve cached a hint of Mars planning to kill him the moment it was all over.
But that was on Nash, Margaret however was with a dragon walling and roaring under her sawing weapon, some scales cracking while teeth of the saw bounced off the back of its skull. The thing could do nothing, having only its right leg and tail free, wings useless, it could barely reach any of the exosuits on his neck, arms and left leg.
But the struggle didn’t cease, once Margaret got to the flesh under the scales, the soldiers were having a difficult time maintaining the dragon in place as it did all it could without getting itself hurt for freedom. Once the earth got uncomfortably close the soldiers used their boosters to break the accumulated speed preparing to finish the thing off safely with a nifty fall. A forest of some kind in an urban area became visible as they neared the earth.
"Sergeant, we need to let go now! Sergea—”
The ripping of flesh with treated steel was the most satisfying feeling any person with a frustrating situation could get. Specific people like Margaret of course. She was reaching the spine when the dragon began to glow green. She knew there wasn’t much time to end it, but then again, there was something else she didn’t consider...
"Sergeant!” Margaret felt her armor pulled by two pairs of mechanical arms from her comrades.
They were still falling.
The collision with the ground was powerful. Margaret may have been pulled in the last minute but it wasn’t enough to take all the falling force away. It couldn’t be said the same for the beast, receiving the impact in a body slam vanishing everything on its contact in an instant, and having the four heavy armors fall on top at a lesser speed didn’t give any good more points either.
“Sergeant, up, we are in target range!” The three synced mechs didn’t last a second feeling the recoil of the fall. Already up and running the two of the three pushed the recuperating sergeant to her feet.
“On... on target from who?” Margaret got to ask at mercy of outside forces once more by the hard shoved.
“From up there!” With a momentary glance above a section of the twilight sky turned green. Nothing of such intensity or color from the sky was a good sign in any language. “Here it comes!”
Margaret wasn’t keen to find out what it was all about. Turning the inside engine to the max, they headed on, hastening their used wheels to achieve a high enough speed for flight. They were scot free.
What they didn’t expect was a family car sized crystal-lizard fist to crack the area in front of them.
“Shit! It’s still alive!” The thing was looming over Margaret, face staring at her comrades. And as anyone with a brain she snapped to run for it. The only reason the crystal dragon got a hold of her presence.
The dragon’s neck twisted, cracking its internal bones and anything that was meant to be rigid inside. Margaret met the glowing green dark mist expending eyes of the ugliest dragon version of Godzilla yet. With its mouth opened it released, not a roar of pain for its mutilated neck, but a torrent of flame that met Margaret’s armor head on.
“Sergeant!” The synchronized three responded heading to fight the flame throwing dragon, but they didn’t get too far. A twist of a ten ton body, and in less than a second later all the armored warriors were smacked out of the way by dragon’s tail.
Margaret groaned in frustration, doing her best efforts reestablish her balance as the result of the flames forced her to kneel by the melted exterior armored legs. On a feable attempt to give power to her stance Margaret shoved her electronic controls, only to feel them too stiff, jammed, the sensitive external parts were still on intense heat. She needed to do everything manually. Again.
Grabbing a couple of pulleys abover her seat she released the electrical control and prepared for a direct mechanical controls, dangerous due to the pilot’s direct contact with all that happened outside, in temperature. The inside of the cabin seemed to be only with a chair and a screen, but it had so much more. The cabin became a tight fit as the walls close into her, clamping into her body, but not hindering her body movement.
"Shit that stings." Margaret commented, with a loud hiss and a comment from the computer the connection was established, Margaret growled as her already burned skin began to melt once as the steel connecting with the her body was one thousandth times less of the temperature outside. The coloration of the dirt around her outside was turning green.
“You want us dead so badly?! Come and get some!” With a twist of her body Margaret was in direct control, the armor acted up as if it was a second skin. The screen was right on her face but it was still easy to visualize outside. The dragon who was entertained with the others was in such a indefencive stance against her that it could be considered a crime not to use the oportunity. Activated her chainsword and revving the engine as she drew near the huge menece. A bad moment for the creature to look at the overheated victim.
One eye cutting later and the dragon reeled. With a roar of hurt condensing its feelings the dragon’s right arm extended to flick away any exosuit "stupid" enough to get close. What it received was a cutting edge of a fast ramped saw which cut its hand like a life turkey just because of how hot, yet strong, was the metal of the saw. The dragon’s roar of pain again, Margaret didn’t waste time in activating her boosters to be as far away as possible, the ground was glowing green after all.
Looking back Margaret saw the dragon’s still working eye send a message her way. Its vendetta for its pain would be eternal, until double to triple the pain it had received was given back it wouldn’t rest, it wouldn’t sleep, it wouldn’t do anything else other than hunt her down until each and every single one of her kin was found and burned to a crisp.
