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Author Topic: 6 Cataclysms: Nadiya Notes  (Read 844 times)

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Offline OhGodHelpMe

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6 Cataclysms: Nadiya Notes
« on: May 09, 2017, 06:51:15 PM »
Yet another developing tale from the 6 Cataclysms universe I built. Operation Guilty Rat. I know it tends to look like I know what I'm doing when I write, but I really don't. If anyone can read one of these chapters and give me some constructive criticism, I'd appreciate it. I don't expect anyone to know exactly what's going on or who everything is since this particular story takes place in the middle of the overall storyline, but just give me whatever you can.  :hmm:


Operation Guilty Rat

Set shorty after the death of Queen Kalina, King Tokahev takes the throne of Vevoskovia. Katya is now the commander of the Deshavi Black Ops, and joins her troops in a mission knows as Operation Guilty Rat, a mission to secure a researcher by the name of 'Nikolai', and extract him out of war-torn Sankadesh. The problem is that the Deshavi Black Ops are not the only ones who want Nikolai.


Nikolai was hired in secret by Queen Kalina prior to her death, to research the Forbidden Statue the Deshavi came in contact with during the events of Katyanaishka Chronicles. Somehow, details of what Nikolai was researching leaked to the other nations, forcing him to evade capture by fleeing to Sankadesh. Sankadesh Loyalist Guard and Syvian KGR are both on the hunt for him when it is discovered he is posted in one of the hospitals in Sankadesh. Without fail, Katya puts together the mission to secure Nikolai before the Sankadesh guard or Syvian KGR can capture him.


Much is at risk in this operation. Not even the Deshavi Black Ops know how the leak occurred, where it came from, or the extent of the leak itself. It seemed the other nations knew Nikolai possessed knowledge that could greatly aid weapons development, but did they know about what lurks inside of the Forbidden Statue? If it was Nikolai who leaked the information, Operation Guilty Rat will quickly become a mission to terminate him. If the leak came from elsewhere, Sankadesh and Syvia may not be the only other parties in search of Nikolai.


Lest the next world war be fought with cataclysmic demons, and the war after that fought with sticks and stones, Nikolai must be captured, and the mystery of the leak must be solved.

Guilty Rat
Spoiler
Coughing. Multiple people coughing, as if mildly sick with the flu. Chatter...references to medical conditions such as minor head trauma, with others being as serious as life-threatening infections of the pharynx, violent convulsions, and septic shock. Now she understood. Now she remembered.

She finally woke, brushing her blonde, voluminous hair to the side of her gorgeous, blue eye and remembering that she was in a packed hospital in the middle of Sankadesh. The floors were white, tiled, and polished to perfection, reflecting the flickering lights of the electric lanterns and oil-based lamps hung from the green walls as if they were still water. Though every bed was partitioned by white curtains, she could tell...the hospital was operating at maximum capacity.


Her vision was still blurred, to the point she couldn't even see her own hand in full detail with the aid of a candle on her night stand. Still, she could make out the obvious feeling, or lack of it, in her arms, which were both wrapped in white gauze up to her elbows. Small spots of dried blood stained the gauze from her hand all the way up to her elbow, and even more stained the gauze wrapped around her stomach.


So many people were groaning, writhing in pain from their injuries and afflictions as doctors and nurses tried to assure them they'd be okay. One of the suffering patients responded in vicious, loud anger, shooting down the doctors' reassurances as insultingly false hope. She could see none of it beyond her bed's partition.


She sat up in her bed as a voice echoed inside of her head, dressed in a thin and embarrassing hospital gown that failed to cover all of her butt and breasts. Who's 'she', you might ask? 


Voice: We got your signal. Commander Katya...'Monarch'...you've come to. 








*OPERATION GUILTY RAT*




*SIX CATACLYSMS*







Voice: We're ready to begin, Commander. We're starting the clock in three, two...one. All teams, Operation Guilty Rat is go.


Of course, the beautiful blonde with the ocean in her eye was none other than the newly appointed Commander Katya, unsung hero of her home country, Vevoskovia. Her usual eye patch was missing, replaced by more gauze wrapped around her temple, covering her missing eye. Her single eye traced the shoes of the doctors and nurses visible beneath the partition as she clasped her hands together, as if she were praying to God.


Katya: Understood, HQ. All teams, this is Monarch. Proceed with operation as planned. I'll try to establish contact with the target. Team two, are you already at the coroner wing?


As if the regular patients' quarters weren't clean enough, the coroner wing was twice as pristine, reflective, and clean. A team of 10 surgeons donning face masks and white coats marched through the halls of the other end of the hospital, each pair pushing a loaded gurney along with them. The bodies on the gurneys were wrapped in white sheets, concealing their deceased faces from the other hospital staff. Nurses ran past them up and down the hall, all of them in a hurry to complete some sort of dire task.


Upon reaching the autopsy room, two of the masked doctors held open the double doors, letting the other doctors pass by them with the bodies. Like Katya, one of them clasped their hands together and spoke softly.


Locke: This is Team two, we've entered the autopsy room with the bodies. We'll get to work immediately.


Telepathic communication, a power bestowed upon them by the Art of Venus, allowed everyone to communicate from afar, no matter the distance. 


HQ: Team two, you'll have 20 minutes at most to get those bodies prepped and dispersed inside of the crypts. Katya, that gives you 15 minutes to make contact with the target once the first phase starts.


Deshavi HQ was just as chaotic as the hospital. The communication team stationed there set up shop in the Lunar Cave of the base, a massive, round cave with an open view of the sky, exposing the whole room to moonlight, which was essential for the mission. As they always did, the Deshavi Black Ops utilized the moon as their own celestial eye, using it to spy and keep watch over the entire world. Luck for them, the moon and the stars were bright, beautiful, and full that night. 


Dozens of Deshavi agents ran around, in, and out of the room, bringing paper, charts, scolls, and other necessary items with them wherever they went. Chatter buzzed all around the base and echoed from within its cavernous halls. Twelve agents donned in black, short sleeve shirts and dark denim sat beneath the moonlight in the center of the room, all of them cross-legged and their hands clasped as if they were meditating as a group.


With their cooperation, a map of the area around the hospital, entirely made out of moonlight, reflected off of the floor like a glowing, neon sign. One more agent stood just outside of the ring, holding his open palms up to the moon above with his eyes closed. He was the one talking to the teams inside the hospital This operation was of clear importance.





Locke wiped the tiny beads of sweat off of his glistening, bald head and fixed his face mask as he and the other agent closed the doors.



Locke: Understood. We'll get it done as fast as we can. What's the situation outside?


HQ: A force of roughly 80 potential enemies are closing in on the hospital from the north and west. Identities not confirmed, but they're most probably Syvian KGR, Inodus Tachtussen branch.


Katya: If that's true, our intel was spot on. Somehow, the Syvians caught wind that Nikolai was paid a premium to research 'Material that could lead to a leap in weapons development'. 


Locke: Little do they know he was actually researching the Forbidden Statue. We're the only ones who know what's inside, including Nikolai.


HQ: Which is why it's imperative we catch him before he's taken by Syvians or Sankadesh revolutionaries. I want to remind everyone that although we want Nikolai brought back to Vevoskovia alive, you are authorized to terminate him should he be captured by the enemy or leak any of the information he gained during his research. The knowledge of the Forbidden Statue must not be allowed to reach anyone, be it the military or the public. Tokahev's orders.


Katya: Of course.


In five teams of two, the doctors unwrapped the fresh corpses and laid them on the metal operating tables, using electric lanterns as light. All of them turned their heads as a masked nurse opened the doors, pushing in a small cart covered with a sheet. With her flowery shirt and midnight blue hair, everyone knew it was Jaya.


Deshavi: You're late, Jaya. Did you bring them?


Jaya, panting through her mask like a tired dog, uncovered the cart, revealing the glorious contents within.


Jaya: Fresh canisters of ethylene and oxygen, comin' right up! How much time do we have?


Locke: Just under 20 minutes at best, probably less considering the KGR are already on their way. No time to waste, let's make our incisions.


Jaya: I'll pass these out to everyone then!


And so it began. With all the bodies laid out on the tables, the teams grabbed their scalpels, pressing them through the skin and flesh of the corpses and cutting down from the shoulders to the chests. From the chests, they all made one long cut down the stomach, a standard Y-incision. Weak streams of blood dripped from the cuts as Jaya passed out the containers of oxygen and ethylene as if she were passing out books to her students.




Deshavi: Sir, what exactly is this for? 


Locke: How much do you know about corpses?


Deshavi: Just what's written in the Deshavi Thanatology Manual up to Chapter Thirteen, sir.


Locke: Then you know that when people die, autolysis takes place immediately. It's like the body is digesting itself. With blood circulation and respiration put to a halt, the body, nor its cells, have any means of disposing of waste. Pull back that side of his skin for me.


Deshavi: Got it.


With their Y-incision complete, the skin and layers of fat beneath in the torso area of the corpse were pulled back, revealing the internal organs, intestines, and rib cage. Sudddenly, as the Deshavi agent's eyes traced back to the young face of the deceased man, he seemed less like a human and more like a doll, or a dissection frog. The elements of a human, their skin, their hair, their nails, even their very organs, all just seemed like playthings with no meaning or consequence.


Locke: Now, with all of that excess carbon dioxide just sitting in the body, things start to get a little..acidic. This causes?


Deshavi: Cellular membrane rupturing, sir?


Locke: Exactly. And when that happens-


Jaya so rudely, yet so helpfully chimed in as she set down the last containers to the side by Locke and the masked agent.


Jaya: When that happens, the cell's membranes release enzymes that causes the cell to eat itself from the inside out. Ethylene can burn in oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water, hastening decomposition if it were to take place within a corpse! The enzymes help produce nutrient-rich fluids in the body, causing it to bloat and leak through the orifices! You know, if you let this occur on a patch of grass, the fluid is often so rich with nutrients that it kills the grass, but makes the soil more fertile for future patches!


Locke: Perhaps we're being a bit too...enthusiastic, Jaya. Vera's curse lives on...








*FINAL THROES OF SANKADESH CIVIL WAR*


*TOKAHEV TAKES VEVOSKOVIAN THRONE AFTER QUEEN KALINA SUCCUMBS TO ILLNESS*








HQ: Team two, how far along are you?


Locke: We're implanting the canisters now. We'll be ready to move the bodies to the crypts in three minutes. 


HQ: Understood. Katya, that's your cue to get ready.


