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    1. #1
      Reno
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      [Japan / Closed] Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      "We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert..."

      {BGM: "Dark Grey Back Ry (Buckeye Station)"}

      A pair of old-timers sat across from each other at a table out front of a run-down gas station on the outskirts of the dry and dusty SoCal town of San Julio. They looked like grizzled prospectors from the gold-rush era, their skin deeply tanned and leathery, clinging to bony, malnourished frames. Upon the table was a well-used checkerboard, and upon the checkerboard, an unfinished game of high-noon checkers.

      One of the men reached out and jumped one of his black pieces over two of his opponent's red pieces.

      "King me, Rick."

      "Aw, hell," replied Rick. "Y'got me again ya ol' sumbitch."

      "Hee hee hee, they don't call me Coolidge the Checker Champ for nothin'!"

      "Aw, hell, Coolidge, ain't nobody calls you that!"

      "Sure they do, sure as shit, son!"

      "I ain't yer son, I'm six months older'n you are!"

      Old Coolidge was about to shoot his half-senile mouth off again when a sudden gust, no, more like blast of wind kicked up from out of nowhere and blew all kinds of dust and debris to hell and back. This was soon followed by a deafening noise - a sonic boom, actually - which knocked both men off their chairs and shattered every window in the station.

      Ears ringing, bones quaking, the old men hacked and coughed their way upright as they flailed their skinny arms around in a vain attempt to clear the dust out of the air.

      "C-Coolidge!" Rick coughed and sputtered. "Coolidge! You see what that was!?"

      "Hell I ain't seen nothin' like it in my whole got-dang life!"

      "Was it an airplane y'think? Like one of them secret government stealth jobs?"

      "Hell no, Rick! That there was a Chupcabra what had sex with a bigfoot and got raised by the Loch Ness monster!"

      "Coolidge you stupid fuck!"

      And then, the voice of a stranger:

      "Hey! This place is a mess. I wanna talk to your manager. Hello?"

      The old men spun around at the sound of loud banging against the front door of the station. The door, already flimsy, had barely remained hinged in the wake of the shockwave. It didn't survive the knocking assault of the irate stranger, whose figure could only just be made out through the lingering dust. As Rick and Coolidge drew closer, they were able to discern more details about the...customer?

      Still hacking up like a lifelong smoker, Rick walked up behind the newcomer, and stopped a few feet away. He noticed that the man was tall-ish and kind of lanky, clad in a disheveled dark-blue suit. The most striking thing about the guy, however, was his long, wild, blood-red hair, tied back in a loose ponytail.

      "Hey, um...stranger..." he said cautiously. "You need somethin'?"

      "Yeah," replied the blue-suited redhead as he suddenly spun on his heel. "I need to use your basement! This is of paramount importance! By the way, your door broke through no fault of my own."

      "Uhm...sorry, what...?" Rick replied, totally bewildered.

      Meanwhile, Coolidge had sauntered on up to join the conversation. "You there, young fella! Yer one ah them newfangled Sardines, ain'tcha!"

      "Nope," said the stranger, his sharp-featured face unflinching, bright green eyes full of something akin to ignorance, or possibly boredom. "Besides, I hate sardines. Too salty." Then he frowned as his original purpose snapped back into his mind. "Who cares about any of that anyway. I need your basement goddammit!"

      "Well," Rick stated flatly, "sorry to hear that, son. But we ain't got no basement. This is a gas station."

      "Gas what? That's preposterous! What kind of place is this? Tell me right now!"

      "This is San Julio, California."

      Silence. A normal non-explosive breeze wafted on by, blowing a single tumbleweed along the empty highway. By now, the dust had almost fully disappeared, and the full-extent of the damage could be seen. It was a sort of small miracle that the old building had even managed to stay standing. It probably wouldn't last for much longer now though, considering how far to the left it was now leaning. Fucking Democrats. Always collapsing or whatever.

      After what seemed like a very long several seconds, the red-haired traveler replied. "So you're saying I am in California, even though I thought I was in Wyoming. And you're not like trying to trick me or anything, right?"

      "Wouldn't have any reason to lie to ya, stranger," Rick answered.

      "Welp, cancel that basement order then." The stranger placed his hands back behind his head and grinned wide as he stepped forward in long strides. "Ha ha ha, man! What luck!"

      As the oddball man began walking away, towards the town, Rick simply stood there and looked on, dumbfounded. Coolidge, meanwhile, started to shout after the young man.

      "Ya shouldn't go down that way young fella! That Sheriff ain't got a single bit of tolerance for Sardines!"

      "Great!" The man waved casually as he continued onward. "I can't stand 'em either."

      Soon, the redhead disappeared from sight, leaving the two old men to scratch their heads as they tried to make sense out of the bizarre exchange.

      Unable to even come close to any sort of sensible explanation, they gave up, shrugged it off and set about the business of cleaning up the god awful mess that had been dumped upon them.

      And that was when the station toppled to the ground in a chaotic heap.

      Coolidge turned to Rick. "Shit. Did you catch that young fella's name? We forgot to swap insurance info."

      Rick just shook his head and facepalmed.
       

    2. #2

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      On the edge of town...

      The call had come in roughly an hour ago -- trespassing & possible theft -- and the police deptartment had dispatched a squad car to check it out. It should have been open and shut: get to the junkyard, apprehend the scavenger, and read him his rights. But that had been an hour ago...

      With nothing better to do (and looking for some excuse to avoid coming home to a nagging wife any sooner than the job demanded) sheriff Winston Jack took a few deputies and headed over to the scene. The Newberry Springs Salvage & Recycling Yard was a business on the edge of town, the town itself being on the eastern edge of Barstow and known for little more than outdoor recreation and the occasional water-skiing event. To call the place a backwater was to presume too much. Outside of tourist season the only thing worth anything in the area was its natural water reserves and the occasional diner along the highway. If there was trouble in Newberry Springs it was almost always of the local variety, domestic and largely uninteresting.

      Not today.

      The trio of cars pulled up alongside the unoccupied squad car in no particular fashion, and the men who got out seemed more used to patrol and paperwork than actually responding to incidents. One of them joked that they should get a beer with the police team when this was all over; the others grinned and guffawed at the suggestion. Sheriff Jack stepped slowly from the driver's seat of his car, took a swig from a metal flask, and after pocketing it turned to face his men. Of course... that's when they heard it:

      "Hello? Is someone out there? Damn it, I need help over here!"

      Eyes shifted about uncertainly, eventually turning towards the junkyard. The front gate was open and about a hundred yards off was a large crane with a hanging electromagnet, the kind used for moving and dumping junk cars. All eyes followed the voice, which continued to shout, and found themselves traveling upwards. And there, practically flush with the underside of the magnet, was one of the police officers.

      Wrapped up in metal chain.


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




      "The bastard came out of nowhere." Officer Higgins explained as he was nervously lowered by the crane. The sheriff, shotgun now in hand and pistol, safety off, hanging from his hip, watched the delicate rescue. The officer hadn't been able to call for help because his radio and cell phone had been fried by the magnet -- not that he could reach them, anyway. "All of a sudden Jessy's gone silent and he just comes out of the shadows like a commando... like a ghost!"

      "Simmer down, man." The sheriff insisted, preferring to keep things professional. "Did you get a look at the suspect?"

      "Long dark coat... some kind of head wear... and goggles. He wore some kind of goggles."

      "So he got the jump on you, wrapped you up in chain. Then what?"

      "He walked off. Must've turned on the magnet, though, 'cuz two minutes later I'm being pulled skyward. And damn it, it wasn't a soft landing -- this headache's killing me!"

      "And your partner, when'd you lose each other."

      "We... we split up to cover more ground. We were supposed to radio once we had eyes on the trespasser, but... after a few minutes Jessy stopped responding."

      "Don't worry kid, we'll find him." The sheriff gestured with his head and the team moved out, leaving one operating the machine and one to check Higgins for injuries.

      The junkyard was quiet at first, but the further the law enforcement team penetrated the more they began to hear an odd, oscillating buzzing sound. No footsteps, no telltale chatter. Had one person really managed to ambush both officers? If so, why go through the trouble of picking Higgins up with the crane magnet? After about two minutes the search turned up a few footprints leading off into the main sorting area; the officers fanned out in formation, guns held ready, watchful and wary...




      MUSICAL SHIFT
      Reconstructing Science
      Portal 2 OST
      "What the..."

      The deputy's question trailed off as they rounded a corner... and came across some kind of impromptu workshop. A car chassis sat partially gutted and partially rebuilt in the center of the work area, it's design looking like something from an outrageous antiquated fantasy era. Where the engine -- which was sitting discarded in a corner -- had been was a vast, impossibly complex latticework of variously sized cogs, pistons, tubes, valves, wires both coiled and straight... and, at the center, something that looked like a miniaturized water heater. Or, how they would have made water heaters look in Victorian England if they'd had the technology. Brass nobs, screws, and pulleys jutted from one end of the apparatus -- controls of some kind? -- along with an array of recessed light bulbs accompanied by what looked like some kind of incomprehensible shorthand notations -- not in English or, for that matter, any other readily identified language. Whatever color the car had been before someone had painstakingly undone the paint job, leaving only the glint of raw metal and copious rough scratches. The wheels had been reinforced by lengths of metal straps and all the stray glass shards from the windows had been carefully removed, leaving only empty frames. As the men inspected the work zone more closely they noticed that the dashboard had been torn out and replaced with esoteric mechanisms as complex-looking as a jet plane cockpit and as absurdly old fashioned as a Model T. A jug of water was emptying into the gas tank through a long hose while a homemade-looking work light on a stand lit the area at an angle with the power of a handful of wired-up D batteries, casting ragged shadows across the junk-strewn assembly. The entire scene was both impressive and surreal, like some kind of over-elaborate joke that had been laid out to greet them upon their arrival.

      "Someone's been busy." The sheriff observed with as much of a disinterested tone as he could muster. Scavengers picking through junkyards for useful scrap was nothing new, but this...

      And then, behind the sheriff and his posse, one of those ragged shadows cast by the work light turned around. It's large eyes, flat glass discs that glowed dimly in the shadow cast by a nearly pile of scrap, seemed to brighten ever so slightly. Slowly, soundlessly, it stepped towards the men with guns, a length of metal pipe held in one hand...

      CLACK CLACK ...

      That was the sound of a soda can, flattened nigh completely for recycling, skittering across the floor as an ill-calculated step of the shadow figure knocked it aside.

      CLICK WHUD!

      That was the sound of the deputy in the rear flicking off the safety on his pistol just seconds before the end of the pipe slammed into his gut, doubling him over. The first words of the sheriff's shouted demand to drop the weapon filled the air as the pipe spun in the attacker's grip, knocking his current opponent onto his back with a deft upward stroke.