But the gaze was cut short by the glare of god as anything in the definitive area was decimated on a flash of green.
Margaret activated all the boosters she had, reaching a just enough safe speed as the wave of force from end to end of the armor. Taking the forest landscape with it and turning it into a squashed version of the original.
A computerized correction later Margaret was on her mechanical feet, presuing her heart to calm its pumping with her deep breaths. On the side of her screen a small radar showed her comrades nearby. And something more.
“Sergeant look out!”
Margaret’s world had decided to lean strongly to the right. The seat was good at damping shocks, but Margaret did feel the crash that came soon after. Trees, rocks, and even a building left behind made their way in her forced trajectory.
But with the auto-movement of her own reflexes she fared against whatever had decided to make friends with her today. In quick trained self-balance and pick-up, she hit the thing, span to turn her body and shoved it away. Margaret was already in a defensive fighting position staring down at where she was sure the thing had ended, but she found nothing, but in amidst of the concentration a feather meet Margaret’s screen.
“Wha—” Margaret wasn’t able to say another word before the whole seat yanked her forward, then to the left, then right, it was the feeling she got inside the ship all over again. But for the end she was rectified —upside down— only her restrains keeping her on her seat.
Margaret got her bearings, and it turned out easier when the feeling of the cockpit getting a grade or two hotter came to perspective. With a quick glance on the inside layer of the armor she saw a small bright red dot on the left side of her seat.
Twisting her burning waist, the whole machine displaced with her, Margaret was able to get a good look at the thing that had her on hold, or in this case things. She even recognized one of them. Delivering a gift-wrapped bazooka to its white flank wasn’t something anyone can forget any time soon. The very same action that almost brought her supposed baby brother’s demise if it weren’t for the freaky healing process.
The flaming-white-shining-winged-horned-horses were not even startled at her shifting as two used their horns to hold her up while another continued to penetrate her lower armor with the deadly beam of doom coming from its catalyzer. But as any would know, an armor piercing round that explodes on impact is much more satisfying to use against a persistent murderer.
With a push of a button the costly bullet that was a one time only use was sent through the means of a hidden barrel on the armor chest. The beamer’s face took it like a champ.
The central horse screeched as the others closed their eyes from the burn. Long enough for Margaret to activate her boosters to align herself the bit she was in a closer relationship with the floor. The flaming mane and glowing eyes of the three horses faded by their inactivity, revealing the normal brown fur horses within. Margaret wasn’t surprised as it wasn’t the first time she had seen the change. But with her back busters and wheel feet she got up close and personal with the Shadowfax wannabes.
The size was obviously different, but appearances were deceiving as the three horses glowed into a familiar white coat, glowing red eyes and flaming mane, the horse took a fighting stance as they lowered their horns. Margaret positioned both hand and still active saw together in her fighting position as she advanced. If previous battles had taught her anything, it was that the horned ones couldn’t be shot if they are not heating their horns or eyes greenly glowed.
The fight was on.
“To all MRCC units, this is your communicator Mars speaking, if you are listening you have received data, we got another plan working! Head to this machine in these coordinates and protect it with your lives!” Mars’s voice emanated from Margaret’s head microphones, right side of her screen flashing with coordinates to a place near old Houston city.
“Busy here!” Margaret yelled back, the winged unicorns were not going to attack themselves. Aiming for the throat of the middle one, and due to her size it was the front of them all, Margaret made a comical but similarly deadly version of a kick. But they dodged it effortlessly reading the attempt. But what they didn’t consider was for Marge to ballet in a full circle, bending the supporting extremity and with excessive power and speed added by boosters, to hit home on one of the things’ stomach sending it colliding violently to a building with large letters spelling out N.A.S.A. Marge was seriously digging the arm and leg boosters.
“Sergeant? Good thing you’re alive! This is Mars, I’m ordering all MRCC’s —you included— to clear the gate! It’s our way out!” At the lack of concentration to the battlefield Margaret failed to catch a hole opening from underneath her. Something bursting out and impacted the center of her already cooled chest plate making it crack. She wasn’t able to react as another slammed her side, and then another rammed her in the back, then another.
Needless to say Margaret was in trouble but a huge step back with boosters that were dangerously overheated she reached safety. Getting into focus she saw what had assaulted her. She paled.
“What the— Ah hell no. What about a gate, Mars? Where are you two?!” Margaret split her attention at her new enemy, moledogs. Dark spikes surrounding their body and sharp blue diamond hard fangs and claws made the threat. The closest one to her seemed to smile as dozens more dug out the ground, eyes with their unnatural glow and green mist, easily surrounding Margaret.