Katya: Already on it.


Katya was already on the move, leaving the room filled with wounded and ill patients and their overloaded doctors and nurses behind. The halls offered no change in scenery. Most of the rooms were so full that many more patients had to be treated right in the middle of the hospital's halls. The sheer volume of chaos throughout the hospital startled Katya as she pressed on, making her steady, cautious march in search of Nikolai.


Katya: So much screaming...how many of these people are-


She was abruptly stopped by a patient who grabbed her wrist as she walked by. Most of his face was wrapped in bandages and soaked in blood. His long, black hair and scruffy beard poked out from beneath the gauze.


Patient: YOU KNOW IT TOO, DON'T YOU?! WE HAVE TO KILL THEM! WE CAN'T LET THEM LIVE!


Doctor: Calm down, sir! You must compose yourself!


An elderly doctor aided by a group of young nurses all restrained the wailing patient, freeing Katya from his grip. His bloody hand print left a crimson stain around her arm bandages. Katya watched in awe as his gurney was hurriedly strolled away, disappearing into the sea of chaos to her rear as she prepared to march forth through even more of it.


Katya: We were right to try and pull him out. Nikolai is in danger here.





*'NIKOLAI' IS THE MOST WANTED MAN IN THE WORLD*


*HE POSSESS KNOWLEDGE OF A 'WEAPON' CAPABLE OF MASS, WIDESPREAD DESTRUCTION*






One room at a time, Katya quickly traced her eyes across the patients' faces in search of Nikolai. The same chaos in the previous room and the halls repeated themselves in a compact mess of screams and blood inside of the other rooms. The thunderous sound of a gurney rushing down the hall captured Katya's ears as she turned her head to see a team of nurses waving everyone out of the way. As they rolled by, yelling for space at the top of their lungs, Katya saw a little girl on the gurney, her pink pajamas soaked in blood as she loosely clung to her dirty teddy bear.


HQ: The loyalists started using rockets bought from Syvia a while ago, but lately, they've been using explosives packed with hydrogen chloride. No one in the international community wants to take responsibility for the loyalists using chemical weapons on civilians. It's a damn tragedy.


Katya: No...it's an atrocity.


Katya kept searching, coming up with negative results in every room she passed by. As she crossed the intersection in the hall, she heard a shuffle of footsteps behind her unlike all the others. They were much, much heavier and synchronized. Looking behind her, she spotted a small squad of Sankadesh soldiers rushing into one of the rooms. It seemed they were on the search as well.


Katya: All teams, this is Monarch, the Sankadesh guards are already searching for him as well. Team two, what's your progress?






*IT IS MUCH MORE SEVERE THAN A 'WEAPON'*


*NIKOLAI WAS RESEARCHING THE FORBIDDEN STATUE IN KOGA*


*IT CONTAINS ONE OF THE HERALDS OF THE END, THE GREAT DESTROYER*





Now in the crypts, Locke, Jaya, and the other agents loaded the unwrapped bodies onto the shelves. Dozens upon dozens of wrapped corpses, some in white sheets and others in see-through plastic, cluttered up the shelves and tables. Some were in good condition, others were already turning a blackish-green from the increase in sulfuric bodily compounds as a result from decomposition. Many of the corpses had their feet exposed so doctors could easily access the identification tags on their pale feet and toes.


Locke clasped his hands and replied as Jaya and the others loaded the corpses.


Locke: We're loading the bodies in the crypts now. We're ready to go on your mark, Monarch.


Katya: Once your done over there, get out of the crypts and take the central hall down to the Geriatric wing. The Sankadesh guard are searching the left hall on this wing.


Locke: Understood. We'll wrap up here quickly.




*IF HE IS CAPTURED, THE GREAT NATIONS WILL PURSUE WAYS TO USE THE STATUE*


*THEY WILL PURSUE WAYS TO USE HERALDS OF THE END*


*EASILY SPARKING ANOTHER WORLD WAR*




Katya: Where are you...


Katya picked up her walking pace, squeezing herself through crowds of doctors and severely wounded or sick patients. The crowd ahead of her all filled the hall with shrieks and yells as more Sankadesh guards ransacked the hospital rooms, forcing several patients and even nurses to either line up against the wall, or lay down on the floor with their hands on their heads. 


Katya: Damn it!


Katya immediately made a hard left, rudely and hurriedly squeezing past the gathering crowd of scared and clueless patients as the doctors and nurses tried desperately to ease their worries, shouting that everything was alright, that the Sankadesh guards were merely searching for some sort of criminal avoiding arrest. Despite their best efforts, frightened word of mouth circulated through those halls, building up their worry and panic. 


Pushing through the crowd in the opposite direction they were looking, Katya sought to get away from the more heavily cluttered areas of the hospital to get a better grasp of her surroundings. However, as she waded through the sea of wounded Sankadesh soldiers, most of them smelling of blood and explosive residue, yet another team of Sankadesh guards pushed through the crowd on the other end of the hall, heading straight towards Katya. She was alerted to their sudden intrusion by the sound of screaming and frantic yells ahead as the guards pushed patients out of the way.


Guard: To the side! Step to the sides, damn you! Move!


Katya followed the motions, stepping to the side of the hall and hiding her face as the soldiers passed by. Though she did not look at them for herself, the chatter among the crowd detailed the situation she was in.


Patient: Oh my god, are those the Heavies? No way they're just here to arrest one man!


Patient 2: Most of the people here fought against the Loyalist forces! They're probably here to exterminate us!


Nurse: Don't say that! It doesn't matter what side you were on! When you all came here, you became patients, not soldiers! It stays that way until you put your uniforms back on! We're just helping our people here!


Katya: Where is he?!


Katya proceeded down the hall for just a few steps, coming at another intersection where she intended to turn right. To her left, a loud crash echoed down the length of the hall, the sound of a trash bin being violently knocked over. 


Patient: No! Get away from me! You have the wrong guy!


It seemed to be another young man, perhaps another wounded soldier taken to the hospital. He seemed deathly afraid of the Sankadesh guards in pursuit behind him. 


Guard: Stop immediately! Stop, you fool!


The man ran up to Katya with tears in his eyes. She noticed now that one of his hands were missing, covered up with bandages that were slightly stained with blood. He placed his remaining hand on Katya's shoulder, screaming in her face for help.


Patient: Please! You have to help me! They're-


Katya hadn't even figured out how to respond or what to do when he suddenly shrieked and fell silent. His body was pushed forward by something, forcing him to hug Katya. She held him for a few seconds and saw the steel bolt shot into his back by one of the guards. Looking up again, she could see one of those guards withdraw their crossbow from their combat stance. His fellow guards pushed him against the wall as Katya let go of the patient. The dying man quickly exsanguinated from his hospital garments as the guards berated the shooter. The halls erupted into screams and cries as witnesses of the man's death circulated the words "He's dead! They killed him!" around the crowds.


Guard: Damn it! Why did you shoot?! 


Guard 2: We don't have time for this! He could be getting away! If anyone resists and they aren't the target, just shoot them! They're revolutionary scum anyway! If we don't hurry, the target will get away!


Katya's breathing grew more labored and heavy as the situation only intensified like flames being fed a sudden supply of gasoline. Another hand gripped her shoulder, forcefully pulling her back. It was another squad of guards, shoving her out of the way so they could partition that section of the hall.


Guard: Out of the way! Leave the hall immediately!


HQ: All teams, The KGR teams are 10 minutes away. 


Locke: Understood! Katya, we're starting now! Hurry and find Nikolai!


Katya: Easier said than done, but do it! 


Katya took one of the face masks laying on a hospital tray as she walked by, fixing it firmly over her mouth and nose. Having vacated the crypts, Jaya clasped her hands, utilizing the Art of Mars to ignite the canisters implanted inside of the corpses. The doors to the crypts were left wide open as team two put their face masks back on.


Locke: Those canisters are going to cause the corpses to bloat and rapidly decompose until their stomachs pop open. Jaya, we'll trust you with manipulating the resulting gas and flooding the hospital wings with it. Once you've done that, leave the area. The guards and doctors will surely converge here to seal the crypts.


Jaya graciously saluted.


Jaya: Gotcha! 


Deshavi: This stuff won't kill anyone, will it?


Locke: No, it should only make them sick to their stomachs to incapacitate them. Come on, let's help Katya search! Good luck, Jaya!


Jaya: Good luck to you too!


Mostly free from the overly congested halls, Katya was able to sprint in short bursts, checking every room and corner she passed by with only a few other patients in her way. 


Locke: Monarch, the gas is building now. 


Katya: Understood, I-


In the corner of her eye. Katya spotted a man walking into the bathroom, the light of the electric lanterns inside glaring against the metal "Male" sign on the door. Another guard dressed in a black rain cloak walked in after him, slowly and cautiously.


Katya: Hang on. I may have just found him.


Locke: Be careful, Monarch.


Katya crouched, sneaking by the door and slowly pushing it open just enough for her to see inside. The man she saw earlier was out of sight, but she could still see the Sankadesh guard. The guard seemed very, very cautious, taking slow, soundless steps as he opened each of the stalls, checking for the man he chased. The guard appeared to be armed with a wrist blade that protruded from under the sleeve of his cloak, glimmering like a star. Katya watched as he opened the second stall with no luck and proceeded to the third. 


Her eyes then turned to a pair of bare feet that quietly touched down on the floor of the fifth bathroom stall. She knew it in her gut that the patient was her target. 








*NIKOLAI*


*'GUILTY RAT'*






The patient barged out of the stall, surprising the guard. His face was completely bandaged up, concealing his identity. Katya quickly entered, closing the door behind her as the guard swung his bladed arm. The patient crouched and tackled the guard against one of the urinals before he was kicked off, breaking through one of the stall doors. 


Katya sprinted in, grabbing the guard by his arm and using it to swing him into the bathroom mirror, shattering into into dozens of pieces. The patient stormed back in with a punch to the guard's cheek, drawing blood from his eyebrow. Clearly trained well in hand-to-hand combat, the guard did not let their attacks leave him open for too long.



He firmly planted his hands on the patient's shoulders, using them to hoist himself up and kick Katya square in her neck, cutting off her breathing. Stunned by the sudden blow, her feet scuffled backwards until she fell on the bathroom floor, barely even able to cough. 