      BLAM!

      And that was the sound of the sheriff's shotgun as it discharged, sending a white-hot slug into the attacker's shoulder. He recoiled, dropping the pipe and stumbling back several steps... but never once making a noise, not even a whimper. It was unsettling... it didn't seem human, that kind of tolerance to pain. Backtracking behind a pile of crushed and cubed aluminum refuse, the shadowy attacker reached into the folds of his coat with one hand as the officers pursued. A quick series of gunshots around the corner convinced them to back off and take cover, one of the shots sending the impromptu light stand crashing down in a shower of sparks. Orders were shouted, suppressive fire leveled at the assailant as the downed deputy crawled back behind the vehicle to catch his second wind.

      Stowing the custom pistol, the shadowy intruder used the time he'd bought to pull out another device, this one looking curiously like a remote control for an RC car... only with a lot more knobs and switches. Long, agile fingers danced across the controller; seconds later the car suddenly revved to life and roared forward, sending the officers who'd been sheltering behind it scattering in a panic as a hot wash of exhaust steam -- not smoke -- assaulted them. The water supply crashed to the ground with a splash as the car rushed away from its place; veering suddenly, the driver's side door flew open as if by a will of its own to admit it's master entry. He was in the driver's seat in a second, one hand on the wheel and the other on his bloodless wound. The steampunk car sped away, veering around or slamming right through every obstacle in its path.

      "AFTER HIM!!" The sheriff barked, the men rushing for their own cars. Sirens wailed as the chase went full throttle, tearing down empty roads with the desert growing on the horizon...





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



      "Hello?!" Officer Jessy McCraw beat on the inside of the locker furiously, hearing a commotion outside. "HELP! I'm locked in here!!"
      Last edited by Nascent; 09-25-2011 at 05:19 AM.

      CHARACTER PROFILE
      The Traveler


    3. #3
      I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.
       
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      Axiom's Avatar
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Not far from the edge of town, an old Greyhound bus was steadily making its way down the highway, a trail of dust kicked up behind it. The vehicle had seenbetter days, the trademark blue and red logo dulled under a thick coating of grime, but it was still making good time. The driver, a middle aged man with little remaining hair and a nametag that read “Earl”, was hunched over the steering wheel. His shoulders raised like an angry hound himself, and his face was obscured behind a scowl, “Earl” certainly wasn’t winning any customer service awards. Here was a man who hated his job, his passengers, and pretty much everything else along with it.

      The passengers themselves weren’t exactly the sort of people who were easy to like, either. It was a bus chartered almost exclusively by the University of Seattle chapter of the Otaku-Legion, an all-male geek collective brought together by mutual obsession with Star Trek, fantasy roleplaying, and Japanese cartoons. This motley collection of neckbeards, spergnards, and poindexters was on its way to an annual meetup in Baja California, perhaps the one time of the year they left their computers and ventured into the light of the accursed Daystar. Every year, “Earl” was the unlucky man who got to drive this smelly, obnoxious crowd all the way from Seattle, as the group was too cheap to pay for any other mode of transportation.

      This year was different, however. In an unusual mix-up involving tickets, they had the good fortune of sharing the bus with a lone female. The unfortunate young woman was trapped in a window seat, wearing a grimace that would have cowed even the bus driver. Her elbow rested uncomfortably on an armrest, her chin in her palm, and every so often she would let out a half-hearted “mmhmm” or “yea” to placate her seatmate, the largest individual she had ever met. The girl was relatively tall, with short, somewhat messy hair, and deep brown eyes that had long sense glossed over. Even more lucky, or perhaps unlucky from a different perspective, the teenager was Japanese. To most people, that wouldn’t matter, but among this crowd there had nearly been a fight over who would get to sit with her. Steve, as he had introduced himself, had used his massive size to badger his way into the seat beside her, and had proceeded to spend the entire 15 hour trip talking her ear off about the animation from her homeland. It wasn’t that she minded the topic, she’d grown up watching some of the stuff he was rambling about, it was more that she minded his odor. Steve was clearly nervous at being so near a member of the opposite gender, and his immense bulk had begun to perspire profusely the moment he sat down.

      Throughout the ride, various other passengers had meandered by under the pretext of talking to Steve, but had spent most of the time ogling the caged Asian. Her lean frame was clothed in a t-shirt and a knee length skirt in an effort to comfortably avoid the California heat, but every time one of these gawkers came by the girl found herself wishing she was wearing a parka that covered every inch of her body. She was on her way to the Baja California Martial Arts competition, but each and every time a spergnard undressed her with his eyes, the teenager thought more and more about just getting off at the next stop and walking the remaining distance. It was only the desire to see America by bus that had sparked the ride anyway.

      Finally, as the bus was making its way into Newberry Springs, she snapped. Steve, disgusting slob that he was, had taken out his 3rd sack-lunch, a sandwich with the pungent aroma of runny limburger and gorgonzola cheese. After finishing it in a mere two bites and chugging a Mountain Dew, it seemed the enormous manchild found it quite strange that his seatmate was not eating herself. He, ever the gentleman, pulled out another of the foul sandwiches and insisted that the girl try it. At first, she tried politely refusing, just shaking her head, but the neckbearded wonder persisted, dangling it in front of her face. As he did so the bus hit a bump, and the noisome snack plopped down in her lap with a wet squelch. Liquefied cheese dribbled between her thighs, a goopy yellow trail that made the girl’s eyebrow twitch with rage. The rotund geek apologized profusely, and deciding to attempt to make amends, proceeded to take out a napkin and attempt to wipe the cheese off. Then his porcine fingers brushed her bare skin, a fair bit higher than where they should have been.

      {BGM: In the Zone!}

      That was the last straw. Saori Kimura could stomach a lot of things, but having a repulsive, stinky dweeb attempt to rub her inner thigh was not one of them. In a heartbeat she shot to her feet with a bellow.

      “DON’T TOUCH ME, PERVERT!” she snarled as thunder rumbled high above the bus, the air becoming darker as clouds rolled in.

      Steve blinked, lurching to his feet himself, only to find Saori’s foot slamming into his gut, propelling him across the aisle and into two of his spergnard friends. “Earl” slammed on the brakes, turned around and shouted back as Steve was attempting to stand again.

      “PIPE DOWN AND SIT DOWN, YOU FUCKING NERDS!”

      This sparked a storm of protest from the Otaku-Legion, but Saori quietly collected her backpack and began shoving past the geeks in her path, making sure to step on Steve rather than go around. One of his friends had the nerve to attempt to grab her arm, but she wrenched free with little effort, her sheer strength knocking him on his ass as well. When the teenager reached the front of the bus, she glared at “Earl.”

      “Open the door, I’m not staying on this bus a minute longer.”

      The driver shook his head, citing some company policy about bus safety, but the martial artist merely shrugged her shoulders and turned towards the door, kicking it with all her might. The glass shattered, and the actual door snapped off its hinge and sailed off into the street. Hopping out, Saori walked down to the baggage compartment and ripped it open, tearing through the metal as though it was paper. Electricity hummed all around her as she pulled out her luggage and glared up at the shocked nerds. Lightning crackled in the air as a sudden storm swept into Newberry Springs, banishing the sun in a matter of seconds. And then the rain began. Buckets of rain just started pouring over the entire town, where mere moments before there had been nothing but clear, blue sky.

      With an angry huff the girl began walking down the sidewalk as the terrified “Earl” kicked his bus into high gear, speeding away from the incredibly terrifying teenager. Slowly, Saori Kimura began to walk into town, the rain pounding all around her, a wheeled suitcase trailing behind.

      “Ugh, neckbeards,” was all she could think to say…
      Last edited by Axiom; 10-03-2011 at 09:47 AM.
      "Those who think duels are a method to ‘honorably resolve disputes’ are fools. Duels are the means to eliminate otherwise inconvenient opposition.”

    4. #4
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      -Three Days before Heist-

      (Theme ~ Casino Night)

      Las Vegas. The absolute underbelly of the United States. It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, asian, latin…it’s been said that anybody can get their fill of whatever dark, demented, or just plain sick things that get them off. And almost every person who walked The Strip was loaded for cash. And this meant that Gren would have himself a good haul yet again.

      Gren Geraven was a young thief who constantly roamed the streets of Vegas in search of treasure for his master. His attire can be attributed to his natural sense of style, which is none to anybody who cares. He wears a sleeveless hooded pullover with a long-sleeved black shirt underneath. His jeans were black and tight against his skin. As well, he appeared to be very pale and shy with his hood always up. In other words…he was emo. That’s right. His style of clothing was classic to the emo culture of the 2010’s. And he enjoyed it. Even his long black hair had a bang that came down over his left eye. The rest of it was hidden by the hood that he always wore up unless at home.

      He, along with the nineteen other kids, lived with a man who they all called Warren. Warren taught them all how to be thieves, and Gren was his greatest pupil. The kid had learned all the tricks of the trade before he turned ten, and in the short six years since, has even learned a few things that came with the modern world. As he walked the streets, he liked to reminisce about the fun times he had in the house, as it was hard to remember anything from the orphanage.

      Gren was abandoned at an orphanage in Reno, Nevada when he was four months old. He remained there until he was three, when Warren arrived and adopted him. Before he did, though, Gren remembered the tests that Warren administered to him. Reflex, which brought a smile to his face when he remembered it, was supposed to be in two parts. But the young boy aced the first part by grabbing the small coin from the big man’s hand before he saw it. The look on Warren’s face was priceless, that Gren swore he would never forget it, and he never did. He didn’t remember the other two tests very well, but he knew that they didn’t matter.

      Gren knew…Warren had found a keeper.

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

      Gren’s walk through the street’s nabbed him a few hundred dollars from the loose-pocketed drunkards that walked The Strip every night, and with every stumble came a new hundred or two. That night, however, he had to see his man in the biz to see if there was a big haul coming to town. He had heard stories, so he wanted to find out if they were true. And he knew one guy that knew of every treasure coming to the great desert.

      Garret Blackfoot was an Indian stargazer that had a small fortune telling shop behind the Bellagio Casino. And he was never wrong. From the first time Gren met him, he always knew what Gren was looking for. The treasure Gren found was incredible, but as it was always something in a museum or on display at a casino, he always felt the need to return it. Tonight, though, he was ready to see if there was something good in town that he could get at.