“You have the coordinates! Sergeant your brother is not going to be able to keep it opened long enough for us to escape. Clear the gate!”
“What?!” Margaret stopped unintentionally at the mention of her now suicidal brother, receiving a nasty blow to the side for her trouble almost making her fall. She stood quickly and circled to presence the roar of one of the live crystal bullmans that kept the plains clean of people by opening those very people in half. Fighting the dragon really got her name around, huh? “Like hell he’s going to die, he still has a lot of shit to say for himself!”
“Nash, no. We need a running start to achieve Mach eight and get through that gate in one piece, there’s nothing we can do— wha—?!” Mars was cut off with a grunt of pain, a comment of his "broken nose." Margaret partial concentration avoided another nasty blow of the thing but this time she was stricken from above as another set of flying things joined in the fun, part of her window was dark but she could still see it.
Giant lion-eagle hybrids, glowing crystal transparent feathers and red mist glowing eyes, both of which didn’t give Margaret a nice feel and had scratches of multiple uses. In the background of her communicator Mars and another voice discussed harshly. Margaret recognized the other voice from somewhere. But there was no time to listen as there were about ten things wanting a piece of her. She was in truly in the wrong neighborhood.
With a screech -- the sound of a microphone too close to a speaker -- a new voice spoke from Margaret’s head set. “Hey! Listen!” Margaret had definitely heard her before. It was the little brat that clung to her brother as if he was an emotional crutch. “I’m sending you Uncle’s coordinates! Save him! Please!”
“What’s going on?!” Margaret wasn’t the type that likes being in left the dark as she had shown to all she met.
“Sigma, what are you doing?! Someone hold her!”
“Get to him before they get to him! Hey! What— no! Get your hands off of me you grotesque chromosome-deficient test tube experiments!” The barricade of insults was delivered in between other yells and the repeated sound of face meeting fist as the transmission was cut off. Margaret got a second to ponder before the other unicorn pegasi decided to join in on the fun talking her head on.
“Oh damn, computer auto-turret and energy status! How much do I have left to run like hell?!” The instant she finished asking the screen was blocked with a dashing attacker’s face, Margaret by reflex jumped back and high with her cool leg boosters, but in the sky she was met with many sharp things trying to cut her open, splitting her back in two.
“Hold on Sergeant!” A set of voiced yelled as Margaret felt the situation to be coming to a free. ’About damn time.’ The first thing Margaret saw was three moledogs get grinded into pieces by turret on the right shoulder of each mech coming to her rescue. But only the moledogs were affected as all the others made a barrier or soaked the bullets like nothing.
“Sergeant, you heard Mars’s call, we need to go for that gate!”
“Yeah, that!” With the addition of the coordinates to her guide system and the creatures trying to avoid the automatic turret, Margaret wasted no time to head directly where her brother was supposed to be kept to die. Her attempt didn’t go unnoticed.
“Sergeant?! Where are you going?!”
“To make sure my brother doesn’t take the coward's way out!”
“What does that even mean?!” Margaret toned down their yells as now free to roam she hammered her go pedal to its end and concentrated to avoid anything that could make her travel worse. Basically everything.
The sky was not even dark, neither moon nor sun had mention on the luminosity the forest had. The non stopping green came now and did the sun’s job at day, only being replaced by an explosion from the sky or a blast from a fight nearby.
‘Twenty meters to objective.’ The computer acknowledged for Margaret to take a look at the place she was moving into.
“Is that a hospital?” Margaret commented to herself, which wasn’t classified as such being responded by the computer. ‘Affirmative.’ Margaret rolled her eyes, lowering her tone to not get a reply. “I thought the future would have better looking hospitals.”
And it was not a hospital of its century indeed. It looked like any other Margaret had known, even had the neon sign of ambulance on the front. The only thing that would make the place anything different from the others she knew was the complete lack of windows and the impossibly giant ring two mile high away behind it with obscure looking swirl-y liquid of creepiness on its center. It was delivering an unnatural buzzing sound and glow with white letters that seemed to float on its front.
That’s pretty much the only thing that caught her eye.
“I didn’t— ah, hell with you.”
And with a flick of a switch Margaret’s screen changed into a search screen. Her objective marked in blue inside the building. Human in form.
“Got ya.” The size of the mech was not one to easily enter. But Margaret wasn’t a woman that liked leaving her vehicle parked outside. So she improvised.
The walls of the hospital were re-enforced which caught Margaret by surprise, but it wasn’t long that it surrendered to constant tackles from her giant thirty meter tall exosuit--exaggerating, it was actually eight. The walls were caving in, and to enter completely she destroyed a couple of floors to reach her objective, Margaret at that point was able to hear something she was used to listen to but hadn’t heard in a while. A magnum being used.