As she tried to free up her airway with the Art of Pluto, the guard slammed the patient's face into the cracked mirror and withdrew his combat knife from its holster, stabbing the patient through his wrist to render his dominant hand useless. Just from the voice that yelled out in agony, Katya confirmed that the masked patient was him. It was Nikolai, the Guilty Rat.




The guard kicked him back into the stall and entered with him. Before Nikolai could get back up, the guard dunked his head into the toilet and held it there against all of his kicking and struggling. After restoring her airways, Katya knew Nikolai was drowning from the sound of his gurgling screams beneath the toilet water. She ran to the broken mirror, picking up one of the fallen pieces of glass and proceeded into the stall, pulling the guard off of Nikolai, who fell to the side coughing up the water from his throat.




The guard swung his knife horizontally, intending to slice open Katya's throat. She managed to dodge with a quick backwards lean, grabbing his exposed arm and dislocating his wrist with her own two hands. His wrist snapped with a loud pop accompanied by his screams, the signal that his guard was completely broken.


Still holding his arm with one hand, Katya slammed the back of his head against the green, tiled wall. She grabbed the knife from his loosened grip, stabbing it right through his throat and quickly drawing the blade out from the wound. Finally, she dunked the guard's head into the toilet, holding him down as he struggled to free himself from her grip. 




The guard was breathing, sucking in air through his open neck and airway and gargling on the blood and water through the wound. It mattered not if he managed to hold his breath through his mouth and nose, since his very airways themselves were flooded with his own blood, turning the inside of the toiler red. His struggling grew weaker and weaker until, finally, they stopped completely. Blood continued to drip down in streams as Katya released the dead guard, letting him fall opposite of Nikolai.




With no time to waste, she grabbed Nikolai's hand and forced him up, both of them breathing heavily, Nikolai even more so than Katya.




Nikolai: Hahaha! You found me! I knew you'd come!


Katya: Bastard, where were you?! 


Nikolai: I would've stayed in my room if the Sankadesh guards did not storm the hospital. I wrapped up my face and moved locations. It was the only way I could've traversed the hospital safely.


Nikolai unwound the bandages around his face, revealing his lightly wrinkled face and partially grayed, short hair. Nikolai appeared to be in his late fifties, and in mighty impressive health considering he managed to fight against a trained Sankadesh guard. With Katya's help, of course. 


Katya: You alright? We need to leave immediately. The whole world wants you dead, buddy. Thankfully, you're in King Tokahev's good graces.


HQ: Monarch, what's your status?


Katya clasped her hands and spoke aloud.


Katya: I've got Guilty Rat. I repeat, I have Guilty Rat. Preparing to exfiltrate now.


HQ: Alright, hurry and get out of there! You only have three more minutes until the KGR arrives! Jaya should be spreading the gas around the hospital now.


Jaya: Yep! I'm moving the gas through your wing, Katya. Be careful out there.


Katya: Understood, I've got a mask for Guilty Rat. We'll be safe. Team two, I've found Guilty Rat. Exfiltrate the hospital immediately. Jaya, once you're done, you go ahead and leave t-


All of a sudden, the electric lanterns died out, cloaking the bathroom in darkness. It wasn't just the bathroom, but the entire hospital. Every light source relying on electricity died out, some of them violently popping and shattering the bulbs.


Katya: What the hell just happened?


Jaya: Hey, did it suddenly get dark for anyone else?!


Locke: We're near the reception area now, all the lights cut out here too.


Nikolai: Those are carbon filament lanterns, all hooked to walls and support pillars. If they all went out at the same time, someone cut the master wires powering them all. Either that, or the storm outside.


Katya: Damn it...if I blow open the wall to create an exit, the KGR will hear it from their distance and converge upon us.


Katya turned her attention to narrow view outside of the rain-pelted window. Just the fact that it was raining was bad news.


HQ: Damn, we can't see anything anymore, Monarch. The storm moved in faster than we calculated. I won't be able to call out the KGR positions from here, but you're right in saying the'd hear the explosion. I suppose you'll just have to find a traditional exit, eh chief?


Katya: It's a pain, but alright. Stay close, Nikolai.


Nikolai: I'm a wanted man. You don't have to tell me twice.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 01:32:39 AM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 06:58:49 PM »
Covetous Rat
Spoiler
The door to the bathroom slowly pried open as Katya cautiously peeked out into the halls of the now darkened hospital, still able to hear the panicked cries of the patients and staff further down the way. When she was sure enough that their path was clear, she opened the door as wide as it could go, allowing Nikolai to pass by first. Something was terribly amiss with the hospital's sudden loss of light, but all those two could think about was their escape.

Katya: Nikolai, what the hell happened? You dropped all contact with the Deshavi Black Ops for three weeks after you pulled out of Skalda! We started to think you defected and planned to sell off the information!

Nikolai: I'm not that careless! Our little research project got complicated after Syvian KGR expanded into Skalda!

Katya: Skalda...why would they expand into a ghost country?

Nikolai: Exactly because it's a ghost country, I presume. My team and I were forced to hurriedly pull out, forcing us to march through Sankadesh in hopes of breaking through the other side of the country unscathed. As you can see, our escape attempt wasn't successful. We got caught up in a chemical attack on an unarmed, civilian populace.

Katya: Somewhere along the way, you were compromised.

Nikolai: I don't know how anyone found out about our team's existence, but it seems the leak didn't come from inside. Otherwise, everyone would know exactly what we were researching. If the Great Powers were to discover the Forbidden Statue...every king, prince, and lord on this earth would cry from joy. The reality of our sad little world is that weapons are both instruments of war and deterrents to war. In order to bind the world in a state of peace, cataclysmic weapons need to be everywhere, in everyone's hands. Weapons naturally grow obsolete as the eras pass by, but there is a special predicament attached to the most powerful, modern day weapons in existence now.

Katya: Being?

Nikolai: Management. The most destructive weapons most countries possess now are chemical based, but the chemical agents used in these weapons take time to create and store. On top of that, they don't have a reliable shelf life, requiring the chemical agents to be perpetually reproduced. It is an expensive process that cannot be sustained during an era of cold wars and conflicts. But with something like that statue...a self-renewing source of controllable, cataclysmic energy, countries could theoretically master the power that brought an abrupt end to the first World War for themselves. It would destroy their enemies and cost them nothing. It would allow them to inherit the salt and soil of this earth for free! That's why, as morbid as it is, everyone is so determined to make the next leap in the evolution of weaponry.

Katya couldn't make any sense of Nikolai's predicament, particularly how any information about his research managed to leak from an outside source. If the large force of KGR agents descending upon the hospital were anything to go on, perhaps it was the them who found out. But a further, vexing question remained. How did the KGR even found out that Nikolai's research was weapons related?

Katya: Let's go, we'll pass through the children's ward.








*INSTRUMENTS AND DETERRENTS*








Not even the moonlight could shine through the storm clouds outside. Katya and Nikolai rushed over to the next hallway as silently as possible, ducking by the windows as the sounds of footsteps from outside alerted them to the arrival of the KGR. Katya peeked over the window and saw the faint flow of dozens of oil lanterns beyond the mist, just outside the main entrance on the ground floor.

Katya: They're rushing in.

Nikolai: Inodus Tachtussen?

Katya: Let's keep moving. There are Sankadesh guards on all of the floors searching for you. They'll buy us some time.

Even in the dark, one could see the playfully colorful walls of the children's ward, adorned with images of friendly animals and shooting stars. With the sudden blackout, Katya expected to hear the sounds of panicked children as they cautiously passed through the children's lobby, but the air was still, stale, and silent.

Nikolai: I'm sure the little ones are frightened, probably unsure of what to do besides stay in the safety of their rooms.

Katya: Shh! What's that sound?

Nikolai: Sound?

Finally, the sound Katya warned about grew loud enough to be heard clearly by the both of them. All the way down the other end of the hall, a lone child took slow, almost fearful steps towards Katya and Nikolai. From their distance and with the absence of light, it was difficult for them to make out if the any of the physical features of the child. All they could manage to see was their eldritch, shadowy silhouette. With the child's steadily closing distance, it became clear the sound that possessed their ears was the sweet melody of a music box.

Nikolai: Of course. In the case of an emergency, the children carry music boxes and play them repeatedly so they can be found.

Katya clasped her hands, employing the Art of Venus once more to talk to her teammates.

Katya: Locke, come in.

Locke: I hear you, Monarch.

Katya: The KGR just entered the building from the ground floor. How fast can you make it over to the children's ward? It isn't part of the mission, but...there are a lot of kids here with no one to look after them.

Locke: You always go above and beyond the call, chief. Alright, I'll make it over as fast as I can. Do we have permission to engage the KGR?

Katya: Only if you need to.

Locke: Understood.







*THE FIRST CASUALTY OF WAR IS TRUTH*

*THE SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH ARE YOUR CHILDREN*







All of the doors of the children's rooms suddenly and violently flung open, each of them banging hard against the wall as they were pulled open as far as they could go. Katya's instinctive reflex prompted her to stand in front of Nikolai to protect him, even though the targets beyond those doors could only be children. Just as the child down the hall creeped around the corner, so did faint, golden, flickering lights from the inside of those rooms. Silent and expressionless children, all of them barefoot in their hospital gowns, quietly exited their rooms like lifeless specters, holding small plates with lit candles on top.

They all turned to face Katya and Nikolai. None of them said a word.

Nikolai: Something's wrong...

Katya: Hey, are you all alright? Do you need help?

The child down the hall stepped forth into the candlelight, revealing herself to be but a young girl. The light also revealed a grotesque and awful detail about the music box that still played its melody as she approached them. The girl was not holding the music box in her hand, but rather, it was implanted in her chest, protruding out of the bleeding skin that enveloped it.

Nikolai: My god...

It was not just her, but all of them shared similar implants. More and more melodies began to fill the hall as the children undid their hospital gowns, bearing themselves nude before Katya and Nikolai. Blood ran down their chests from their identical implants as the single, sweet melody of the music box turned into a dissonant polyphony of notes.

Katya: Nikolai, let's take the rear!

The two retreated down the other end of the hall, but they quickly had to formulate another plan of escape as a squad of five Sankadesh guards lit the depths of the dark hall with their lanterns. Katya quickly pulled Nikolai into the baby room, shutting the door and the blinds over the windows.

Katya: Hide!

They took separate hiding spots behind the baby cribs, staying as silent as stones as the Sankadesh guards passed by the windows.

Guard 1: This floor is almost completely clear. Did he already slip the line?

Guard 2: Hey, do you hear that? It's like...music boxes.