      (Theme ~ Old Indian Tent AKA Teepee)

      The atmosphere inside the tent was very…aromatic, as Garret could usually be seen with a peace pipe nearby, as he smokes before he reads. The mystical herb in his culture is called Ganja in regular culture, and it is said to give him a mystical sight that helps him read the stars. Gren loved the smell of weed and usually carried a pipe around with him, but always had a hard time procuring the sacred herb so could never toke as much as he wanted to. He smiled as he sat down and stared at the droopy old Indian that sat on a five-stack of big fluffy pillows, who stared straight ahead with very squinty eyes. Every time Gren came to see the man, he always reminded him of Brock from the old Pokemon anime series…except old, and...short, and…wrinkly, and…well, you get the idea.

      The old man didn’t wait too long before speaking up, as usual.

      “How. What is it you come for on this day?”

      Gren chuckled at that. “Heh. Well, I was hoping to see if you had seen any treasure’s coming this way.”

      The old man’s right eye opened slightly in surprise, and realized it was the usual young man who came to see him. He smiled a wide smile and leaned back slightly on his stack of pillows. Gren smiled back at him with a pale, white smile that would probably make a baby cry, looking a bit like Voldemort with a nose and emo hair…but the old man wasn’t scared of Gren as he grabbed his peace pipe and set it on the table.

      “Here. You have green hit.”

      Surprise shown on Gren’s face. “Really? Why thank you.”

      (Theme ~ Toasted)

      For about five minutes they smoked on the peace pipe, and Gren felt at peace with himself. He knew it was a matter of time before the old man would give him his location, and then Gren could be on his merry little way.

      “Hummmmmmmmmmammmmmmmmmmmmammmmmmmmmmmammmmmmmmmmm mammmmmmmmmmmm…OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOoooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo oo…I see a new exhibit opening in a museum. Three days. Powerful sword. OOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmm……………….”

      Gren leaned forward on his knee’s in anticipation as if he was a guy about to get a promotion. “Yeah, yeah! So, uh…location?”

      The old man stopped humming and looked in Gren’s general direction, but it was unknown if he was even looking at the teen as his eyes were damn near closed. “No. No location. Find that one out on your own. You want a dime sack?”

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

      Of course, the anxious young teen bought the weed off the old man, and the Indian weed he smoked was always the best Gren ever has a chance to get. He was ready to return to the house so he could research the museums in the area, and would be ready to bring Warren back the haul of a lifetime.
      Last edited by Jorsh; 10-16-2011 at 08:28 PM.
       

    5. #5
      Reno
      Guest

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      The San Julio of days past was a much livelier place than the dry and dusty husk of modern times. Everything changed about a year or so back, when the new sheriff, Millard Q. Bigsby, took over. Publicly, the man was all smiles and sunshine, a real smooth talker, almost like a used car salesman, or maybe a politician. Same difference, really. But behind closed doors, removed from the public eye, the fat, sweaty, balding old tyrant showed his true colors. He’d always been something of a power-hungry, manipulative brute, but recent months have shown him to be capable of some truly outstanding corruption and cruelty.

      The unexplained disappearances of drunks and other assorted lowlifes shortly after Sheriff Bigsby’s ascent to power didn’t exactly set off any alarm bells with anyone. Naturally, this sort of thing was a welcome change, if anything. No more unruly drunks or filthy drifters milling about in the night, disturbing everyone’s peace and quiet. Not that such behavior was ever much of an issue. It wasn’t long before other strange and disturbing things started to happen though. Weird accidents. Pointless vandalism. Pets going missing, only to turn up dead in the ditch two or three days later.

      These things weren’t enough to really send the townsfolk packing though. All told, it’s not like anything catastrophic had occurred.

      It wasn’t until the big screen door factory explosion that the situation in San Julio really took a nosedive. It was a huge blast that rocked the entire county and damn near leveled the whole town. A disaster plenty bad enough on its own, made all that much worse because the majority of the people in town relied on the factory for their livelihood. This, in addition to the other strange happenings, was the final straw for many of the residents. The death toll hadn’t been high, but the mass exodus that followed the explosion saw the population reduced to a mere fraction of its former number.

      Now the streets were mostly empty. Businesses closed and boarded up, buildings abandoned and neglected. A once thriving and peaceful community had been reduced to a pitiful, desolate ghost town.

      Or so it seemed. The underlying reality, once again, painted a far uglier picture than the thin veneer of dust and sand that covered the surface.

      Sheriff Bigsby had taken it upon himself to build a private army of mooks and mercs to aid him in a horribly misguided attempt to gain a foothold in the lucrative and dangerous world of the Mexican drug trade, with a side order of human trafficking. All under the guise of official law enforcement. How his sordid actions even managed to get under the radar for so long will forever remain a mystery.

      But the legend of his downfall would ultimately overshadow it all.

      <><><><><>

      {BGM: "Outrageous Folks"}

      The lanky, blue-suited redhead wandered into town on the main road. The sun blazed overhead and it was uncomfortably hot, but it didn’t appear to bother him much. Or at all. He seemed to be aimless, but at the same time, focused on some faraway dream.

      Deputy Cleavant Hicks watched the stranger from atop his perch in the patchwork lookout tower that had been erected in a hurry several weeks earlier. Scaffolding still surrounded the semi-completed structure, which really looked like it might just collapse any minute.

      Desiring a closer look, the deputy picked up his rifle, popped the cap off its scope, and leveled it upon the red-haired man in the street.

      “Hey, Cleavant, what you aimin’ at?” asked his partner, Jimmy Laredo.

      “Shut it, I’m tryin’ ta concentrate.”

      Jimmy shuffled over next to Cleavant. “Ohh, looky what we got here. Another live one eh. Geh heh heh.”

      Quite the pair, these two made. Cleavant was a short, stocky half-black, half-Mexican, half-Asian with just a hint of Cherokee. And Jimmy was just a fat mess of pasty ginger white. And the both of them were dumb as rocks. Hard to say who was the dumber of the two, but Cleavant had a far more dominant and hateful personality, so he assumed command of their dynamic duo.

      “Jeezus Jimmy.” Cleavant turned to look at his cohort for a moment. “Ah tolt ya ta shuddit!”

      The deputy returned his attention to the man in the scope, but found nothing but an empty road. A few seconds of frantically searching the area yielded no results, which sent the blistering dolt into one of his trademark rages. And as always, poor Jimmy bore the brunt.

      “Ya dumb fat fuck!” Cleavant shouted as he smacked Jimmy over the head. “Ya done made me goofed!”

      “Ow! Dang I’m sorry Cleavant, I din’t mean to!”

      Cleavant was about to unleash a real can of you-know-what upon Jimmy when he heard an unfamiliar voice coming from below.

      “Hey! Hello?”

      Cleavant and Jimmy looked at one another for a brief moment before simultaneously peering over the edge of the tower. Both of their faces displayed wide-eyed surprise upon seeing the strange redhead standing on the ground below.

      “Y-you!?” stuttered Cleavant.

      “Yeah? I’m me,” replied the stranger. “Who are you?”

      “Name’s Jimmy!” the fat deputy grinned wide. “Deputy Jimmy Laredo! Good to meetcha!”

      “Shaddap ya idjit!” Cleavant smacked his pudgy partner upside his head again. “You down there, don’t move ya hear!? I’m comin’ down to inter-a-gate ya!”

      The blue-suited man simply looked back up at the deputy with a blank expression, and said: “Kay.”

      Seconds later, the hapless deputies stood before the mysterious drifter. Cleavant puffed out his chest in an attempt to intimidate the redhead, while Jimmy hung back, nervously wringing his hands and sweating in the bright golden haze of the cloudless SoCal afternoon.

      “So, you come to our town to start shit?” Cleavant asked, his tone blatantly confrontational. “You here to deal with them Mex-ee-cans?”

      “Nope,” came the drifter’s simple reply.

      “Hah! Bull! Yer not gonna fool me. I know yer type. Yer here to rip us off, ain’tcha? Don’t even try ta lie, I can tell when a feller is lyin’.”

      “Yuh-huh!” Jimmy chimed in. “It’s true! I saw him do it plenty of times. He done it to me before, caught me red-handed he did!”

      The redhead just raised an eyebrow in reply. Cleavant caught this, and his reaction was typical.

      “Ya makin’ fun of me now, boah!?” That’s a fedral offense in these parts!” He whipped out his pistol. A decently fast draw, actually, and a decent piece too, it seemed. “I’m placin’ ya under arrest for disturbin’ the peace and insulting an officer of the law! Cuff ‘im Jimmy!”

      “Right Cleavant!” Jimmy, suddenly brimming with confidence, waddled on up to the stranger and grabbed him by the wrist. “Don’t you try nothin’ funny now, else I’ll hafta ruff ya up, an’ ain’t nobody wants that now.”

      The blue-suited man appeared to cooperate. He offered his hands and the fat deputy cuffed him as instructed.

      They started to lead him towards their surprisingly new-looking patrol Jeep when the redhead spoke up. “Hey, aren’t you guys gonna read me my rights?”

      “You ain’t got no rights no more, boah. Other’n the right ta shut the fuck up an’ keep movin’ till ah tell ya ta stop.”

      At this, the stranger stopped in his tracks, causing both Cleavant and Jimmy to run right into his back. The stranger didn’t budge, not a single bit. It was like they hit a solid brick wall or something.

      “H-hey,” stammered Cleavant. “Move yer ass boah!”

      The stranger turned around slowly. Something akin to defiance burned brightly in his azure green eyes. “No. Read me my rights first!”

      “W-what the hell are ya talkin’ about? Just shuddup an’ git goin’ b’fore I blast ya!”

      The stranger frowned. “So you’re not gonna read me my rights then?”

      “Fuck no!”

      At that, the redhead extended his cuffed arms forward, and then proceeded to pull them apart, effectively destroying the cuffs in the process. This, suffice to say, caused both deputies’ jaws to drop to the ground. The stranger, meanwhile, acted like it was nothing but an everyday thing.

      He scowled at them in disappointment. “You cops are nothing like the ones on TV.”

      Clearly miffed, the red-haired man spun on his heel and stormed off in another random direction, leaving the deputies to sit there in a daze of fear and confusion.

      Which, of course, in Cleavant’s infinite stupidity and hatred, would rapidly build up into a senseless cluster of self-destructive rage. All aimed at the mysterious red-haired drifter.

      Barely ten minutes in town and the redhead had already managed to make a lifelong enemy. And he hasn’t even run afoul of the sheriff yet.
       

    6. #6

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Deputy Lieutenant Sherman Tucker hated his job.

      He hadn't always, of course. At first, all of Sheriff Bigsby's big talk of the big things happening in San Julio's future had lit the same ugly light in Tucker's eyes that had shone so strongly in the Sheriff's. There was a lot of money involved, if one could prove their usefulness in the business...but even more, there was a lot of power. Tucker was a big fan of power; he'd gone for cop in the first place out of a deep-seated need to be the one in charge, the one holding the reins – or the whip. Exercising power was something of a drug to the wiry little man; the look on people's faces when they finally realized that he could do whatever he wanted with them, that nobody'd do shit about it, and that he wasn't on their side was the best look in the world.