She picked up the pace; breaking down the walls and several floors with her still working hand. What she found through the last wall was unexpected. So much so that once she opened it she had to move out of the way as twelve to fifteen beams tried to make her swiss cheese.
“Come on! I know you want me! You will need better aim to not kill me! Aha! Come get some!” Over the bullets fired and the screeches of everything that disliked the comment given, Nash’s voice was still hearable. And was in the zone trying to get himself killed, because one way or another he was going to die that day, but of course Margaret was reclusive of such decision. Nash don’t think or noticed the wall opened wide. That’s tunnel vision effect for ya.
But he did squeak like a chew toy when being snatched off the control panel of the rift and out of the building in one swift pull.
“What the hell were you thinking?!” Nash was shoved back by loud through speakers as he was met with a giant exosuit. The voice he recognized.
“Hello, Marge!” Nash said in a happy note. I was still on an ocean of adrenaline and other things he made myself take before entering the mortal kombat back there. Expecting to die, but not in pain. “Wouldn’t you be a dear and leave me to my things? I still need to make sure the gate keeps open, you know?”
“What?! There’s no way I’m leaving you here! Tell me a way to keep it open without a dumb sacrifice off anyone’s part!” Nash looked at the robot's headlights as if they were the eyes of the thing, using a judgmental gaze. “Fast!”
Nash was completely out of it when the things inside the facility came out from the same opening he was ‘rescued’ from. Now with a bigger target they had no issue in barraging the machine with everything they had, assured that Margaret would keep me in a safe place in between herself and the concentrated fire.
“Well, I did place it on hold, so I don’t need to be there anymore. But I do need to keep all the things away from the rift and the ships. So why not?” Nash was babbling as if he wasn’t being held on a giant robot’s hand in between its cracked chest plate and with who knows how many things that wanted a piece of both of them. He could feel Margaret growling through the communicator.
“If the thing is the only way out, we’re getting out through that!” That comment took Nash out of my drunken like stupor, beginning to understand what was going on once more.
“Wait, no! We can’t go cross with this; you have no real force counter to get to through. You need to get on one of the A-class pods, even if just in contact with its surface. So let me go— wow!” His serious talk was cut off by the whole machine making a boost upwards almost shredding his clothes, and skin, by the force. But in the middle of the jump, on the moment we were to fall back down, the center of the chest opened and Nash was left to float on no gravity. But was later presented with was a pair of hands and a mean face dragging Nash into the pit called cabin of the giant robot exosuit.
Margaret was breathing unsteadily after pulling the stunt, holding a prayer as she placed his drunken brother and herself on the grips of her seat’s belts as the cockpit closed with deadly beams so close to the opening it may as well have killed them with the heat. All before reaching the ending of the fall and having the seat damped the resulting force.
“Damn it sis, you’re quick with those hands.”
“Shut it!” Entering the forest Margaret got herself into losing the fools. Nsah was in an ‘ooh’ moment, looking at the inside of the MRCC in full swing and use. Always a maker, not the driver, and even if used, never in combat, so it was a nice new experience. On Margaret’s side it was more in the search of any of the ships nearby to reach and take a nice lift. And then she thought of something.
“Mars! Come in! Where are you?!” Margaret’s called as our pursuers were not letting up; everything on the forest was being vaporized to dust.
“Here Mars! Good to see you are on the gate, Sergeant! But I see too many evolved on you. Get them out of the way!”
“Sure thing there, communicator, I just need to know where you all are to take them out of the way.”
“You have your orders Sergeant.” Static filling the line assuring no more talking would be possible. Margaret tsk-ed at the lost mean of information.
“He’s coming from the east. About three hundred kilometers out. He should be at Mach two now.” Margaret wanted to turn and look at Nash’s face as he spoke, but there was too much to consider as the computers could dodge lasers, but not moledogs appearing from the ground nor winged creatures tackling for the chest armor. “If you head with your boosters at max right now, reach one hundred kilometers east and then go back at your max we should reach him once he’s twenty kilometers from the rift. More or less.”
“Wait, isn’t he coming with--? Ark! Damn it!” Margaret couldn’t even come to finish her sentence as any distraction was an assuring blow of some kind. It was as if everything on a ten mile radius had stopped what they were doing just to make her mission impossible. There were just too many deadly things to dodge.
“You know nothing of what this baby can do. Now if you want to force me to live this through, do it!” Margaret bit her lip as she activated everything manually while dodging everything she could, which wasn’t much. She could feel the whole thing about to fall apart, but it was enough.
‘All boosters are active at one hundred percent regulation capabilities, is this alright?’