Katya could just barely see the narrow openings of the blinds. They seemed to have stood guard as they came into visual contact with the children.

Guard 3: What the hell is wrong with them? They have music boxes in their chests!

Guard 4: Hey, stay back, you little bastards!

Guard: Go back to your god damn rooms! Now!

Their authoritative shouts turned into sudden screams of shock and horror as the children swarmed them like flesh-eating demons, leaping onto their upper bodies and biting down on their necks and mauling their faces. Katya watched in awe as one of them was completely overtaken by four of the children, all of which subsequently burst into raging flames, scorching the guard along with themselves. The guards all shared the same fate as they were chomped on and set ablaze by the children, no matter how many of them they cut down with their swords, or fought off with their bare hands.

Nikolai: What is happening?! They suddenly-

One of the flaming Sankadesh guards broke through the window to the baby room, screaming and flailing his arms around as he crashed on top of a supply desk bearing rubbing alcohol and talc-based baby powder. The result, of course, was the entire room being swallowed by vicious flames.

Katya: Nikolai, let's go!

Only then, when infantile screams and cries erupted from within the cribs, did they realize there were still babies inside of the room. They had been sleeping peacefully until the scorching flames swallowed their cribs, choking and burning the life out of their innocent souls. Nikolai halted his steps and looked back in horror, knowing they were unable to do anything to save them now.

Katya: Nikolai!

Nikolai: God, bless their souls and take them into your loving arms...

The two of them took their exit through the door on the opposite end of the baby room, bypassing the flaming hallway. Katya clasped her hands and slapped them upon the hospital floor, using the Art of Earth to create a wall of granite out of the floor itself, thus sealing off the flaming half of the hallway from their half. Finally free of the fumes of deathly smoke and the hair-burning heat of the fire, both of them took a moment to catch their breaths and make sense of what had happened before their very eyes.

Nikolai: The Art of Mars? How could that be?!

Katya: For your sake, you better hope that was because of the music boxes and not because of the Marluxian Arts!

Nikolai: I'm just as perplexed as you! I don't know what happened! Even if details about the Marluxian Arts were leaked, do you really think any nation on this planet could've possibly perfected it to such a degree in such a short window of time?! All of them were used as incendiary devices, but it wasn't just that! Their behavior was controlled as well, which implies the use of the Art of Venus, the gateway to the mind! Not even the Deshavi Black Ops can manipulate a crowd of people like that!

Katya: Damn it...Locke, can you hear me?

Locke: Loud and clear!

Katya: Change of plans, we'll head back towards the urgent care quarters. Be careful getting there, that's where most of the body gas is.

Locke: Understood, we'll meet you there.






*THE RACE FOR WEAPONRY*








Katya: You should know something, Nikolai.

Nikolai: What is it?

Katya: If we get cornered and rescuing you becomes impossible, I won't hesitate to kill you.

Nikolai smiled to himself.

Nikolai: I know. Such is the nature of the Deshavi Black Ops. You all lived cursed lives, for you are bound to the shadow of secrecy until the day you die. Your country may benefit from your covert actions, but they will ill remember you. However, you wear this truth like a forsaken crown, don't you? You can do whatever you please when the world doesn't know that you even exist. Existing in the flesh, but not as an accountable member of society must be a sweet kind of freedom, an anodyne to your lonely solitude.

Katya: This is why I hate scientists. All of a sudden, you think you're psychologists instead of weapons development specialists.

Nikolai: Ah, but I'm not wrong, am I?

Katya:...Cover your mouth and nose. The area we're passing through next is flooded with putrid gas. We should be able to escape through there, even if we'll both smell like corpses in the end.

Nikolai: Very well. In that case, if my talking vexes you, perhaps I can speak about what I uncovered from my research, about the Forbidden Statue. If this rescue mission of yours fails, you intend to kill me anyway, right? I'd much rather the Deshavi Black Ops have this information than the unstable Sankadesh or the warmongering Syvia.

After wrapping gauze around their facial orifices, the two of them continued back towards Katya's starting point. The foul gas deployed earlier had emptied the halls of all of the chaotic traffic. Streaks of congealed blood on the walls and reflective floors remained, unseen in the darkness and blending their stench in with the gas.

As they ran down those halls, Katya quickly glanced inside of every room they passed by, ensuring there were no hiding soldiers in their dark depths.








*FIFTH CATACLYSM*







Nikolai: The statue is older than previously thought. In fact, it's so old that we can't actually pin an exact age on it, nor an accurate estimate for exactly how long it's been there. All we know about its age is that it's definitely more than 30,000 years old. We compared the statue to ancient structures and artifacts of similar material composition. Much of the statue is carved of stone, but there are traces of oxidized copper and iron beyond the external, stone structure. The metals there are so old that we couldn't trace them back to a single, recorded era of time.

Katya: You're saying the statue was constructed in prehistoric times?

Nikolai: Yes, but...it doesn't add up. We're confident in the statue's age, but statues, much less any kind of crafting art in general, were not this complex back then. What little we know now of nomadic humans before the age of functioning state and government tells us that no one knew how to construct such magnificent structures yet. The statue even predates the first cities in recorded history, as well as the walls humans built to defend them. Why does such a magnificent and large statue predate masonry itself? There are only two explanations I can jump to, and for a scientist, both of them are difficult to swallow.

Katya: Go ahead. You've already seen what the Deshavi can do, so I'm sure nothing is outside of your range of belief.

Nikolai: Either some advanced civilization that predated our first recorded societies built it, or your god Agzabah built it. Either way, it is what lies inside of the statue that surprised us. It is as you said. Some sort of monstrous being dwells within the statue. We examined all of the symbols etched onto the statue and compared them to the reference book you gave us. We found the symbols of all of the planets, Venus, Mercury, mars, and so on. However...one symbol on the statue did not match any of the symbols depicted in the book. If it is a planetary symbol like the rest, it must belong to some unseen, undiscovered planet.

Katya: A hidden Marluxian Art?

Nikolai: Yes. Whichever planet that symbol belongs to, it is the key to unlocking the statue. The symbol, it...it looked much like a primitive compass rose.







*THE SONS OF TOKAHEV*







Katya immediately thought of the symbols branded upon the sons of her lord and king, Tokahev. Mori and Hita bore such a symbol over their hearts.

Katya: Primitive compass rose?! Just a few years ago, Queen Amiya gave birth to two boys with symbols that match that description. It was branded over their hearts since the moment they came out of the womb.

Nikolai: What? These boys, were there any other abnormalities beyond the symbols?!

Katya: Yeah. Though neither of them had any practice with it in their lives, they were both able to perform the Marluxian Arts. Tokahev pulled them both out of school for that very reason. Besides for that, those two are healthy, normal boys. That symbol seems to have passed the Marluxian Arts onto them, almost like a genetic code. But not a single member of the Menlayev family has ever been able to perform the Marluxian Arts. Though Ishta Menlayev founded the Deshavi Black Ops, no member of the royal family has ever been part of the Deshavi's ranks. They've always been kings or queens.

Nikolai: The history of the Menlayev family goes further than Vevoskovia. What about the Asane clan?

Katya: Besides for legends about Phaedra Asane performing miracles for the people of the Omni Nation, there aren't any records of such a thing either.

Nikolai: Phaedra Asane, 3rd Rosidanna of Omni. At this point, Katya, I would even be willing to investigate such legends. None of the other Asane clan members ever had legends like that surrounding them. Why was Phaedra the only one? Perhaps this Phaedra Asane, the mysterious symbol on the statue, and this "opposing group" you talked of earlier are all connected. If only we knew for sure...

Katya: Damn it. The more we know, the less we understand. There is one glaring suspicion I have.

Nikolai: What is it?

Katya: The opposing group I mentioned...they may have something to do with what we saw back there.

Nikolai: Are you saying they're here?!

Katya: They just might be. It would make sense, at least.

Locke's voice suddenly blared loudly in Katya's head as the two stood close to the door leading to the urgent care lobby, where most of the patients and staff had evacuated when the halls flooded with gas. Along with his voice, they heard the screams and panic of the crowd beyond threshold of those wide open doors, giving them a view of the chaos unfolding from the safety of the halls.

Locke: Katya, stay away from the lobby! Do you hear me?! Stay away from the lobby!

Katya: Locke?! What's going on?!

The doors to the lobby suddenly shut and locked themselves just before Katya and Nikolai could pass through them. They could only helplessly peer through the glass frames on the doors, watching as all of those people inside realized they were trapped.

 Just in front of the opposite end of the door, a strange distortion in the air appeared. It was as if a wormhole had opened just beyond the door. Out of that swirl of distorted air and light came forth a tall figure dressed in a white cloak. Upon his arrival, Katya shoved Nikolai down to the ground, covering him should the figure dare to look to his rear.

She continued to peer and look for herself, only able to see small details about the sudden intruder from behind. His arms and legs were completely bandaged, revealing not an inch of skin. An iron folding fan of some sort dangled from his wrist, and the hood of his snow-white cloak shrouded his head. The unbelievable nature of his entrance sent the trapped crowd into a screaming frenzy as the doctors and nurses bravely stood in front of their mass of patients to shield them.

At first, the mysterious figure seemed to survey the room as if he were looking for someone. Slowly, he turned his head left and right, sifting through the crowd with his glare. Just from his body language, Katya could tell he did not find what he was looking for. Silently, the figure clasped his hands and summoned forth a small, dainty, green light that gently floated towards the crowd like a dying firefly.

Katya: The Marluxian Arts?! I knew it! They're here, and they're searching for you, Nikolai!

Nikolai: Who are they?!

Katya: I'll explain later!

The gentle green light suddenly erupted into a violent tornado of ferocious winds, sucking everyone in towards its apex instead of blowing them all around. The figure disappeared into another wormhole as dozens upon dozens of people were all sucked in, their bodies compressed and squished into a single point in space no wider than a pebble, along with chairs and other miscellaneous items. Once they were all sucked into that single, dainty, green point, the room fell back into sudden silence.

Just as they began to ponder the scene, the green light exploded once more into a swathe of violent winds, only this time, all of the people that were trapped inside of it had fused into a grotesque, monstrous tentacle of human flesh, bone, organs, and eyes. Multiple tentacles of screaming, mutilated humans and organic matter broke through the doors leading out from the lobby, flooding the hospital.

Katya: NIKOLAI! GET UP!