      In other words, he was a pretty cut-and-dried power-tripping sadist who'd jumped at the opportunity Sheriff Bigsby had offered certain select members of the police force in the months following his election. Despite that, he was also a competent power-tripping sadist; his undeniable skill and cunning had quickly elevated him in Bigsby's illicit organization, becoming the Sheriff's right-hand man behind the scenes as well as in the public eye. It brought with it a commensurate increase in Tucker's pay grade, which was all too welcome, but it also brought with it a larger share of the power. He'd had more fun in the year or so since Bigsby had been elected than he'd had during his entire previous tenure on the force; the Boss knew just exactly how to handle shit around here.

      Yeah...everything had been coming up roses for one Deputy Lieutenant Sherman Tucker. Up until she showed up.

      At first, Bigsby and Tucker both had been shocked to see the woman all the news channels had been running stories about show up in their district – wasn't she up northeast, killing folks in the Midwest where nobody gave a shit? The bigger shock to the corrupt officials' systems, though, had been the two hardened, heavily armed men escorting her. Tucker knew those men – they were enforcers for the cartel Bigsby had been talking to for the last few months, two of the coldest, deadliest men Tucker'd ever laid eyes on.

      And they were scared.

      The woman, they'd said, was a gift from Bigsby's own underground bosses. A powerful enforcer, sent to shore up his operation and show the cartel's favor for what Bigsby was doing up here. They wanted him to succeed, the two sun-weathered men with guns had said, and this woman's unique talents would help ensure that he did so.

      Bullshit, Tucker cursed bitterly. The cartel'd just wanted her gone and so they'd dumped her on Bigsby's operation. And Bigsby, in turn, had dumped her on Tucker, his most trusted underling. To Tucker fell the task of checking up on their new enforcer; to Tucker fell the task of driving out to the abandoned property on the edge of town Bigsby had given to the new arrival and checking up on her, making sure she was still there, still doing what she'd been told, and had everything she needed and enough of what she wanted to keep her content and, more importantly in the opinion of everyone who'd ever met her, where she was.

      It was one of those visits that Tucker was returning from now, white-knuckled hands clamped painfully tight on the steering wheel, flooring the accelerator and doing an easy thirty over the speed limit even on the highway he and his battered, dusty old cruiser were careening down. It was those visits that had soured Tucker on the entire operation. The money was fine, the power was sweet...but nothing was worth having to sit there and let that...that thing look at him. It was the same feeling, he was uncomfortably certain, that had coursed through the girls he'd raped just before he'd started taking off his pants. It was the unsettling, terrifying feeling of having no power at all – that woman was as utterly unafraid of him or anything he could do to her as Tucker himself was of a ten year old child. She smiled when he visited, for God's sake!

      “I fuckin' hate that bitch,” he growled ferociously to himself as he fled from the old, ramshackle house, flushed and sweating with a powerful dose of an emotion he loathed above all others, an emotion he'd do anything at all to never have to feel again.

      Fear.

      * * *

      “Well, glad to see that everything's in order here. I've really got to be going though – work to be done and never enough time to do it.”

      Saxony Devon, the infamous Goodsprings Mauler, felon fugitive from Justice and next-best-thing-to-convicted multiple murderer, smiled warmly as Deputy Tucker edged towards the door. The man was trying so hard to keep his composure, which only made it all the more amusing when he failed so dramatically. The man was red in the face and stank of sweat, fury and fear; tendons stood out in his hands, his gun was prominently displayed on his hip, and he never, ever let Saxony out of his sight or within arm's reach of himself. Nor did he stay any longer than was absolutely necessary to do his job.

      Saxony had to commend the man – it had only taken two of these visits for Sheriff Bigsby to stop coming himself. This was Tucker's seventh stop here; even the hardened, cold-eyed gunmen down south of the border hadn't typically lasted more than five encounters before refusing to go anywhere near her. Really...perhaps it was cruel of her to let her Beacon go around these men, but she could hardly be faulted for it, could she? They were the ones who insisted on keeping her isolated; theirs was the only fear she could drink from for days at a stretch.

      Plus, watching all these oh-so-dangerous men go pale and trembling at the sight of her was such fun! Tucker, especially, was a treat – his fear of her sang sweetly in her veins, spiced with the flat anger that fear provoked. Tucker took great offense to being frightened of Saxony, and the fact that she knew it, and that he knew Saxony was fully aware of the effect she had on him, only pissed him off further. She loved playing on that anger, seeing how close she could goad him to the breaking point. He never stayed long, but the fact that he kept coming back showed a determination to overcome his weaknesses that might have even been admirable, in a man more worthy of admiration.

      “Certainly, Mr. Tucker,” she responded smoothly, reaching up one delicate hand to adjust the glasses perched on the bridge of her nose. Tucker, of course, followed the motion with all the intense, unwavering focus of a field mouse eying the lazy patterns of the hawk circling above it. The thought widened the small smile gracing Saxony's lips a fraction, and on the spur of the moment she decided to screw with the hard-faced little man.

      “I wouldn't dream of keeping you from your work. You simply must come back soon, though. I do miss companionship from time to time; it's so pleasant having you stop by,” she remarked, recrossing her legs on the recliner she always occupied when Tucker dropped by, dropping her voice an octave or so closer to a purr and shooting the man a single, smoldering gaze from just over the frames of her glasses. She contemplated licking her lips as well, but decided that doing so would be laying it on a little too thick, even for someone as fundamentally unsubtle as Deputy Lieutenant Tucker.

      She had to fight to keep from laughing out loud after that; Tucker damn near dove out a window to get away from her. The man muttered something unintelligible in response to her request and moved as quickly towards the door as he could go and still be said to be walking towards it, rather than jogging or sprinting for his life. His focus was equally split between the door to Salvation and the witch he was fleeing from, flickering back and forth with dizzying speed.

      Nothing in the world could have kept the man in that house for one moment longer; Saxony didn't even bother trying. She simply watched Tucker leave with the same small, knowing smile on her face that she knew full well he cherished fantasies of carving off with a knife. Tucker was absolutely the sort who'd go after the source of his fear with a drawn blade and a loaded gun if he could – watching the man struggle to master his terror-fueled fury with her was far more entertaining than the terrible dramas that were all she could get on TV around here.

      Terrible television and not a single book worth reading – all these idiots ever brought her were the sort of drivel attention-starved housewives paid too much money for. Saxony refused to dignify anything under the Harlequin name with the word 'romance', and had taken to making paper airplanes out of the pages of the Harlequin books the morons responsible for her provisioning kept bringing to answer her requests for reading material. No matter how strongly she requested nonfiction material, they just kept sending her “women's reading.” Ugh. And then folks wondered why she tormented her visitors so – she was going crazy out here. There was just nothing to do. If someone didn't start paying serious attention to her requests, then she was going to have to start seeking out her own amusements and hang the cartel's orders. She'd given them a chance to provide properly for her, not her fault they'd blown it. Why, she'd been the very model of -

      Thumpthump

      Saxony's eyes shot wide open in shock and unaccustomed pain as her Scarlet Nightmare pulsed heavily on her chest, its power exploding within her more savagely than they had since the first day it had awakened. In an instant, the Nightmare transformed her, forced her into her Embodiment of Scarlet Devil – the first time she'd transformed involuntarily in over six months. Gone was the attractive dark-skinned human woman Tucker was so angry with – in her place was a blood-red demoness in Saxony's clothes, one claw-tipped hand clutching itself to the hidden Sigil on her left breast as the Nightmare which had come to dominate Saxony's life asserted itself. Her sharklike teeth gritted and grated, fangs nicking her gumlines as she strained in her seat, muscles bulging with tension as she fought down a wave of furious bloodlust far stronger than any she had felt since the Scarlet Nightmare had first awakened.

      Something was here. Something had arrived within the environs of San Julio and its surrounding territories, something which resonated sharply with the Scarlet Nightmare. Saxony's efforts to suppress the Sigil and its powers had blanked her awareness of its approach, but the Thing which made her Sigil sing its silent warcry was too close for her to ignore any longer. There was something here...an old enemy, from a war fought long before Saxony's world had come into being. In the pounding rhythm of energy from her Scarlet Nightmare, Saxony could read echoes of the tale, echoes of the battles fought in the distant mists of history.

      Those echoes thrummed within her Sigil, rousing her power and refusing to let go, refusing to go back into its dormant state. There was a war to be fought, that power growled wordlessly into her mind. War to be fought and blood to be shed. Power had awakened within the world once more, and the first forerunners of the Hundred and Eight were gathering. The Scarlet Nightmare cried out for the resumption of that age-old battle, demanded to be let out of its cage and sent against the enemies of old...but Saxony refused.

      She battered at the Nightmare's strength with the scourge of her own will, driving the eldritch thing back into its bounds. Already the Scarlet Nightmare had taken her once – it had cost her months of her life, the lives of over a dozen innocents, and an effort of will that had nearly shattered her soul to reassert herself over the Sigil. Never again would she let it dominate her – the Nightmare would be fed, but only on her terms.

      She. Was. Not. Going. TO LOSE.

      After an effort that seemed to span an eternity, Saxony felt the Scarlet Nightmare subsisde. Grudgingly, angrily, and only just barely beneath the surface of its cage, but subside it did. The Embodiment faded, leaving Saxony gasping in her seat. Sweat was already staining the cowboy chaps and denim vest she'd been wearing for Tucker's visit; her wide-brimmed hat had been knocked off entirely, sitting askew on the floor after the Embodiment's jerking awakening had flung it from her head.

      And through it all, a wide smile perched on her lips, an expression she couldn't have banished if she'd tried. Finally...finally something interesting was going to happen! If this thing that had arrived could provoke such a reaction from her Scarlet Nightmare even at such remove, what would happen were she to meet it face to face? The rumble that thought evoked from the Nightmare pulsing in her chest only egged her on. Yes...things were going to happen in the frightened little town of San Julio. Ancient forces sleeping since before the birth of history were gathering here, and the stupid, stupid little men who thought they were the masters of all they surveyed had no idea of the feast to come.

      Big Sheriff Bigsby and his petty little plans for corrupt profits; poor brave Deputy Tucker and his bloody-handed sadism; the drug cartel which sought to turn Saxony into a weapon in their hands to use against all the little lawmen standing in the way of their ill-gotten profits. None of them knew, none of them could see the storm that was threatening to break in this town.