“Of course! Move!” And that it did. The belts were straining from the sheer force we were accelerated to. It took four seconds to reach the sound barrier. So estimating the force based on time they achieved eleven G acceleration for one full minute. Not that they could hold up more, not without suffering colossal organ failure. So at the end they were at High-hypersonic speeds and reaching the one hundred kilometer mark in less than a minute. But that time wasn’t all cute and cuddles.
“Holy!” “Shit!” They cursed as garbage, debris and basically everything that had wings tried to stop the journey. The speed luckily was a given barrier to anything directly physical damage, but it also added to the problem of reflexes being cut the short side of the bone. And lasers’ being of the speed of light... yeah it was a real adventure. The exosuit was only at its basic components holding it together.
“How far is that thing?” Margaret stressed, controllers about to go haywire with all the sparks becoming dangerous.
“There’s the Martian!” Mars yelled. The ship was on the whole blurring theme of high velocity when he saw it, being the only other thing out there that could go that fast and didn’t try to kill them and had a conga line of many ships like itself. Margaret did a swimming style break to turn, of course with bigger brakes, bigger movement and bigger resulting g-force. And by the end of it, Nash was unconscious. That happens when you are not trained for any real g-force support.
“God damn it, not now!” Following the Martian was easier said than done, and having her brother’s unconscious person slapping her or bothering her as she drove gave no points on the matter. Luckily the unconsciousness didn’t last long. Just in time as well.
“Look… out!” Nash pushed Margaret’s controls on a hard left dodging a piece of the Martian that was loose for what appeared to be a claw slash on its outer hull. Or it may have been because of the unicorn pegasi on its top shooting at us and at the hull to break it.
Nash still stands to this very day on the former.
“Martian you have bogies on your hull, shake them off!” But there was no reply to Margaret’s call.
“Get closer! We can push them off!”
“WE? I’m doing everything!”
“Then let me get off this chair and watch me do something!”
She didn’t reply as Nash left himself fall from the seat loosening the bets. Once off he was in front of the center of his power. The brain control system of the machine. There were only three bolts separating him from actually helping in this damned fight. And there was no tools.
“Don’t you get tired of following me?!” Nash didn’t understand what she meant at the time, but if he had been with her fighting a trio of obstinate winged horned horses he would be on the same pace.
But Margaret wasn’t on holding grudges; she was on taking pests off the hull. With one more deadly boost which slammed Nash’s face to the back she reached the middle of the Martian’s top hull. And she was greeted accordingly. Three horny horses tried to pierce the outer armor by three means, horn penetration, laser beam, and buck to the back. Only the laser missed.
“Wow, keep it steady!”
“I’m not going to keep steady while fight!” She really didn’t. Fighting three of the things, keeping locked to the hull, and at the same time, still be alive on the entirety of the process was one heck of a good job already. The last attack forced her to the back of the roof and pierce a hole on the left leg, so no longer she would move, with the back almost touching the plasma hot thrusters of the Martian.
The three things were smart. After the first attack one charged its horn while the others charged at the giant humanoid. But Margaret wasn’t going to take that again, allowing the two to get as close as she felt comfortable with, before making a true farmer proud by delivering a haymaker to the first hungry horse begging for it. And in such a fashion that it took the other in its trajectory against the force of the wind, to the front of the ship. But she had not forgotten of the last one.
But what she didn’t like was its aim, it wasn’t pointing at her, nor at the ship. It was aiming at the sky. This turned Margaret’s head and confused her to no end.
But not Nash.
“It’s about to blow everything up! Use your laser turret!”
“Shoot now!” And Margaret did as asked by reaction. Nash’s help was to reach the control system of the engine and take off the cable that sensed the energy output, making it believe it was not activated as Margaret asked for the contrary with her switch. Automatically forcing the engine to reel even higher to what was moderated as fine. Helping Margaret go forth and hit the thing in its face with an amplified exaggerated version of her laser turret. Giving the thing a serious case of missing head syndrome even through its once powerful shield.
But danger wasn’t over. There were two others, and Nash couldn’t keep the engine active or there would be a serious problem. But luckily for them the answer came in the form of a giant dark portal with white lines showing codes swirling around it. They brushed off the trees of the forest as we moved forth, just as if they were chopsticks. Huh, I remember that from somewhere.
“Marge, once we cross the rift we will be in space so prepare yourself~!”
And with a final boom and a pair of fingers crossed, they passed through.
Nash smiled, he could even say he had a grin. It worked, he was staring at the full moon, emptiness of space and stars. The experiment had transported them into space, safe space. And in no time the rest of the fleet would notice them and attempt rescue. Nash could have jumped in success if I hadn’t seen an error in observation.
Not in space.