Nikolai was forcefully dragged away as his mortal eyes tried to process the monstrosity that was flooding the halls. After Katya had given him a running start, he began to flee on his own, following her wherever she went as the putrid tentacles of human remains aimlessly and destructively searched for their target.

As if the burning children wasn't proof enough, Katya was certain of her previous suspicion. The "opposing group" was in on the hunt for Guilty Rat.







Offline GreenTrap

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 05:16:02 PM »
I had a quick read of 'Guilty Rat', so here are some thoughts:

-I found your layout to be... interesting. I'm not sure why you're using script-style for dialogue as your prose is good enough to incorporate it into your paragraphs. If there is another reason behind though, such as a possibility of making this into a comic, then that's fair enough.

-I had a strong 'This War of Mine' feel from the adult-content and names. Personally I love naming conventions of an Eastern European flavor (That is what you used, right?) so it's easy for my to digest but I'm not sure about others. If you use several country names or groups of people altogether too quickly, it could confuse others. One way to get around this is to either have a glossary on hand or use relatable nicknames; in 'The Expanse', people working on the Asteroid Belt have a South African name yet are nicknamed belters.

-Some of your characters have physical descriptions whilst others don't. I don't think I saw anything regarding to Locke or Deshavi, though if I've misread it then my apologies.

Those were my initial thoughts. I didn't read any summary or background info since I like getting into the meat of things, but I hope my feedback is useful.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 05:43:59 PM »
Ah, thanks for the read and the feedback!

-I actually get this question quite often, but the answer for why I use script-style dialogue is because I hate writing speech tags. (Dialogue) She said softly, (Dialogue) He said with an angry groan, (Dialogue) he moaned, it all infuriates me to no end. Not just because it's tedious and repetitive, but because I feel it ruins the flow. Across any of my stories, a lot of scenes rely on the feeling of unbroken, uninterrupted dialogue, so I went with script style dialogue but stuck with your average novel prose. This way, details and dialogue coexist without fumbling over each other in a paragraph.

-Yeah, there was definite Easter European influence in the names. Vevoskovia, Katya, Tokahev, Menlayev, all that good stuff. Vevoskovia is a pretty large country though, so you tend to get different style names. I could make them more consistent though, thanks for that.

-This was my laziness since Locke's physical characteristics were already described in a previous 6 Cataclysms story. 'Deshavi' isn't actually a person, but a group, the Deshavi Black Ops. However, the name Deshavi is also used to generically refer to a soldier in the Deshavi Black Ops, hence why I used it for his dialogue scenes, since he's a generic soldier and not a particularly special character. Again, that was my laziness. My bad.

Thanks again for your feedback, it was indeed useful  :clapping:

Offline Fortis Scriptor

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2017, 03:54:03 AM »
Alright, time to take a good sit down and read this *cracks knuckles*
 
So I may make some comments as I go along but more likely I’ll just get sucked into the story and blank out, but since you’re looking for critique and such I will attempt to stay active as I read

Spoiler

Alright first question, so I’m assuming there’s something biological, or chemical inside this statue that can aid in the development of some nasty weapons. One thing I think of is if there is magic in this universe something you could do to allow this weapon to target specific ethnic groups is have whatever nasty thing is in there be conscious and follow the commands of whoever freed it from the statue, that could also make for some great betrayal later on, that’s my two cents on the matter.
 
Okay magic confirmed a thing, cool.
 
A quick note, the opening of this somewhat reminds me of the opening of Dan Brown’s Inferno, with the disoriented main character in a hospital, granted it seems Katya is faking it as I can tell right now…  :hmm:
 
Man forget zombie filled hospitals, an overloaded hospital in the midst of a warzone is damn terrifying.
 
The power’s out too, I hope none of the patients in that hospital are living via machines if so they’re dead.
 
And that kill on the guard, that was brutal. I mean slicing his neck open like a fountain is bad, but then giving him a deadly swirly too. XD
 
All in all on Guilty Rat chapter, thing, I’m very much enjoying this so far quite good, I get some awesome Cold War, east vs west vibes with it and I’m loving it. Also, the magical abilities used like any other tool on a commando’s belt is great! I would love to explore the magic system more, if I had to make a guess, gods are real in this universe, and that is the source of the magic used by these commandos. I could be wrong but I only inferred from the names Pluto, Mars, etc.
 
Time for Covetous Rat.
 
Okay… What the hell, That’s some Resident Evil, crap there. Feral child suicide bombers. You could make one scary horror game with this story. Christ. 
 
Jesus Hentai Christ! Seriously Horror game vibes everywhere! God damn the imagery in my mind of that green gore balloon, tentacle monster was like taking a look into the gates of hell. Great job with the description there, I almost feel a bit sick. And who the hell is that mummified dick head, by his complete lack of care for human life I’d almost go so far as to guess he’s a freaking demon.
 
All in all that was terrifying, if I wasn’t a soulless husk of a human being the things I read in there would haunt my bloody dreams, actually, the stuff with the Allahu Elmo fire bombers might still… Anyways, I want more. Amazing job with this, I really enjoy this universe as well and want more of that as well.   :cheers:
 
Also just something I noticed, are there no firearms in this world? Because I heard about rockets, but none of the Sankadesh Guards carried guns, they had swords and crossbows as far as you described.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2017, 03:55:57 PM »
Thanks for reading Fortis! Good news, there is indeed more on the way. I'm just thoroughly planning out the imagery now. As you can tell, I wanted to capture the utter chaos of being in an overburdened hospital right in the middle of a warzone being stormed by operatives by several different nations, with the added twist of horrific, supernatural occurrences like the pyro children, the mummified figure, and the tentacles made of human remains  :ninja: It's supposed to be like a nightmare, hell on earth. Katya and Nikolai have to fight their way out of it.

Anyway, I'll address some stuff.

-Yes, you're right. The contents of the statue are biological. There is a living organism inside of the statue called the Great Destroyer, one of the Heralds of the End. That sounds like a massive spoiler, but it's not a secret at this point. I haven't posted all of the chapters of Katyanaishka Chronicles yet, but Katya encounters the Great Destroyer in that one. It's just that it was so beyond anyone's comprehension that they needed Nikolai to give it a proper study. And yes, you can use the Great Destroyer in a way that targets specific ethnic groups, even though it requires an advanced knowledge of the Marluxian Arts. In this point of the story, its ethnic cleansing capabilities have actually already been tested  :ninja:

-Yep, magic, baby.

-Yeah, I didn't describe this, but Katya's injuries were self-inflicted so she could be taken in and rushed into the heart of the hospital, the general area where Nikolai was believed to be held. is Inferno a good book? I've been meaning to find something to read along with Kizumonogatari

-Nothing more stressful than being in a packed hospital filled with screaming, bleeding patients and so many corpses that the morgues are all full, eh?

-I know this series' technology is all over the place, but life support systems don't exist yet, so no worries  :clapping:

-Most of my hand-to-hand combat scenes get pretty brutal  :clapping: I feel like if they're not, I'm doing them wrong

-Glad you're enjoying it! You might be intrigued to know that the world of 6 Cataclysms has a pretty long history, so much that one could divide certain times by eras. This era is indeed a Cold War scenario, lots of proxy wars between global superpowers, lots of subversion of smaller countries, covert operations, all of that stuff. If I recall correctly, this was after Syvia erupted in a civil war after the rule of King Hammurabi, who was a puppet monarch put in place by Queen Kalina of Vevoskovia. They hated him because he defanged Syvia's army, opened the borders, and capitulated to the demands of the other superpowers.

They overthrew him and helped King Yandel into power, who restored the strength of Syvia's army, restored the old flag, and didn't shame his people for being proud of their race, heritage, and the homogeneous nature of their country. As you can guess, this put relations with Syvia and other countries right back at square one. However, it had been a while since those countries fought in a large scale war with each other, and with the advent of chemical based weapons and poisons, no one really wanted to repeat the First World War. So, we get close calls and Cold War style proxy wars.  :clapping:

-There's actually quite the backstory concerning the magic system. I'll touch on that in a bit.

-I actually really do want that to be in a horror game but everyone is scared of killing children.

-I'll explain this since it also isn't a secret at this point. That mummified guy is named Zenbu, and as you can guess, he's wickedly powerful. At first, everyone does think he's some sort of monster, but then the guy speaks to you and you realize he's actually a very wise and intelligent...well, it's wrong to call him "human", per se  :-X I'll also touch on this.

-Glad you enjoyed! I'll be getting back into this universe as I finish up Death by Ex-Girlfriend (Which I shamelessly recommend if you enjoy stories that get you emotionally invested as the story goes on), and the extra chapters for Anzu. I actually have tons of this already written, I just need to be bothered to post it here. Oh, guns exist in a sort of matchlock rifle form, but they're not perfected enough to be used by the military like that. Standardized equipment requires that the equipment's reliable function is standard, after all. The rockets aren't like V2's or anything, they're actually like heavily modified versions of ancient Chinese rockets, but they're bigger and pack a much more ferocious punch.

Anyway, I separated these explanations because of either length or spoilers

Zenbu
Spoiler
As said, Zenbu is extremely powerful. Nikolai's theory about an advanced civilization existing before the start of recorded history was actually pretty close to the money. There was an entire generation of mankind before the current one, and after a series of bloody wars fought with magic, they were united under one king, under one world order, the Kingdom of Nibiru. The king's name was Dharja Zenbu, and his wife, Samadaya Zenbu, both from the same clan. They were the first two to discover the planet Nibiru, and the powers that came with it. They pretty much became immortal, all-powerful gods. Their backstory is actually written, including the battle where those two massacred an entire allied army by themselves.

In the end though, Dharja and Samadaya were humans, foolish like the rest. They thought they understood and mastered the power of Nibiru...until Samadaya died in childbirth, leaving Dharja with two children. The best way to explain what Dharja went through after Samadaya's passing is to compare it to what Shaka Zulu felt when his mother died. He grew increasingly paranoid and started planning for the time where he too would die.