      It might be sooner. It might be later. It might not even be in San Julio at all; Saxony wasn't particularly attached to the place one way or another. But the Nightmare within her hungered for a taste of its ancient foe; its greed hummed deep within her spirit. And so long as it listened to her, obeyed her will and stopped trying to consume her...Saxony Devon, the infamous Goodsprings Mauler, felon fugitive from Justice and next-best-thing-to-convicted multiple murderer was perfectly willing to see about giving it that taste.
      Last edited by He Who Eats Bears; 10-01-2011 at 02:12 AM.


    7. #7

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Newberry Spring, California
      MUSICAL SHIFT
      An Accent Beyond
      Portal 2 OST


      A haze of steam followed in the wake of the unorthodox car, gushing out the tailpipe and a rear-mounted vent. This was one part smoke screen and one part normal function; the car was dumping excess steam in an attempt to throw off the squad cars in pursuit instead of recycling and compressing most of it as would normally be the case. In short, the driver was burning fuel in a rough gambit to get away as he sped down the California highway, banked sharply, and U-turned with skidding tires to bolt right past the police. It bought him some time -- the boys in blue had been gunning at full speed into the clouds of vapor, refusing stubbornly to give up the chase so easily, and had been unprepared for the sudden trick reversal -- but not nearly enough. The steampunk car was tough, but the squad cars were built with high-speed chases in mind.

      Seeing the flashing lights still in his rear view mirror, the Traveler switched off the steam release and adjusted several knobs and switches with his free hand. The plan now was to conserve fuel and try to lose them in an urban area -- risky in any car chase, but his options were quickly being depleted. The wound on his shoulder glowed dimly at the edges of the coat's punctured fabric, a shimmering green-gray haze leaking from somewhere under the shroud of dark fabric and conceptual malleability. The wound was stitching closed, but still needed time.

      And he still had to somehow get away.

      Jerking the wheel this way and that the steampunk phantom dove back into Newberry Springs, sirens blasting like wailing banshees in his wake. In the distance he spied a bus up ahead going in the same direction... and something on the back of his neck bristled unexpectedly. Something he couldn't quite place...

      Then he saw dark clouds begin to manifest overhead, seemingly out of nowhere... and he recognized the feeling. Electricity. Something on that bus was generating electricity enough to effect the weather -- or was it the other way around? The bus was stopped now; the side door flew off with a shattering of glass and a person -- difficult to judge gender and appearance at this distance -- walked out.

      Sparks flew across the edge of the car as someone in the chase group opened fire, the shot going wide of the intended tire and instead cut a dazzling, shrieking, but shallow slash across the side of the vehicle. Attention yanked away from the distant bus, the Traveler pulled hard on the wheel and cut down a side street -- actually, it was someone's driveway -- and out onto open terrain. More bullets peppered the ground and chassis as the chase went from asphalt to dirt, huge clouds of dust being kicked up by the vehicles as they rattled over bumps, dips, and the occasional low-lying shrub. If it weren't for the fact that these cops were mostly desk jockeys they might actually have executed the chase with some measure of skill and had the "bandit" cornered before now; as it stood they were keeping up but not well.

      And then the rain began to fall... and whatever cover the dust wake of his vehicle might have offered was quickly drowned out as the water fell from on high. The former hero never missed a beat; when water is your fuel, rain is free gas. A lever alongside the parking brake was shifted up and left, opening up small intake tubes that had been strategically placed where water flowed down the angled curves of the car, and instantly the fuel meter began to tick slowly upward. This sudden storm was giving him the fuel desperately needed to continue this chase, even as the scavenged upholstery and the traveler's own coat began to dampen from the rain pouring in through glassless windows. The engine roared loudly as he redirected some of the new intake, funneling it into a compression chamber. The turbo meter slowly began to rise. Now he had what he needed.

      By now the girl could likely hear the sirens, even over the downpour and its occasional thunderclaps. The Traveler's car swung back onto the main road almost a full mile from where it had gotten off, U-turning again to face the back of the fleeing bus. He gunned the engine, putting pedal to metal straight down the straightaway...

      ... and pulled to a screeching stop a dozen feet from the young storm maiden. The passenger door flew open mechanically, an open invitation. She would have no idea who this total stranger out of nowhere was or why he seemed suddenly to be offering to help her, of course. All she'd see was a bizarre car with its door open facing her, a trio of cop cars coming up in hot pursuit --

      -- and a pair of dimly glowing goggles looking at her, waiting for her to make a choice.

      CHARACTER PROFILE
      The Traveler


    8. #8
      I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.
       
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      {BGM: Well this is unexpected… }

      The rain came down in sheets, drenching any and everything unfortunate enough to be caught outdoors, except for the young girl that had caused it. It seemed to slide around her, never so much as a drop touching the jet-black dustmop that was her hair, the large droplets spattering on the pavement in such a way that not even her brown slip-on shoes got wet. For a long moment, Saori stood watching the speeding bus and the geeks pressed against the back window, their mouths open and eyes wider than dinner plates. They certainly hadn’t expected the quiet, bored looking girl to be one of these new “meta-humans” that were all over the news. After all, she’d looked ordinary enough, and while the T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Best Fighter Spirit” had seemed strange, they had assumed it was a reference to some anime. Several of them were frantically taking photos, the electricity transmitted from the cell-phones practically tangible to the storm god, but she merely shrugged.

      As the bus blasted away, Saori finally noticed that there was another sound in the air, police sirens. The high pitched whine of the American alert caused her to wince slightly, and instantly begin searching for the source. Seconds later, the girl found herself staring at the strangest car she had ever seen. It just suddenly sped by, U-turned, and screeched to a halt a few feet away. At first she cocked her head to one side, a faintly quizzical expression on her face, but when the door swung open that changed to goggled eyed befuddlement. The driver was something altogether…unhuman, but something about the way his glowing green goggles reminded her of something she just couldn’t place. She wasn’t afraid, and she felt that she shouldn’t be, but the…whatever it is definitely left her feeling somewhat curious.

      {BGM: and in she goes…heedless of consequences}


      The car itself, Saori could tell, was something entirely different from the police cars blasting down the street. Electrical impulses sparked throughout the vehicle, and the scrapyard construction seemed to be made almost entirely out of brass. This was a work of art, something utterly not of this world, and a thing worth investigating. With a shrug, Saori grabbed her suitcase and leapt inside. After all, if this thing wanted to hurt her, he’d have a hell of a surprise dealing with the fact that she could turn the entire car into a super-conductive death-box.

      As she sat down, the door swung shut with a mechanical -click-, leaving Saori alone with the stranger. She couldn’t take her eyes off him, his shadowed frame dominating her vision. She could feel the impulses of synapses firing within his…body, but something felt even more off about it. The man’s shoulder seemed to be bleeding from some wound, but whatever was leaking out definitely wasn’t blood. Shaking her head, she blinked a few times before saying anything. The sight was, even for someone blessed as she was, quite strange and very…very…disquieting.

      “Uh…arigatou, thank you. Are you ok, mister?”

      After a pause, she decided to offer him up her false name, just to be on the safe side.

      “I’m Chiyase. What’s your name? And…are these cops after you?”
      Last edited by Axiom; 10-03-2011 at 02:44 PM.
      "Those who think duels are a method to ‘honorably resolve disputes’ are fools. Duels are the means to eliminate otherwise inconvenient opposition.”

    9. #9

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      And the Traveler spoke... not a word.

      While she'd been getting into the retro-tech car the Newberry Springs sheriff and his cadre pulled up behind them; no sooner had "Chiyase" finished speaking than men with guns were popping out of squad car doors, their weapons trained on the freakish figure with the glowing goggles. Phrases like "Get out of the car!!" "Show us your hands!" and "He's got a hostage!" mixed with the sound of falling rain and cacophony of thunder to create a maelstrom of sound. Yet the men kept their distance, ready to dash back into their squad cars if the steampunk phantom decided to resume the chase. He looked at the angry men with the dispassionate gleam of heavy goggles, betraying no real emotion. He said nothing. The actions and reactions of this person seemed completely inhuman -- not monstrous or mechanical, but still oddly foreign from what any right-thinking human being would do. Start a chase with the cops only to pull over and offer a random girl a ride? It seemed absurd, utterly illogical, and he wasn't saying or doing anything to suggest otherwise.

      His left hand stayed on the wheel while his right drifted over to a switch with a gauge and an unlit red light next to it. There was no label, but he knew it was the right one. He knew it like he knew how to bend his arm, walk, or make a fist. The car was more than just his contraption; deep within the faux mechanica lay a tiny spark of something imperceptible, something impossible. A droplet of his own essence. A tiny miracle. He knew the car; the car knew him, and it whispered its silent anticipation as his finger rested on the switch.

      Click.

      The gauge lit up. The car thundered from within, electrical, hydrodynamic, and other-natural power coursing through it like a living thing. The Traveler slammed down hard on the gas, yanking the wheel as tires shrieked seconds before the entire vehicle began to move. And move it did. Hydroplaning on the puddled water for just a second, the car lurched down the highway with a force like a rocket taking off, leaving a solid wall of superheated steam in its wake. As they were forced back into their seats the Traveler put a hand on his passenger's shoulder, as if to steady her or reassure her. The gesture was, in fact, neither... for at that point of contact an entire memory, the memory of diving into the eye of an endless storm, flashed through the young girl's mind {LINK}. There was no pretense to the psychic touch, no sense of invasion or control. It was as though the girl could "see" what he was showing her on an old fashioned movie screen somewhere in her mind's eye. Along with the tragic story came the echoes of the Traveler's emotions -- confusion, loss, displacement... hope.

      And a strong desire to know where he was, why these angry men wanted his car... and why he'd been brought into this strange, hostile world. There was something simplistic, almost childlike about the way this phantasm presented its thoughts, something that was both innocent and world-weary, ignorant but curious, trusting... and deeply, deeply lonely. All this presented itself to Saori's mind at the moment of touch.

      There was also a response to her questions, though not in anything as concrete as words. A distant sensation of mild pain coupled with the knowledge that it was subsiding; he desired to reassure her that his wound was nothing serious. As to a name... the thought that seemed directed at that question was the mental equivalent of a shrug. She could call him whatever she wanted; in the thought's backdrop a feeling of emptiness at the thought of 'name' could be felt, the same way that long-standing furniture leaves a tracing of itself when it's taken away. He was looking for something... but didn't know what. And so he kept moving where inclination led him. That was what best described him. Drifter. Vagabond.

      Traveler.

      The moment passed and his hand lifted, reaching forward to grip the wheel tightly as the car blazed down the highway at speeds well beyond 100 MPH. The raindrops became bullets of water that shattered violently against his goggles only to be torn off by the windstream; never, of course, did they approach their mistress. After what seemed a miniature eternity the car shuddered and heaved, the steam-powered turbo system hitting empty as the red light began flashing. He hit the switch and the machine began to approach normal speeds again. It had only been a minute, two at most, but the sheriff and his squad cars were tiny flecks of color and motion in the rear-view mirror. The turbo had performed exactly as hoped, perhaps even a bit better.