It took him a while longer to see I wasn’t even on the sheltered inside of an exosuit either.
Where I actually was is not the place you want to find yourself, ever. The dangerous outside of a seven kilometer height drop above a beautiful forest near a collection of lights on the ground that looked like a village, the remains of an A-class pod all around, and many of the pieces on fire. Nash was not the only one there, but he was the only one not screaming. And on surprised zero gravity eye searching Nash saw one of the unipegasi trying to rectify itself one meter next to him, and as it tried to flap its wings to gain stability, it saw him.
But that was just little tiny Nash. Margaret in the other hand had it worst.
Already rid of one third of a trio pesky squad, she still had to deal with the last two. Which she wasn’t conscious to acknowledge due to her blacking out when the amount of time being in a g-force passed her limit. Lucky for her, she awoke faster than expected.
Unlucky for her, she was way too out of whatever place she had landed.
Through her screen the sight was of white marble, windows of church-glass -- stained glass -- and roof of sky with stars and a moon, she didn't notice the smoke. With consciousness reaching her, but eyes still unfocused, Margaret tried to get herself informed anyway she could, from the rubble covering her screen, to the busted guiding system, to the feeling the need to puke. She shook her head as she could’ve sworn there was blood on her side of the screen.
Margaret knew nothing of what had happened, looking inside her cabin for an old friend, she found none, troubling her thoughts, but placing that on the back of her mind at the moment she checked for the blood on the screen, the next alarming thing as it could be hers. With several blinks her eyes finally returned to focus, and the truth dawned to her. The blood was from the outside.
She was confused, but not ready to stay still she raised herself to reach the controls of the machine, the screen’s outside sensor once covered with rubble became free as the rocks fell off. Making her heart come alive at the sight of a unicorn pegasus in front of her.
White coat, floaty mane, long horn. Just how she hated it.
Groaning at her rude awakening she rose from her spot and rectified her stability, letting wreck pieces of roof fall all around her. Having a clear view to her shaking arms, but that was placed on the back of her mind that would be for later.
“Hey! You bitch!”
The horse, which was very attentive at something in between the rubble beneath it, almost mechanically panned to her direction. Its face was passive, too passive, as if it wasn’t a moment ago trying to tear a new hole on her armor, but eyes still as wide to be equally as creepy. But once its eyes fell upon her, it glowered in the hatred, glowered meaning growled and glowed, Margaret had grown accustomed to the combination of those factors.
“Come and get some!”
The flaming horse did just that, preparing its horn it pawed the ground, calling it’s soon to come charge. Margaret was ready to dodge and pick up a strategy to fight the thing, but her mind wasn’t helping her and she was losing her strength, she recognized the feeling.
‘How long was I asleep?’ But Margaret's thought was not going to be answered anytime soon, the beast charged and she was ready. But as if to simply bug her it stopped at mid gallop and flared its horn.
But it was not aiming at her.
It was aiming at the sky.
Eyes widened Margaret tried to assess the situation. As her knowledge of the place was none, so she forced herself to analyze the semi-busted radar for information, which she found useless as its height informator told her she was at the side of a kilometer high mountain. At the side of its peak, way too far for any church could ever be built upon. She turned to her instincts, checking for anything that called out safety to her. And to her right an open wall of the marble church was her ticket to survival.
Mind and controls set to flee Margaret dived to the open wall.
To find herself on a kilometer high fall.
And as retaliation, the world exploded white.