So, with the Art of Pluto, he began constructing a Pluto Clone, an exact copy of the user. Normally, these clones are just used as diversions in battle and they typically melt into a sludgy pile of bone and flesh if they take a bad enough hit. But Dharja planned to construct the perfect Pluto Clone, one that was intelligent, that could plan and act on its own will, but had a will that aligned with its master's. He then sealed that clone in a coffin, and sealed the coffin in the Zenbu Mausoleum, which was built upon one of Jupiter's moons, Callisto. (Reason for that being the Zenbu clan was part of the Kingdom of Jupiter before Dharja united the world under the Kingdom of Nibiru)

In the end, Dharja was murdered by his children. Those children actually continued to bring about the apocalypse and end that generation of mankind, then created the current generation and ruled over them as gods. The only evidence remaining of the past generation is on Callisto, with the Zenbu Mausoleum and the Towers of Silence (Look up towers of silence. It's an actual thing. Except in this case, they're actual, colossal towers and none of the bodies inside are rotten. They're perfectly preserved as if they died just moments ago. Zenbu men, women, and children, along with a stockpile of weapons.)

Zenbu remained dormant for a while until he was eventually awakened. He kept his body wrapped up to conceal his identity. Knowing he's a pluto clone created by the real Dharja Zenbu, he understood that Dharja had left him his arsenal to use at his disposal, all for the sake of realizing Dharja's plan to overthrow his children and return as the ruler of a united society. He took Samdaya's eyes of Nibiru, Samadaya's war fan, and Dharja's old sword and cloak.

He then went to rescue Von Krum Soleais, the whole reason why he was awakened. This is where it gets hard to explain since Zenbu's story ties directly into another long story  :sure: But Von is also a major character. Von is a legendary scientist, like the Isaac Newton of this world, who was a famed polymath and thanatologist. Von had discovered that there was another dimension besides Earth, Heaven, and Hell, one not described in any holy books. He discovered this accidentally, through a near death experience, where he got to meet Dharja and Samadaya.

He was the first human of the new world that they encountered, and they ended up teaming up since they had a common enemy. Dharja parted Von with his Eye of Nibiru, as well as part of his conscience. This way, Von had the power and knowledge of Dharja, at least partially. So Zenbu shows up, saves Von from his NDE, and the two begin their grand plan to throw Heaven, Earth, and Hell into utter chaos, the main method of which was the 6 Cataclysms, the title of the overarching story  :sure:

All in all, Zenbu is older than the current generation of mankind itself, and has been working on its destruction for a long time. Pretty much everything cataclysmic that ever happened in this story was the work of Zenbu, which was really the work of Dharja, who's trapped in the REAL heaven while Zenbu tears down Earth, and the Heaven and Hell Dharja's children created. 

There's another group just like Zenbu's called the Order of the Phoenix Demons, who aren't actually, literal demons  :clapping: Much of Zenbu's actions like the Cataclysms end up getting pinned on them, when in truth, the Phoenix Demons were trying to prevent the Cataclysms. This tricky situation of having two similar groups that operate within the shadows allows Zenbu to get away with his actions while his own group continues undiscovered.

Heralds of the End

Spoiler
living, demonic nukes, basically. They're all monsters, demons, or spirits of some sort that are capable of immense destruction. They're remnants of the past, weapons that the previous generation of mankind used against Dharja's children when they fought the war to eradicate humans. As you can see, they lost and Dharja's children took those weapons for their own. However, not even they can properly control them. The Heralds of the End are used to commence the 6 Cataclysms, and are stolen or transferred several times throughout the story.

Having these stolen from the Underworld is like Russia finding out that 5 of its nuclear warheads have been stolen.
 The panic among Agzabah and Zorc (current gods) was real, which led to them blaming the Phoenix Demons.
 (I mean, the Phoenix Demons killed some of the Heralds of the End and sealed their souls within their bodies to use them for their own, but it was to prevent them from being used to commit more cataclysms. Still, they were framed)

Marluxian Arts

Spoiler
The story's system of magic. They're based on the planets, and each art controls a general range of things within a certain category. For instance, Mars controls fire-related powers. Venus controls mind-related powers.
 Pluto controls organic matter, Neptune controls water-based powers, Jupiter controls lightning based powers etc etc.
 It's up to the practitioner to use them creatively, hence why the Deshavi Black Ops uses the Art of Venus to communicate telepathically with each other, and use the Art of Pluto to heal wounds or create diversionary Pluto Clones.

Sheesh that's a lot to explain and I'm sure that only made you ask more questions, but I suppose that's the draw of the 6 Cataclysms universe




« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 03:59:10 PM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2017, 01:02:32 AM »
New Chapter  8) Probably just one more after this.

Forlorn Rat
Spoiler
Nikolai and Katya concealed themselves in the morgue. The room was so silent that they both became overly self aware about the sounds of their breathing, and the thump of the heartbeats. Hiding in the dark, cold, room of death was a necessity as the monstrous tentacles of human flesh and remains continued to violently prowl the halls of the hospital, aimlessly searching for Nikolai. They bodies they hid behind were laid out on cooling board, cloaked with white sheets down to their feet.

Their very bones felt like napalm as the soppy, slippery sounds of the fleshy tentacles grew closer and closer as they slid like starving snakes towards the morgue's door.

Katya: Damn it...we should've sealed it when we had the chance!

The very tip of the tentacle crept around the hinges of the morgue's door, as if it was sniffing out its target. The abrupt and shocked voices of a squad of seven KGR agents startled the tentacle, making it peel away from the door and face its uninvited guests. Armed with lightweight, leather vests, wristblades, and all manner of grenades covered by their rain cloaks, the KGR were fast, mobile, and ready for anything. But their mortal souls were not ready for the monstrosities within the hospital.

KGR: What the hell is that?!

KGR 2: Engage and destroy!

Katya rushed over to the door and slammed it shut, securing it with the deadbolt as the halls erupted into a symphony of screams and hard thuds. The tentacle, as if it had a mind of its own, or even a conscience to begin with, began to defend its own existence. It divided itself into four, equal parts, like how cells multiply. After tossing high explosive grenades at the breathtaking abomination before them, the KGR agents covered their eyes and faces with their cloaks just before detonation. The morgue was rocked by the blasts, but still, the tentacle lived.

In seemingly furious retaliation, it coiled itself around three of their throats, lifting them up into the air and violently slamming them upon the glossy, hospital floor until their necks broke, and their faces caved in. Terrified out their wits, the remaining KGR agents turned tail and ran, abandoning their comrades as they were mercilessly pummeled.

KGR: Fall back! Get out of here!

Though it was a morbid thought, Katya was sincerely glad they had taken the tentacle's attention, breathing a sigh of relief as its audible slithering rushed away from the door in pursuit of the KGR agents. 

Nikolai: I don't know how much more of this I can take...

Katya: That...thing we saw back there...not the tentacle, but-

Nikolai: The cloaked mummy?

Katya: Yes. He was practicing the Marluxian Arts when he butchered those people. Back before I became commander of the Deshavi Black Ops, I encountered him in front of the Forbidden Statue. He wasn't alone that night. One of our defected to his group. There was also a middle-aged man claiming to be Von Krum Soleais, and a young woman named Lily. All of them used the Marluxian Arts. All of them were absurdly powerful.

Nikolai: Yes, yes...you mentioned once that they opened the statue! They were able to use the power of the hidden Marluxian Art, the symbol we could not decipher!

Katya: Don't get excited, Nikolai. We have absolutely zero intel on them, and that's the point I'm making. I haven't fought them since I was 18 years old. It's been a good six years since then. All I know is that there are at least three of them, all capable of fighting a platoon-sized force of Deshavi agents with ease. Since the best knowledge of their abilities that I have is six years out of date, I have no idea what to expect. What we just witnessed...I've never seen anything like it.

Nikolai:...I see. You're trying to determine if the operation is compromised, or not. You're deciding if you should take my memories and dispose of me, to make your exfiltration easier while tying up the loose end.

Katya's glare was an awful thing to have your eyes upon. It was like looking into the face of an angry goddess.

Katya: I will try everything in my power to get you out of here alive, but in the end, it's just as I said. If getting you out alive is impossible, I will not hesitate to kill you. Right now, the odds are rapidly slipping out of your favor. That's all I'm saying.

Nikolai remained silent, grasping with the fact that his life was hanging in the balance. Suddenly, a single light affixed to the ceiling inside of the morgue momentarily came back on, only to repeatedly flicker its seafoam colored light on and off.

Katya: Just the one light? Doesn't look like any of the other lights are coming back.

They felt something ominous occurring behind them, as if the air of the room was tainted with a baneful, murderous intent. The ruffling of the plastic body bags summoned their shocked gaze behind them as the dozens upon dozens of corpses actually began to rise, sitting up on their tables. Other bodies were covered with white sheets instead, and they too slowly sat up.

Nikolai: What on earth is going on?! Katya, the door!

Katya rushed back over to the door, but was unable to undo the deadbolt. It was mysteriously jammed in place as the bodies in the overcrowded morgue all sat up in ominous unison, their shadows projected onto the floor by the flickering light. Women, men, children, many of them slain in the battlefield, many of them collateral damage and victims of circumstance. The ones wrapped in plastic were clearly visible, many of them still looking fresh, others pale, and more of them a sickly mix of brown and green.

Nikolai: Katya!

Katya: The door is stuck shut!

Katya clasped her hands and slammed her palm against the door, employing the Art of Mars in an attempt to blast it open. A small blast generated from her palm did rock its hinges, but the damage was absorbed by a bright blue glow around the door that rippled upon impact. The ripple revealed that the entire morgue, including the windows, were protected by this force field.

Nikolai: We can't get out?!

Katya: Damn it...the Art of Jupiter.

The single light in the room died, cloaking the morgue in hellish darkness for a silent, nerve racking thirty seconds. Before long, the eyes and mouths of the dead began to glow a faint orange, like the light of a dying flame. Through the plastic and through their shrouds, Katya and Nikolai could at least make out that much. A deceased little girl spoke aloud, her voice reverberated and slightly amplified. It may have been her voice, but they were clearly not her words.

Zenbu: Nikolai...and Katya? It's been a long time.

Katya and Nikolai stood in awe as the dead literally talked to them.

Zenbu: Yes, you were the one who sent the Great Destroyer reeling back inside of the Forbidden Statue. I was surprised to find you possessed proficiency in occular energy exertion.

Katya: Great...Great Destroyer?

As if changing microphones, another corpse began to speak in its own voice, a slain main with the top half of his head missing.

Zenbu: You humans know not what you seek. You place such great importance on the statue itself, oblivious to the real treasure that is inside. Katya, you've already seen it. That beast you managed to fight off that night, that was the Great Destroyer, the bringer of the end, the herald of calamity. The statue is but a vessel, or more accurately, a prison. Even if you cracked the code of the statue itself, the Great Destroyer would perplex you even more. Even I have trouble fully opening it.