      The Traveler's hand found its way to his passenger's shoulder again, almost apologetically as he hesitated momentarily. He expressed a sense of embarrassment, then and a questioning as to where she had been trying to go. He was offering, it seemed, to take her wherever she desired.
      Last edited by Nascent; 10-22-2011 at 04:09 PM.

      CHARACTER PROFILE
      The Traveler


    10. #10
      I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.
       
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      1,250

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      As the Traveler laid his hand on her shoulder, Saori went rigid, her whole body tensing up and preparing to spring, completely oblivious to the breakneck speeds they were travelling at. It was a reflex, a defensive reaction deeply ingrained into her; something beaten into her by countless hours spent tumbling around in a dojo. The girl’s fist clenched immediately, but when the phantom revealed his thoughts to her, her resolve to break his face apart evaporated. She remained tense, but decided that perhaps a beating was unwarrented. The stranger’s mental projections were…not what she’d expected at all. Saori was no stranger to telepathic communication, as her initial contact with the storm god she had subsumed, as well as her tutor in divinity, and even the Void that she held onto had all called to her without words. In this Traveler, Saori sensed not even a tenth of the malice Namukami had borne when he attempted to dominate her mind and body. His feelings of curiosity she mirrored, as she had no idea where he was from, or what he even really was. A ghost maybe? she mused as she felt the horrible loneliness within the creature, but ghosts didn’t bleed. No, he was something different and new, entirely from beyond the reality she knew.

      And then the moment ended. The stranger withdrew his hand, and the car slowed down dramatically. Saori blinked a little, she had barely noticed the speed with which the machine moved. The curious sensation of sharing the Traveler’s thoughts for a moment had moved her from a questioningly curious mood to a quiet, contemplative one. This guy could very well be someone who actually needed her help, in a way that most normal people just couldn’t deal with. Part of her was creeped out and wary of this odd individual, since the weird technology and lack of speech was more than slightly off-putting. But another part of Saori remembered what it was like to be confused and in a strange world. Namikami had been like that when he had first attempted to overpower her mind, the shock of seeing the modern, developed world driving him into a bewildered state that ultimately became a part of the girl who’d taken his mantle. Even Tesshin, the god of wisdom who’d explained many things to her had been more than a little disoriented by the changes wrought to the world in his absence. She had reciprocated, sharing what she knew of the world since the power of the gods had waned, and in the process had become somewhat used to mental communication. Perhaps another might have been a worldlier teacher for the Traveler, but Saori couldn’t help but feel that she may be his best connection for the moment. And so, a young girl from a distant land resolved to help this phantasm find his way.

      When the Traveler silently brushed her shoulder once more, she didn’t even tense, accepting the contact. At his offer, the storm-goddess smiled gentle, and giggled just a little at the thought of needing help to travel somewhere. This strange vehicle was curious enough, but she could move with the speed of a bolt of lightning, her divine right far outstripping even the turbo boost of the steampunk marvel. She attempted to project the thoughts back at the stranger, wondering if he could sense them as well as send them.

      “Its no problem, I was only taking that bus because I wanted to see the scenery. I’m from a land very far away and this country is famous in this world. But, if you would like to, I was heading south to a place called Baja California,” Saori said out loud, just in case the Traveler couldn’t pick up her thoughts. “It is a fairly long trip, many hours away. I was going to participate in a fighting tournament.”

      Saori understood this might seem odd to the Traveler, why someone so young would want to put herself into a situation where pain and hurt were inevitable. She attempted to send images of past experiences in such tournaments, the feeling of accomplishment and elation at proving herself and expanding her martial-portfolio overwhelming any thoughts or cares about being hurt. She also showed him thoughts of the post-fight parties where she was approached by the much larger men she’d flattened in the ring, all of them congratulating her and complimenting her. The feelings she shared were akin to being viewed as a little sister, someone who held a mutual bond with these modern warriors through martial prowess instead of blood. Finally, she offered an image of her father, Takuma. The smiling image of a strong man, with graying hair and strong muscles pervaded her thoughts. His arms were crossed, a kind look sparkled in his eyes, and the sun shone brilliantly behind him. A powerful, juvenile feeling of incompleteness, but also the fervent desire to grow overwhelmed all the other images Saori might have been sending now. She had an unmistakable feeling that meeting the Traveler was more than coincidence, and that he was an important step in her own journey towards whatever she was missing.

      “Meeting was more than fate, Traveler. Let me help you understand this world, and perhaps we can find out more about both ourselves in the process,” she finally said in a voice rather unlike before. Her divine nature was manifesting, an ancient voice that was vastly different than the curious teen on the outside. This transformation lasted only an instant, Saori returning to normal with a sigh, her shoulders slumped slightly. She looked up at those two goggles expectantly, wearing a cheeky, teenaged grin.

      “So, lets go south together then, ne?”
      "Those who think duels are a method to ‘honorably resolve disputes’ are fools. Duels are the means to eliminate otherwise inconvenient opposition.”

    11. #11
      Reno
      Guest

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      {BGM: "The Entertainer"}

      Not long after his little exchange with the dynamic dimwits, the red-haired wanderer found himself in the middle of Main Street. Of course, he had no idea that it was Main Street. Nor did he really care. In fact, the only thing he cared about at the moment was the odd sensation that radiated from the True Heaven Cross upon the back of his right hand.

      It was itchy and it wasn’t going away.

      He cursed under his breath as he scratched the irritated area to no avail. Then his keen eyes spied a pharmacy, and unlike the rest of the buildings in town, this one wasn’t all boarded up. What’s more, it appeared to be in pretty good shape; well-maintained, even. He approached the pharmacy and noticed that the main store lights were out and the ‘Sorry, We’re Closed’ faced outward. Cupping his hands around his eyes, the redhead peered through the dirty front window, and noticed that the door on the far side of the interior was slightly ajar, and that the lights in the back room were on.

      “Closed my ass,” he said to himself. “It’s barely past lunch.”

      He didn’t actually know what time it was. Didn’t own any sort of timepiece. It was merely a lucky guess on his part that it happened to be early afternoon. He would have said the same thing in the middle of the night, or at the break of dawn.

      “Welp, I need some soothing balm for my...huh?”

      “YIKES AND AWAAAY!”

      The redhead looked up just in time to watch a scruffy little Mexican boy clad in an oversized sombrero and colourful poncho swinging overhead on some kind of grappling-line. The boy was clearly up to mischief of the highest order, which was always a splendid sight to behold in the blue-suited man’s eyes. In fact it pleased him so much that he forgot all about the minor irritation in his right hand, and abandoned his plans to ransack the pharmacy.

      As expected (the redhead’s foresight was remarkable), the boy biffed hard on the landing. His rope was too short and his form decidedly amateurish. Poor kid never stood a chance, really. The rambunctious brat slammed face-first midway up the solid red brick wall of the old hotel across the alleyway from the pharmacy. Then he slid down into the conveniently placed old dumpster full of rancid garbage. The redhead managed to hold his laughter in for about half a second before losing it and cackling like a lunatic. You’d think a sensible, responsible adult would at least check on the kid and make sure he was all right. Not this guy though. Didn’t actually need to check with his eyes. He knew without seeing. Some might call him gifted. He himself didn’t necessarily know one way or the other.

      So while the red-haired drifter rolled on the ground laughing it up like the maddest of the madmen, the little Mexican boy managed to pull himself out of the trash and stumble into the street. Clearly upset, nearly on the verge of tears, the boy shouted at the clownish man.

      “It’s not FUNNY! Stop LAUGHING you big BULLY!”

      The redhead stopped briefly, and blinked at the boy, who stood there covered in garbage, including a perfectly-placed banana peel dangling from the corner of his comically large sombrero.

      And the drifter laughed even harder than before.

      It was nearly a solid minute later before the man finally managed to calm down. Through some miracle, the boy toughed it out, though his cheeks were blazing red with embarrassment.

      Still sitting on the ground, the red-haired stranger wiped a tear from the corner of his eye and leaned forward.

      “Ah, ha ha ha, man...I haven’t laughed that hard since Denver. Thanks, kid.” The redhead stood up and began dusting himself off.

      “My name’s not kid,” the boy replied. “The name’s Pepi.”

      “Is that right.” The redhead raised a curious eyebrow. “Why’d your parents name you after a cola drink?”

      “Idiot. I said PEPI, not PEPSI.”

      “I sure could go for one right now,” the man replied as he nonchalantly glanced around.

      The boy just shook his head. “So what’s your name, huh?”

      At this, the redhead grinned wide and took on an air of smugness. “The name’s Captain Crim El Furaga. You’ve probably heard of me.”

      The boy just shrugged. “Captain of what?”

      “Captain of the greatest band of hero outlaws in history, of course.”

      The boy looked around. Another light gust of wind blew another tumbleweed by in the background. “I don’t see any band of outlaws anywhere. Where are they?”

      Unflinching, Crim replied: “They’re out there, somewhere. I just hafta find them.”

      Unsurprisingly, the boy was less than impressed.

      “You’re weird, Mister Crim. But you’re funny. I’ll forgive you for laughing at me.”

      “What the hell were you doing, anyway?” asked the ‘Captain’.

      “I, um...errh, well...”

      “Tryin’ to get the drop on me, eh?”

      The look of shock in the boy’s eyes was all the confession Crim needed. He laughed, but in a good-natured way.

      “Don’t worry about it. We all gotta do what it takes to survive. But where are your parents?”

      At this, Pepi’s expression darkened.

      “They...they’re...they’re gone. My big sister Annabelle was looking after me, but...she disappeared too. Just like everyone else in town.”

      Crim scratched his head. “Well why didn’t you just go with them?”

      “They didn’t just leave on their own!” Pepi shouted, suddenly angry. “They were taken! It’s all because of Bigsby and his gang! They act like cops, but they’re really monsters! I saw one of them turn into one!”

      Crim’s expression lit up. “Monsters? Really?”

      “Yuh-huh.” The boy nodded. “And they’re strong, real strong. And mean. That’s why I’ve been training. I’m gonna rescue mom and dad and sis and everyone else too. Just watch!”

      And before Crim could object (not that he would have, mind you), young Pepi spun around and took off down the street, towards the southwest.

      Not having anything better to do, and no longer being tormented by the True Heaven Cross, Crim shrugged, stuck his hands in his pockets, and sauntered on after the kid. If the little runt was really telling the truth about these guys being a bunch of mutant monsters, there was no telling what kind of danger lurked ahead.