̧̨̢̯͖̮̙͚̪̞̝̺͍͘͟ͅ ̷̴͙̻͕͕̱̖̫̼͇͚͈̙͟ͅ ̡͏̜̱̘̰̘͔͔̯́ ̡̧͇̻̠̪̰͚̫̣̱̲̟͇̫̠̖̫̹͚́͜͡ ̵͜͢҉͕͙͎̗̗̱̤̯̰͓̮̦̺͔̠ ̵̖̲̹̘̱̪̘͢͠ ̸̴̢̢͍͖͙̗̯̫̪̩̱̥͈̦ ̨̲̙̣̮̩̝̖̻̲̳̬̤̳͇̺͔̪̩̠͡ ͟͏̶̢̩̘̬̣̬̼̣̩̣̟͞ͅ ̴̺̘̜̣̲͚̥͉͚̪̺͓͜͠ͅͅ ̷͞͞͝͏͓̠͉̻̜ ͏̹͎̯͎̪̞̝ ̨̪͕̼͖̞͔̦̭̕͠ ̶̡͔̣̳͇̤̳̰̥̺͎̰̟̺̙͕̯ ̢̜͇͈̲͚͇̗̲͍̟̭̝͙̥͙̻͉̰́͟͜ͅ ̴͠҉̣̪̻̯̟͉͎̳͓͓̳͡ ̷̗̯̭̰͖͚̙̤̺̥̮̥͚̫̯͕̀̕͘͢ ̵̸̙͓̲̻̤͍̞̰͎̩͇̳ ̸̷̣̘̪̳̦͈̹̺̼̺͟͡ͅ ҉̣̼̩̞͓̲̀ͅͅ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̸̧̩̺̪̟͖̩̯̜͎̘̲̪̤̤̕͜ ͏̶͎̩̗̭̤͙̣̦̗̩͇̻̯̯̝̦͉̟́͡ ̷̻̰̠͉̞̗̦̱͖̱̰̕͘̕ ̛͢͡҉͓̟̯̩͇̖͔͉͙̻͔̯͠ ̴͈̙̘͔̫̫̤̘̞͖̤͜͢ ҉̰͓͖̪͕͓̦̺͈̣͈̻͎̘ ̸̡͉͎͕̠̜̦͘ͅ ̴̢̨͓̤̝͈̫̙̖̥̫͖͘͠ ̴̷̨̛̗̳͖̘͎͉͔͙͘ ̸̷̶̨͍͔͔̠̣̺̲͕͖͉͚̞̯͝ͅ ͏̸̛̬̹̮̲̳̰̯̰̺̬̜̟̻̪͕̟̬̘ ͏̢͙͈̠̺̻̥̭ ̸̢̡̫̝͖̗̬̦ ̸͚͖̞͙͙̯̻̫͓̯̩͘̕͠ ̡́҉̴͔͈̰̻̲̜̳̜̪̟̘̣̪̲̟̭̪͈͠ ̵̧͕̬͈̣̰̳̘̱̺̤̖̩͇̩͚̝̫̱̀͘ ̩̹̠̯͚̟̜̜̕͜ ̶̛̤͚͎̗̦͙̟ ̨̪͕̼͖̞͔̦̭̕͠ ̶̡͔̣̳͇̤̳̰̥̺͎̰̟̺̙͕̯ ̢̜͇͈̲͚͇̗̲͍̟̭̝͙̥͙̻͉̰́͟͜ͅ ̴͠҉̣̪̻̯̟͉͎̳͓͓̳͡ ̷̗̯̭̰͖͚̙̤̺̥̮̥͚̫̯͕̀̕͘͢ ̵̸̙͓̲̻̤͍̞̰͎̩͇̳ ̸̷̣̘̪̳̦͈̹̺̼̺͟͡ͅ ҉̣̼̩̞͓̲̀ͅͅ ̱͚͙̜̪̫̹̟̼̜̤͉̯͘͞ ̷̟̯̫͕͕̤̙̰̖̲̺͙̱̹͔͕́ ̡̢̛̜͚͉̺̙̱͓̀̀ ̴̪̹̭͎͉̙̤̲͓̹͙̺͓͓̹͙ ̢̡̤̬̞̭̱ ̸̧̩̺̪̟͖̩̯̜͎̘̲̪̤̤̕͜ ͏̶͎̩̗̭̤͙̣̦̗̩͇̻̯̯̝̦͉̟́͡ ̷̻̰̠͉̞̗̦̱͖̱̰̕͘̕ ̛͢͡҉͓̟̯̩͇̖͔͉͙̻͔̯͠ ̴͈̙̘͔̫̫̤̘̞͖̤͜͢ ҉̰͓͖̪͕͓̦̺͈̣͈̻͎̘ ̷̶̧̯̣̣̼̲͍͕͙͇͉̜̗̦̲͔ͅ ̴̴͏̟̠̯̫͖͜ ̷̦̦̖͖͍̪͎̼͔̖͔̖͇̼̀ͅ ̷̡̬̼̤̮̪̱̕ ̶̟̠̤̠̼̣̫̭͕̱̳̤̙͔̳͍́͢ͅ ͏̩͇̝̲͓͍̘͈͇̮̖̯ ͏͙̫̟̟̺̩ ̶̢̞̬̠̜̙̗̹̪́͜͝ ̢̲̠͍̝̙͇͓͜ ̴̧͖̜̤̻̦̬͇͓̹̹̮͙͓̘̳͘͝ͅ ̸̢̢̦̦̱̩͕̫̰̭͉̤͔̠̫̠ ̸̩̩͖͍̠̭̬̘͜͠͝ͅ
"And that’s how the Equestrian Terror, change, began."