Katya: What do you want? Why you are here?! Don't tell me you want Nikolai as well!

Now he spoke through a woman burned to a black crisp, beyond all recognition. Her body was thinly veiled by a white shroud.

Zenbu: We know more about the statue than Nikolai. In that regard, he is useless to us.

Nikolai: "Us"...so they are a group...

Zenbu: However, your theories about the statue's power are correct. It can be used ever so slightly to create or modify the weapons already in existence. I do not seek a grand, magical weapon for my own use. I seek a method of creating deadlier weapons for humans to discover, create, and circulate.

Katya: You...what?! Stop joking around and tell me what you're really after! It makes no sense for you to want to arm humans with improved weaponry!

Zenbu: Of course it does, Katya. As intelligent as you are, you only know so little about the world. That is your helpless little flaw. You can do naught about it. However, I know all too well the inner and outer workings of mankind, to a macro and micro level. Humans, especially after the development of the state and the birth of the concept of a government, craved weaponry.






*GREAT DESTROYER*





Zenbu: The social contract between a people and its government includes a bond of protection, a promise that the government will protect its people. For that, they need manpower, which is no problem for any charismatic lord to attain. The only real problem is attaining powerful weaponry. They need weapons in order to fulfill that part of the social contract, and to conquer their neighbors for the sake of expansion. Civilizations with weak weapons fall to those with stronger weapons. Of course, weaponry isn't the only factor that decides a victor, but to deny its influence is folly.

The pale corpse of a little boy fell off from one of the top shelves, landing on the ground with a thud as it turned its glowing eyes and mouth towards Katya and Nikolai.

Zenbu: Stone clubs, wooden spears and arrows, bronze armor, copper swords, weapons kept developing up until the creation of steel and iron-based arms. Explosives became commonplace, as did various lightweight armors, as well as natural and man-made chemicals. Look upon these corpses, you two. These bodies before you are but a few victims of mankind's appetite for instruments of destruction.

Katya: So then, why do you want to proliferate this?

Zenbu: As weapons became deadlier, the decision to go to war became harder to make for even the strongest nations on this earth, wouldn't you agree? However, it is not because these weapons are so destructive that nations think twice about open war, in contrast with ancient times. No, that isn't it at all. It is because these weapons are commonplace, shared between different, powerful nations that wars do not occur as often as they used to. This phenomenon is what you call deterrence, the consequence of equal technological footing between would-be warring countries and peoples.

Nikolai: Damn you...

Zenbu: If Syvia was the only country capable of producing rockets armed with chemical agents, do you really think they would hesitate to war with Sankadesh, Asaji, or Vevoskovia? Of course not. This is why the arms race of each era is so important. I intend to bring about yet another arms race. Specifically, it is a race for a weapon that can wipe out races. An 'ethnic cleanser', so to speak. One that is biologically based.

Katya: Why go through the strenuous effort of using that statue just to produce a biological weapon? Unless...that weapon is what you want to unleash upon the world.

The corpse of a young soldier missing both of his arms continued to speak for Zenbu.

Zenbu: Precisely. I did it so that humans would discover it upon its first real usage, and then study and produce it for themselves, as they usually do. Even with all of my expertise in the Marluxian Arts, I failed to produce a true ethnic cleanser, a weapon that could specifically target certain genetic sequences in humans. However, the devil is crafty. It is not just a race that makes a people, nor a country, a national anthem, a flag, or a constitution. A people is its language. A people is its currency. I began to think that I could use those as the vectors for this new weapon. And so, I conducted a test on Skalda.

Both Katya and Nikolai instantly realized that Zenbu was admitting to being the one behind Skalda's ruin. Whether they wanted to or not, they needed to know more about this weapon.

Nikolai: It was you?!

Zenbu: Skalda was a very small country, a perfect testing ground. If you cannot destroy a people by use of their genes, destroy them by use of their language. If you cannot destroy them by use of their language, destroy them by use of their money. With so much paper currency in Skalda's possession and everyday circulation, producing a biological agent that could feed off of the binding agents the legal tender was constructed of was a relatively easy venture. Microorganisms can feed off of the starches and fillers used in paper, allowing themselves to grow and flourish, especially if the paper in question is of poor enough quality.

Nikolai: You...you used Skalda's currency as the vector for the weapon?

Zenbu: Yes. It was a solid alternative to a gene-sensitive bioweapon. You can easily destroy a single people if you attack the things that define them, the things other than their genes. A biological agent similar to that of bubonic plague, using currency as the vector, was easily widespread among Skalda's populace, wiping out the entire country and most of its people. I intend to perfect this weapon and put in the hands of humans. The first country to master this new weapon will continue to lead the world into a new era of destruction, an ideal leap in weapons development. Nikolai, you should be quite thrilled about this. You are a weapons development specialist, after all.





*CLEANSER*





Katya: It's as if you WANT to tear the earth asunder...

Zenbu: Yes...that is what I want.

The lights in the corpses eyes were all snuffed out at once, and they all fell back down upon their cooling boards. The single light in the ceiling flicked on and off yet again, but this time, the shadowy silhouette of a woman appeared just beneath the light, a kusarigama in her right hand. Single strands of her shoulder-length, black hair were illuminated by the flickering light, but her face was concealed in darkness. A rain cloak that only covered her arms halfway and only went down to her ribs was clearly soaked in water, as if she had just gotten in from outside. Just from her bandaged wrists and the gleam of her kusarigama, Katya recognized the femme fatale before her.

Katya: Nikolai, get behind me! It's Lily!

The door behind them finally opened up. It was Locke and Jaya, signaling Katya an Nikolai to flee the room.

Locke: Monarch, let's go!

Katya and Nikolai bolted out of the morgue and shut the door, ducking by the windows as the one they called Lily swung the ball and chain attached to her kusarigama, completely shattering the frontal walls of the morgue. It almost felt like a small blast, knocking the everyone down the hall and showering them in dust and debris. Locke coughed the dust out of his lungs and stood in front of Katya along with Jaya, both of their hands clasped and ready for combat.

Locke: Monarch, orders!

Katya: Fall back! We can't fight her!

Jaya: Let's go, Locke!

All four of them continued to retreat with all haste down the bloodied halls, making every twist and turn to get themselves out of Lily's sight. Lily marched down the halls in unconcerned pursuit, passing by the row of windows with a view of the courtyard. Many of the hospital's personnel and patients rushed outside, thinking the troops stationed around the hospital would help them.

A group of senior doctors could be seen trying to talk to the Syvian KGR agents, their hand gestures clearly portraying that they were pleading for their lives, and for the lives of their patients. Their forlorn efforts ended with the KGR tossing grenades among the group, instantly killing the doctors as their bodies seemed to disappear in the blasts. The remaining personnel and patients filled the courtyard with their screams and fled back inside of the hospital as the KGR continued to fire upon them with their crossbows, nailing a few of the nurses through their chests.

They struggled to get up off of the floor as blood stained their white nurse clothes, helpless as they were finished off with knives to their throats. Katya and the others were lucky to make a left turn just as more squads of KGR agents came down he halls, their swords drawn towards Lily, who turned her head to them in apathy. Just as they always were, Lily's empty eye sockets were covered by a black blindfold, giving people only her lips to discern her mood.

KGR: She's armed! Kill her now!

Lily: Looks like I get the messy kills yet again, huh Zenbu?

The tentacles from before came crashing through the windows, forcing themselves down the mouths of some of the KGR agents. They all fell to the floor, choking on what was essentially the remains of the massacred. The ones left standing tossed incendiary grenades at the ravaging tentacles, hoping to burn them along with their deceased comrades.

KGR: Burn in hell you god damn monsters!

To her surprise, Lily was given an incendiary gift as well, only realizing it as it flew in front of her face. The entire hallway lit up with intense flames, killing off the tentacles and cloaking Lily's body in fire. She fell to the floor, rolling and screaming as the flames ate away at her flesh. The KGR agents watched in total concentration on Lily as she, beyond all belief, stood up despite being on fire, grunting as she slowly turned to face them.

KGR: Fire crossbows! Bring her do-

The flames covering Lily's body exploded in intensity, turning into flames of brilliant, radiant white. Even from down the hall, the KGR could feel the heat of the flames covering her, but they noticed she did not seem to mind these flames. Her screaming and painful moans ended, to the astonishment of the men. They continued to fire their crossbows, only for them to burn up and disintegrate before they could even hit their target.

KGR: It's ineffective!

The white flames around Lily's body rose to the ceiling, lighting it ablaze as it began to take the form of a phoenix. The White Phoenix. The White Phoenix's body and Lily's seemed to be merged, and its wings were closed inwards. Before the awestruck men could turn away to retreat, the White Phoenix sprung open its wings far and wide as Lily let out a ferocious scream.

The entire length of the hallway was blown away in an intense explosion of white flames and suffocating, black smoke. The explosion rocked the entire building, so much so that it actually began to lean to the side, throwing Katya and the others off balance as they continued their retreat. Part of the ceiling on their end of the building was blown off, collapsing onto the ground floor.

Locke: Get back! The ceiling is coming apart!

Katya yanked Nikolai back, both of them captivated by the view of the White Phoenix now quadrupled in size, rising to the stormy clouds in the sky with an ear-piercing roar. Such a sight was something that could only come out of the apocalyptic chapters of a holy book.

Nikolai: My god...what monsters lurk among us?

Locke: Katya...

Katya: I know. It's just like six years ago. We cannot fight that woman, or the mummified man either. I hate to say it, but this operation is compromised...proceed with Plan B.

Jaya: Understood.

Jaya drew forth her sword, startling Nikolai.

Nikolai: Wait, please!

Katya: We're out of time and options, Nikolai. Jaya will be your executioner, and we shall take your brain with his for Venus examination at Deshavi HQ. Locke, we're unable to use the Art of the Moon in this storm, and taking any conventional exit will ensure we're pursued by the enemy all the way back to HQ.

Locke: If they want him this badly, bringing him back alive may be a mistake after all. We took extra measures to safeguard him in this hospital until the operation, and they still found him. We can't risk that happening at HQ too.

Jaya: We already told Team 2 to prepare a lunar sigil to allow us to teleport despite the lack of direct moonlight. We were planning to go with the target, but I agree. Bringing him alive is a death warrant for our men.

Nikolai fell to the ground, his legs shaking in fear as Jaya stood over him.

Katya: Sever his head and bring it back with us. If you keep its electrical activity active with the Art of Jupiter, we'll be able to recover most of his memories after the Venus examination.