      It was just the kind of adventure Crim was looking for. Plus, he had a feeling in the back of his mind. A nagging sensation that wouldn’t go away. It compelled him to investigate matters further.
       

    12. #12
      Like the Fist of an Angry God...
       
      Negatomsk's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 2005
      Posts
      124
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      767

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      [Tunes to Ride To: Redman ft. E3 - Ride]

      This trip could have been shortened considerably in any number of ways. First, foremost, Random could have simply transported himself across datalines -- or the power lines, the phone lines, simply transmitted himself through the air itself to reach his destination. He could have hacked his way into a booked a plane ticket, paid for with a non-existent credit card, forged the necessary identification from scratch, even the records to support any documentation he provided if further inquiries were made. He could have, at the very least, ridden the Hard Drive and shunted directly across the country with no regards to any roads, rivers, walls, homes, or any other obstacles placed in his way. Instead he was riding his creator's 2006 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 in Sleeper mode, nonstop across the United States on his path to his goal, but he hadn't seen any pressing need for urgency. The rush of speed never seemed to grow old, no matter how long he rode, or in the case of his sleeper, how slow. The wind buffeting his body, whistling across his leathers, through his hair, the roar of the engine between his legs, the constant battle to maintain a steady hand, and with it control over the wild, unpredictable machine bearing him onward.

      His trek from the east coast to the west coast could have been completed in days, to say nothing of the weeks he'd spent on the road already, learning and observing, not to mention driving, riding, speeding, receiving speeding tickets, eating, drinking, fighting, using the bathroom. He had no use for rest or sustenance, no need to engage in petty conflict with anyone, but he welcomed every new sensation, every new experience as it came. Sensations, memories that he had only begun to experience a scant few months ago had already been seared into his brief existence as thoroughly as a century's worth of experience, for the clarity with which he could relive them. It was only in the last few days that he'd decided to change course, turning his tour of the United States into a cross-country joyride with his eyes locked on the west coast. San Julio, California, by his estimations, based on the energy signatures he was receiving. There was someone... or something that felt very familiar to him out there. There was no point in making assumptions -- assumption was a tool that could so very easily be turned against a man and his hopes, his dreams, or used to play on his fears, his soul -- and so Random had come to the decision to head west without making any. There were many, many dark things in the world that stank of the Darkness, rife with the stench of Hell, its denizens, or any of the innumerable beasts that dwelt in the shadows of the innumerable realms. Perhaps the signature that had drawn him west belonged to one of those wicked creatures, or perhaps he was merely approaching a possessed soul -- he might even be making this journey to investigate a random ethereal signature that turns out to be nothing more than a breach in the Fabric that separated the afterlife from the living world, much in the same that had created him -- but there was no way of knowing until he got there. And wasn't discovery a grand adventure in itself?

      At the same time, he could not help but wonder how, if at all, the subject would react to his presence -- was it hostile? One might naturally assume anything born of darkness was evil, but Random knew from firsthand experience that demons and monsters were no more enslaved by their own nature than mankind or the Gods themselves. Random found his body reacting with what could only be described as excitement, a building urge pushing him onward as his grip twisted around the handlebar, leaning heavier on the throttle. Ten, twenty, fifty over the limit, to the proverbial 'buck thirty on the highway'. Perhaps it was the anticipation, the possibility of meeting another kindred spirit, or at least an incredibly familiar phenomena. Perhaps it was the fact that the speed limit out on this lonely stretch of desert road had increased to 80 mph according to the sign he'd passed several seconds ago, or even the sign a few hundred yards later informing him that he might find what appeared to be a brothel or some form of an exotic dance club several miles ahead, but whatever the source, it was apparently well worth the increased risks. There was still the very real threat of a ticket, but upon receiving his first he'd decided that it would also be his last. It had been an interesting experience, but an unproductive one, and upon consultation with a few fellow 'bikers' as to the best measures to take to avoid further citations, Random had further augmented his own senses to scan for -- and scramble radar and laser frequencies common to speed enforcement devices. He would make better time now, yes, but in the end, he was still in no real hurry. If the signal moved, he could simply follow it -- if it began to move quickly, he could simply access just a bit more power and unleash himself and/or his motorcycle to follow her at a highly accelerated pace, if necessary. If it disappeared, he could simply resume his tour of the States, no time lost, as despite whatever contradictory actions he might be taking here and now, Random still had all the time in the world.

      With that in mind, he eased off of the throttle, coasting as the speed bled away from his bike as it crossed the highway and rolled off into a parking lot, past a flickering neon sign depicting a domestic feline wearing a cowboy hat and wielding a lasso. Dropping his kickstand, he killed the ignition on his machine, swinging a leg over his bike as he turned towards the Pussy Cat Corral and started for the door. Ah yes, the excitement was from the dance club after all. As he pushed his way through the double doors, pocketing his shades, he curled his lips into a broad smile while hoping that was the appropriate affectation.
      Last edited by Negatomsk; 10-19-2011 at 04:27 PM.

      And then I kicked him so hard he saw the curvature of the earth.

    13. #13

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      [OOC: Bare with me while I get used to writing up posts again. Hopefully it isn't too rough of a read...]

      A few hours ago...

      "The latest update out of Edwards reports that there are numerous 'drifters' collecting within the area, Mr. Shriek."

      "...Mr. Shriek, are you paying attention? If you're unfit for the task at hand...perhaps we can wait?"

      The Midday sky roared with the scream of a passing private jet, on-board one 'Mr.Shriek'. He looked for all intents and purposes, perfectly normal while at the same time no one ever really got a solid look at his face. No one ever saw his true identity--whatever that is, anyways. Presently he was flying into the United States, under sanction of the U.S. Government, headed toward the west coast, or near enough...

      "You told me before, this is the best opportunity to score a huge blow to this Cartel's operation...right?"

      "Yes..."

      "Then just tell me what I need to know and you'll receive confirmation of my success within 72-hours of my landing." Shriek poured himself another glass of whiskey, good ol' Jack Daniels single-barrel. He took a sip and smirked, of course the video conference told nothing of his facial expression...

      "Who are these drifters and why are they supposedly important to my mission?"

      "Well, we do not know who they are. Nobody goes to San Julio for anything, unless they're newly drafted members of the Cartel Mr. Shriek. We were simply notifying you of a change in our reported numbers..."

      "Very well. Take out the Cartel operating in San Julio. This conversation has exceeded its purposes Mr. Fred."

      "W-who?!" *Blip*

      With that, Shriek, continued to drink his glass of whiskey and touched down in Mojave, CA shortly thereafter where his car would be waiting.

      Upon landing, Shriek wasted no time. He had a very mild buzz, if it could even be called such, but regardless of the fact picked up his brief case and walked off the plane. Other than the maintainer whom taxied them onto the flight line, there was no greeting party for Shriek. A metallic-black Corvette ZR1 on the other hand was just beyond his grasp. He walked over to it, set his brief case down, and paced around the gorgeous car. He ran his hand along its sleek surface, absorbing the blistering heat through his exposed flesh, seemingly unfazed from its annoyingly hot temperature. After a few short minutes of stretching his legs and searching for a tracking device (which he found and efficiently removed in seconds), Shriek opened the door and started up the beastly engine, revving all 638 horsepower on the spot before laying down the rubber.

      Within minutes, Shriek was off base and headed down Highway 58, it was a straight shot to San Julio and he would be there within the hour with plenty of daylight yet. Of course, when driving over 150 mph down a highway, traffic permitting, several CHP's attempted to follow the sleek and sexy car but were effectively called off to "higher priority reports"...bogus.

      Once Shriek approached the ten-mile marker from San Julio, he eased off the gas and dropped back to the normal flow of traffic. Two miles out, he ditched the car in the desert, purposely wasting the money spent by the Government for the one-time use car by way of locking the accelerator down and literally leaping out the driver side door after giving a quick wrench of the wheel. A couple stopped after seeing Shriek tumble and toss out of the vehicle, flipping about like a ragdoll and skidding to a stop on his face...

      "Hey Mister! Oh my gawd, are you alright?! Quick honey, call 9-1-1!", the wife exclaimed in her horror...

      Shriek pushed himself up to his feet and began rolling his shoulder forward and back, jerking from side to side at his neck and waist to loosen up. Simultaneously, he removed Vivienne from her holster and trained it with expert precision on the man's cell phone.

      "You had better think twice about that. This thing doesn't have a safety.", was Shriek's only response.

      "Jeezus! Let's get the hell outta here, he's gotta be one of those damned Meta Humans!", and they tore off down the highway. Right about that time was when the Corvette exploded in a fiery ball of high octane fuel and metal scraps, queuing Shriek's exit from the scene as he picked up his polka-dotted briefcase and began stepping it out.

      With his black suit and scarlet tie, Shriek certainly stood out. Despite the tears and asphalt stains, mixed with dust and dirt aplenty, he maintained a completely obvious 'Out-of-Towner' aura. Sauntering right into town, the buffoons Coolidge and Rick didn't even bother asking, leaving him to the proverbial wolves to handle as they continued sorting through their dilapidated station remains...and he, Shriek, did not pay the two any mind. They simply didn't care to deal with another passerby, not wanting anymore havoc in their simple little meaningless lives.

      This was not unlike Jack Cadence's style, simply walking straight into the pit in a menial way, waiting for his opportune moment to light the fires...and he kept walking, right down the center-street of town. His previous scans of the so-called Town told him he was in fact going down Main Street, which he figured would be a guaranteed method of getting the attention he wanted. At first, the place appeared harmless, if not way too quiet. That was until he heard a prominent Click! coming from several dozen meters away...

      The two deputies from before had scavenged through the town in attempt of locating their present target, some Red-Haired Menace to Society. Cleavant Hicks, Deputy and his partner Jimmy Laredo.

      "Dag-gummit Jimmy, what which way in tarnation did that fool head off to?!" Cleavant yammered, slapping his partner upside his scrawny head with his free hand, waving his Beretta off in every other direction in his right hand...

      "Y-ow! Aw man Cleavant, that friggin' stangs!"

      "Hey! Another stranger done come in ou' town, git'im!"

      Shriek's fierce gaze immediately snapped to the location of the two bumbling fools, mere seconds before drawing Vivienne in one fluid wave of his right hand. Cleavant attempted to gun him down, his aim failing him and ultimately resulting in his demise as Shriek squeezed a single round off.

      Cleavant was hurled back nearly ten feet with a gaping hole in the center of his chest, landing in a sloppy thud and tossing his piece to the ground. As he gasped for air, his lungs filling with his own blood, Jimmy lost it. Shooting in the general direction of their assailant, every round in his clip, Shriek quietly laughed to himself while he sprinted directly for him, dropping his impenetrable Polka-Dotted Briefcase in the middle of the street. The runt of a 'cop' was so terrified he couldn't even get a stray round to land home...