U̜͇̰̩͙p͝i̺̫̰̹͈̝ ͕̳̣̜͙̭y͓͔͙͠p͚͔̫̣̳͙̱k͈͕̞̫̮̫̯f̤̳̠́ ̡̲̝̜͚̺n̫̟p̭̳̲̼̣̠̹͞t̙̱͓͇̩r̸͖̻̺̣͓̱̺ ̩̤̣̼̟p̧̙͔̬̦g̷ ̦̞N̳̻st͖̙̫͚̺̕h̞s̛̹̱̭̘̪t̬̜̠̳̞̰͘r̩̱̻̤y͍̺ ̴y̪j̸̣̥̬̟̹͈s̼̼̖̕m̱͇̝̥̝̜͙͝ ̡̰͓̮̦̟̟ͅu̼̙̣̮p̵̱̘t̺̬̗̦d̟͜r̼̣̦̙̮͖k͖͕͓͍͡g̴͙͓̝̙
"Well, I do remember her more than I remember me. And I do believe we said to tell new versions of our stories. This is mine."
Ṉ̙̯͊̾͝i͕̠̳̜ͅy̼ ̩̩͙̝̯͠e͓͇̙̖̣̳r̝̘͠ ̵̜̭̠l̹͠m̬p̘͕e̗̗͚̭ ̡͚̮̹̘̹m͈̕p̶̙͍ͅy̶̞̻͍j̙̼̺om̵̰͕h͍̰͓̠ ̥͢s̛̼̘ͅn͎͙͙͇͍̣͝p̞̗̫͈̝̟̕i͔̻̭̫̱̮ͅy̳̩̬̬̠͡ ̙̬͈̬̟̕u̜͖̯̠̟͇p̻͔̥͍̯̱i̢̼͓͙͍͉͉!̬͇̥
"Huh? I was sure you knew me already."
P͇͂͑g̹̥̹ v̤͎̖̦͔͖̖͢p̦̳͚̮̯͢i̙̺̬͝t̳ͅͅd͓̥͈̹̜̕r̡͈ O͖͙ ͙͟f̳͈̟͜ͅp̯̱̫͈̤̜̝ḿ͇͔̺̱͕̰'͇̹̣͕̲͈y̨̙ ̹̪̩e̼͓̘j͔̙̩r̬͙̣̯̱͔͞t̢̤r̶͖͔̥͇̗ ̰̼̣͎̗͙̩͢e̻̹̣̼̘͠p̩͉̗̥i̧̠̹k̞̯̠̥͈f̠̠͚̖͓͟ ͕̬O̺̤͓̮..̶͙.͏̖̣͎̟̘?̷̰̻̗̬̟ ̟͟P̯̜̫͞j̪͕͍̯͈̼̠͘.̼͇̥̼̥̙ͅ.̹̫͇͝ͅ.̜̺͟
"Aha ha, you remember now."
E̜̜͕̪͢j̴͎̟̳̜s̩͇̖͎y̩?̞̖̩̞!̧ ̜̳͚͇͇Ȩs͙j̵̹̗s̳ý̟ ̘̙̻̻́o̭̮̱̖̬ͅd͎̼͉̳̱͇ ̦̞̟̣̀j̲͇r̪̫̙̝͕ ͇̱͍͍̜y̤̬͔s͎͙̦̦k̖̣̟̩̭ͅj̢o̪͔̖̩m̫̲̭̭͚h͢ ͚̲̼̭̪̦̯͟s̴̲̪̠̯n͕̮̜p̰i҉̹y͓?̤̹̗͕͇̰̯!͓͞
"Don't worry, you should get it eventually. It's not like I didn't splash the area with my presence, I just... did it without my company. Like a goldfish losing its car keys and... I think it’s time for me to sleep. Sorry if I said too much without you knowing, this is a session to vent after all. Huh, all that was done. All for humanity. Bah!"
"It’s actually funny, you girls know that, don’t you? Us, trapped in here. I mean, it’s funny to me at least. This prison was made for prisoners of war long ago. A war abandoned, and you ponies still use. Ha!"
"Isn’t Tartarus just as you imagined it?"
"But anyway, I don’t know you children, but I’m tired. Hope you both still are in a whole once I awake, because it’s most likely plausible, that everything will be ready."
"Ready for freedom."
“*Static* So, this is my last message. They close in to my position, my partner is dead and I’m left alone to die in this old building. I don’t remember what I was fighting for out here, but I know I was fighting for my family back home. Koriku, if you are hearing this, remember that I love you, and I... and you shouldn’t sing old style music it’s embarrassing... And to Miguel, the little rascal... I love you too, keep away with your sciency stuff, alright? I wish I could see you guys again. I— *Sound of gunshots being fired and pieces of wall hitting floor* well then, let’s not keep them waiting, shall we boys? Hurrah.*Static*”
Sargento Margaret Stephanie Nash Lockwood. MIA ‘2 - 2 - 2020’ Recovered recording.