      "Cop...huh? Pathetic, to think a man of law to be corrupted by power...money..." Shriek proclaimed in a quiet tone, staring down at Jimmy with unrelenting disgust.

      Reaching out to wollop Shriek in the face with his pistol, Shriek caught the man's arm and squeezed. Shriek quickly stowed his revolver and clenched down on Jimmy's throat, preventing his scream from ever voicing as he twisted Jimmy's arm with unbelievable force, the sound of tendons and muscles ripping to shreds filling the immediate air. Shriek took this time to survey his surroundings, looking for some sort of rope or chain. He found it in a pile of junk near a rundown flower shop clearly devoid of all life and drug Jimmy over.

      Grabbing the length of rope, roughly five feet of it, Shriek released Jimmy's arm and rammed his fist through the wall near the door...a few seconds later, the assassin had the corrupt cop lynched to the wall of the shop for the Raven's to feast upon. Cleavant was already being plucked of flesh and other gooey's, for that matter.

      So it was, Shriek made his mark. Whether more of these 'cops' would seek out the source of all the racket in a timely manner or not was bereft of the Assassin, but he wasn't sticking around to find out. Taking out two of their members in mere minutes, and leaving their carcasses out for display was a text-book scare tactic that worked. Leaving only a ridiculous looking briefcase behind and no further evidence, Shriek faded into the depths of the town. An expert tracker, with time and experience on his side, he made sure that nobody would find him unless he desired to be found; meanwhile, he made his first hand observations in order to again, strike at the opportune moment.
      Last edited by Killiak; 10-19-2011 at 06:20 PM.

      ...Omnicidal Death Machine

      Reno is coming. Then again, maybe he's been here all along.

    14. #14

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      And so, leaving the little town of Newberry Springs well behind them, the traveler and his companion headed south.

      The drive was peaceful for the most part. Sometimes they stuck to the roads, drawing strange looks from passing traffic, whereas other times they veered off-road for a ways in order to keep their direction. The Traveler, it seemed, wasn't used to relying on pathways cut by others and, fortunately, the steam-punk car was built tough enough to handle the somewhat rugged conditions off the highway. Not being much of a conversationalist (at all) he'd turned the radio on to keep his passenger and himself not mind the hours of travel -- the songs were mostly local stations, nothing exceptional, although one song {LINK} seemed to catch the Traveler's attention that he started drumming on the steering wheel for a bit.

      Finally, with the water supply beginning to get low, the travelers neared the town of San Julio... and a meeting with destiny.



      MUSICAL SHIFT
      Comedy = Tragedy + Time
      Portal 2 OST



      It seemed like a ghost town, but there was definitely something off. Something that didn't sit well. The car slowed almost to a crawl as they passed into town, the sensation of unseen eyes watching them permeating the Traveler's awareness. It wasn't some mystical sixth sense... just a bad feeling, like walking around in the dark and knowing that, sooner or later, you'll stub your toe or walk into a wall. The vagueness of the sensation itself was unsettling and it showed in his body language; mute and strange, indeed, but he still was human on some level.

      Crows and ravens cawed overhead, circling and diving towards something further down the street. Other than that and the dry wind passing between boarded-up buildings there was absolutely no sound... just the impending feeling of something going wrong. They'd need to refill the tanks with water and, if possible, patch up the damage done by the lawmens' wild firing earlier before leaving town; not yet realizing his companion was the source of the storm earlier and could, in fact, create a torrential downpour if she so willed, the Traveler had placed his bet on finding a water reserve somewhere in San Julio. His goggled gaze drifted up as he spotted something in the distance, something very strange and different from all the other structures around. It was tall and bulbous at the top, tapering down to a slim column and supported on the sides by steel beams, making it look like some kind of top-heavy faceless spider or unbloomed flower. A momentary pulse flashed through his mind, a memory not his own rising to the surface: a picture in a book being shown and read by a woman in muted medical caregiver's garb.

      It was a water tower.

      He eased on the accelerator, plotting a course for the town's water supply, his only thought one of getting some much-needed fuel. The phantasm of a man didn't even notice the two bodies until they were almost right in front of him. One man had been pinned to a wall somehow, one arm mangled and hung at an unnatural angle, while the other lay on the ground with the dry dirt caked with dark sickly hues of red in a splatter pattern around him. The scavenging birds tore at scraps of flesh from the cadavers' wounds and exposed skin, making a bloody feast out of the dead. The Traveler slowed to examine the scene, not failing to note the similarity between the uniforms these poor sods wore and the men with guns who'd wanted his car. Not good. Definitely not good.

      "You there! Hold it right where y'are!"

      Suddenly there was another man, this one holding a shotgun and bearing the same uniform as the two dead cops, coming towards them from an alleyway up ahead. For a few seconds he looked like he just wanted to talk... but then he stopped mid-stride upon seeing his head comrades.

      Pedal hit metal as the Traveler floored it, speeding by with just enough time to make the newcomer's shotgun blast narrowly miss the front tire, a shower of sparks leaping up as it skidded across the wheel well. But speeding through towards the center of town would draw plenty of attention from the corrupt watchers, a fact discovered as a handful of other gunshots peppered the vehicle from rooftops and windows. He'd just driven them straight into trouble and now the only way out...

      ... was straight on through.

      CHARACTER PROFILE
      The Traveler


    15. #15
      Reno
      Guest

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      {BGM: "Sheriff Justice"}

      The bloated, pasty-white form of Sheriff Bigsby sat hunched and beady-eyed before a literal wall of monitors. The grainy black and white images that flickered upon the archaic screens weren’t exactly what you’d call ‘hi-def’, but to the all-seeing eyes of the sheriff, everything was as clear as a freshly Windex’d window.

      Interlopers.

      Government dogs.

      Vagrants.

      Foreigners!

      Fuming, his whole bald head flushing a bright shade of red, Bigsby leaned back in his cushy oversized office chair and let out a half grunt, half sigh. It was bad enough he had to deal with those scheming drug-addled wetbacks. The last thing he wanted was a bunch of those left-wing fundamentalist yahoos coming in and wrecking up the place with their fireballs and their ridiculous acrobatics. Worse yet, they weren’t even American. He could tell by the slanty-eyed gaze of the upstartish-looking little trollop who barrelled into town in the clunky Cadillac driven by the mad Unabomber wannabe freakshow. Guy was probably another immigrant. One of them brownish-types, he reckoned.

      Then there was the government lackey. Bigsby knew the type. Sent in to do recon or whatever. Gathering evidence. If those rotten pigs in Washington knew what was good for them, they’d leave well enough alone. But no, they just had to go poking around. War on drugs and all that. Didn’t they have anything better to do? Bigsby sure thought they did. But since when did anyone outside of worthless little San Julio even give two shits about what Sheriff Millard Q. Bigsby had to say?

      Finally, there was the red-haired drifter, strutting around like he owned the place. Something about the lanky little bastard seemed annoyingly familiar to the sheriff, and it had been gnawing at his gut ever since the guy wandered into town. Who was this jerkoff, and why was he even here? Just a coincidence? Bigsby refused to believe that. It was simply impossible, given the sudden appearance of so many of these numbskull intruders all at once. No, this was all part of some kind of power-grab. A nefarious plot to depose him, or maybe an ill-conceived assassination scheme.

      Well there was no way in hell he was going to just sit back and take it up the ass like some Eurofascist Nancy. Sheriff Bigsby of the Famous Fightin’ Bigsbys wasn’t about to let a ragtag bunch of assclowns from up north and the far east get the drop on him.

      “No siree,” said Bigsby as he heaved himself up from his chair. “Fuckin’ rat-bastards are gonna get the dropped on themselves, that’s what I say.”

      The fat man stomped out of the room, leaving the wall of monitors behind, still showing the madness and mayhem being caused by the numerous individuals who were, each for their own reasons, currently descending upon the dusty little town.

      <><><><><><><><><><>

      {BGM: "Big Bluff"}

      “Ooooow!” Pepi exclaimed as he was forced back onto his rear for the third time.

      “Guh-huh-huh,” chuckled the big brutish deputy who had been toying with the boy. “Yer done goofed again runt.”

      “Rrrrgh! Shut up and let me through, Evelyn!

      At this, the massive man’s expression went straight south. “What’d you jus’ call me?”

      “You heard me, EVELYN! Waaaah, big baby EVELYN. MOMMY’S SWEET LITTLE EVELYN! NYAAAH!”

      “MY. NAME. AIN’T. EVELYN!” ‘Evelyn’ boomed, his voice thunderously loud.

      Truth be told, the big lug’s name really was ‘Evelyn’. Story goes that, when he was born, his mama wanted a girl so badly that she convinced herself that she’d had a daughter instead of a son. For the first ten years of his life, little Evelyn was raised a girl. Dresses, tea parties, Barbies and all. And Evelyn’s dad, well, he never even knew because not once had he accepted diaper duty or partook in the bathtime ritual. ‘Course, when his dad found out, the old drunkard was right pissed about it in more ways than one. Shot poor Evelyn’s mama right through her ovaries. Then turned the 12-gauge on himself and that was that.

      From then, on Evelyn went by the name ‘Brutus’, because it was the most manly-sounding name his juvenile mind could think of. Of course, that hardly stopped the town from gossiping about it endlessly. Even little Pepi was well-aware of Evelyn’s origin story, and had no problem invoking it in order to strike that raw nerve.

      In hindsight, however, the young lad came to regret his decision.

      Effortlessly, the musclebound moron picked little Pepi up by the scruff of his neck, and hurled the boy screaming into the air. The kid flew forward like a line-drive, and whatever stopped his advance (likely the rapidly-incoming solid brick wall of the abandoned firehall) was likely to pulverize him into a fine paste upon impact.

      But then, instead of that gruesome outcome, something entirely different happened. Pepi’s momentum was halted, but not too quickly. It was as if he’d been caught mid-flight by the benevolent hand of god.

      He opened his eyes and, through the haze of tears, saw that, indeed, he had been saved. Not by god’s hand, but by the hand of the red-haired, blue-suited drifter, Crim El Furaga. The wanderer, baller as fuck, simply stood, totally relaxed with his left hand in his pocket and his right hand extended out to the side, grasping the child by the collar of his oversized poncho.

      After a moment, Crim set the boy down, and cast him a somewhat smug sideways smirk. “You’re not too good at this hero stuff, ha ha ha.”

      “S-shut up...but, um...thank you for...”

      “Nah,” Crim cut in. “Forget it. Just think of it as me tagging in. I’ll take it from here.”

      And that’s when Crim set his sights upon Evelyn, and the Sheriff’s fortified compound that sprawled beyond.
       

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