Jaya: Understood.

Nikolai: Ha...hahaha...I guess I knew it would come to this. Will I really stand before God and tell him that my peak in life was helping humans find new ways to kill each other? If it somehow helps beings like that monstrosity outside...I've truly wasted my life. Perhaps it's a mercy to die here...

Katya: I'm very sorry, Nikolai. We'll pray for your soul. Jaya.

Jaya raised her blade as Nikolai shut his eyes, prepared for sweet death to embrace him.


*TO BE CONTINUED*








Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2017, 03:57:42 AM »
I lied. Two more.
Imposter Rat
Spoiler
Nikolai, in a soft and weary voice, said his final prayer. The raging flames of White Phoenix soaring into the storm clouds lit the night in its heavenly, wrathful glow.

Nikolai: Sva donya naishka, sva donya stasivat, sva donya veherwey...

Zenbu: "God, give me lilies, God give me justice, God give me a peaceful death."

Zenbu's voice turned their heads towards the hospital's roof, interrupting the execution. At last, Zenbu revealed himself, sitting atop the broken rooftop and staring down upon Katya and the others. His cloak fluttered about in the wind as those glowing, crimson eyes of his traced the faces of all the shocked and alert Deshavi operatives.

Katya: You again!

Locke immediately put himself in front of Katya, clasping his hands together in preparation for any quick offensive or defensive moves. He carefully, anxiously watched Zenbu's hands, knowing he would not to act on a split second notice if he were to perform anymore Marluxian Arts.

Locke: Jaya, execute Guilty Rat now! Do not hesitate!

Upon seeing Zenbu, Nikolai's fears flared up beyond his control. Just by looking upon him, Nikolai knew full well that he had no good intentions. No one that would dare use the dead as spokespeople could ever have good intentions.

Nikolai: Jaya, right?! I beg you! Kill me! I'd rather die than work for him! They're after me for the same reason you are!

Zenbu: Now that would be ill-considered. I cannot allow you to kill Nikolai, young girl. Make any moves against his life, and I will intervene.

Katya: Damn it...we're in a standoff. I don't want to get into a close-quarters combat situation with him when I can't even gauge his current abilities.

Locke: So...what are your orders, Monarch?

Katya: Remain in your defensive position. We have to play this very carefully. Jaya, for right now, stand perfectly still. Do you understand?

Jaya: Y-yes, Monarch!

Zenbu: Borealis taught you well, Katya. You're as cautious as he was. It seems the whole world either wants Nikolai dead or in their captivity. No, I'd say Sankadesh is the only country that wants him gone, while Syvia and Vevoskovia are trying to beat each other to him. I'm surprised Sankadesh has such a good conscience, rushing to kill the man who could help the age of weapons advance once more. However...I want him too.

Katya: If I let such a thing happen, I will have failed my comrades, my king, and my country. You absolutely cannot have Nikolai.

Zenbu scoffed, turning his eyes towards the White Phoenix as it spread its wings among the clouds, lighting them ablaze with pure white flames.

Zenbu: Every king that has ever lived has dreamed of such a weapon, something capable of wiping out his people's enemies wholesale. Exterminate their race, their tribe, their kin, culture, and language. Killing people via biological agents using paper currency as a vector...it was a good test run, a viable weapon on its own. But with Nikolai's knowledge of human arsenals, and my knowledge of the Marluxian Arts, we could create a true ethnic cleanser. A weapon that can eliminate specific races and genetic codes from this earth. If you're after him, then surely, you want the same thing, don't you? And if you want it, it only means you're acting on your lord's orders.

Jaya: He knows we work for Vevoskovia?!

Katya: Having already fought us before, he knows too much about the Deshavi Black Ops. Our very existence is supposed to be a secret, let alone our connection to Vevoskovia. And yet, he's too powerful for any of us to take on.

Locke: Seriously?

Zenbu: Can you imagine if Vevoskovia's first king, Ishta Menlayev, had such a weapon at his disposal? Syvia would've never warred with Vevoskovia ever again. I'd be very curious to see what you would all choose to do with the man's knowledge. Perhaps you'll create a weapon capable of scrubbing the Syvian people out of history.

Nikolai shivered at the mere thought of having to spend the rest of his life creating new tools of death and destruction, the most cursed occupation any human could hold.

Zenbu: Well, I may be powerful, but it's not like I can move at the speed of sound. This is just as much of a wager for me as it is for you. Who is faster? Katya? Me? Or Lily?

Speak of Lily and she shall appear. She landed right besides Zenbu, holding her smoking kusarigama in her hands, the chain glittering in the moonlight along with the jeweled beads decorating her hair.

Lily: Zenbu, they can't be trusted to do it. Even the Deshavi lack the darkness and rage to do this. We should take the wager and try to secure Nikolai from them. I've longed dreamed of the day we erase the Syvian people.

Zenbu: I suppose you're right...

Locke: Katya...

Katya: Yeah, I saw. Use the Art of Uranus to lift us. I'll use the Art of Mars.

Locke: Understood.




*DESTROY YOUR ENEMY'S PEOPLE*




Katya stepped forth, holding her hands in the air as if she were surrendering. Lily and Zenbu were taken completely off guard, their necks recoiling slightly in surprise.

Zenbu: What's this?

Katya: We may be fast, but the Deshavi probably aren't faster than you. I'm sure that if I tried to stab Nikolai right now, you'd at least be able to kill all of us and heal Nikolai's wound in under a minute. Not to mention, your powers are leagues beyond ours.

Locke turned towards Jaya, nodding his head. Jaya nodded back.

Lily: Enough of this, I know you're stalling!

Lily gripped her kusarigama tightly and knelt on one knee in preparation to dash towards them faster than they could see. At the same time, Katya's risky plan was signaled to begin with just a single yell.

Katya: NOW!

Katya, risking her remaining eye, made use of her occular energy exertion and channeled the power of the Art of Mars through it. It was a quick, albeit potentially dangerous substitute to using her hands. With just a small amount of Mars's power, Katya created multiple, small, thermobaric explosions around herself and the rest of the Deshavi, including Nikolai. Locke immediately slammed his hands upon the ground, utilizing the Art of Uranus to summon the air around them and send everyone flying into the sky like hawks. By the time Lily landed, she had just barely missed her targets.

Lily: Damn it!

Now hundreds of feet in the air and exposed to moonlight, they were finally able to make their escape.

Katya: Back to base, now!

Lily turned her eyes skyward as they all clasped their hands and disappeared into the night sky, out of sight, and without a trace. Nikolai too was gone.

Zenbu: Impressive...they shot themselves up into the air to expose themselves to the moon...

Lily: And now they've teleported back to their damn hole. Unbelievable! I wasn't fast enough! And what about you?! You just sat there and watched me lose!

Zenbu: Even if I used Nibiru's teleportation abilities, it still wouldn't have been fast enough. It was their combined usage of the Marluxian Arts that let them escape.

Lily clearly wanted to kick a wall, but she ended up sighing all of her frustration out, wrapping her kusarigama back around her wrist.

Lily: Now they'll use him to create a weapon for Vevoskovia, or more specifically, for King Tokahev.

Zenbu: And that bothers you this much? We still have you to count on as a major weapon.

Lily: Have you seen what Tokahev has been trying to do?! The Supreme Senate is practically begging him to cut down Syvia and he still naively clings to the idea of peace in an era like this! He doesn't have the stomach to produce a weapon like that, not even just to keep it as a deterrent! In the end, Tokahev lacks conviction and is too idealistic. It will be the death of him some day.

Zenbu stood up, looking around at the chaos outside and inside the hospital. Troops still stormed the floors, kicking down the doors to rooms in search of the man who had already disappeared.

Zenbu: It's time to clean this mess up. Lily, if you will.

Lily: They're already gone. You don't have to call me by that name anymore. Use my real name.

Zenbu smiled beneath his bandages.

Zenbu: My apologies. Please deal with this mess...Phaedra Asane.

Phaedra: With pleasure.

Phaedra summoned forth the White Phoenix from her body once more, letting it shriek into the clouds with stomach-twisting force and volume. Its magnificent flames swallowed the entirety of the hospital, burning all of the frightened patients, hospital staff, and awestruck soldiers down to their simplest molecular structures. The guards stationed outside, as well as the surrounding government offices and trees were all reduced to smoldering, black remains as the white flames consumed them.

Zenbu watched in glee, as he always did, as Phaedra did what she did best. She was calamity incarnate.

Zenbu: Indeed...I suppose we already have a good weapon on our side...





*OPERATION GUILTY RAT: CLOSE SUCCESS*





The next day was like a smooth, relaxing sail across a sparkling, blue sea after a dreadful, nightmarish storm. Out of the chaotic warzone that was Sankadesh, Katya and her troops had returned to Vevoskovia after their mission. It was just as the sun was rising that Katya traveled to Castle Asane by herself, to report the details of the mission to King Tokahev. The autumn season changed the rolling hills and trees in the distance into a sprawling sea of vivid, warm oranges and reds. Katya, of course, was finally out of her bloodied hospital gown and bandages, returning to her black sweater, black tights, and leather coat worn over her shoulder like a cape.

King Tokahev, with his black hair tied into a ponytail, stood over the balcony railing of the 3rd floor living quarters, scratching thin, growing beard. Katya looked off into the distance with him, clearly exhausted from her mission. The wind fluttered her hair about her tired face as she folded most of the frontal strands behind her ears.

Katya: In the end, we terminated Nikolai. Having him alive was a little too risky, especially when we're dealing with enemies that also use the Marluxian Arts. When I return, we'll be doing a thorough examination of his brain.

Tokahev: I see. What did Nikolai find out about that statue? Is it really as special as we think it is?

Katya: There is a hidden Marluxian Art, one that our enemies can use. We don't know what it is. Multiple kinds of energy can be extracted from the statue as well, in great quantities. With that knowledge, we knew that if one could simply draw out, say, enough energy from Pluto, they could use its power to create microscopic organisms.

Tokahev: Micro...

Katya: Microscopic organisms. They're extremely small, living organisms. They usually consist of a much smaller amount of cells than pretty much any larger animal. Some of them are even single celled.

Tokahev: Goodness, Katya...

Katya: Don't feel bad. Even for the Deshavi, this concept is still very new. When any given material rots or molds, it's usually some sort of microorganism such as a type of bacteria that is responsible for it. That bacteria makes people sick, Tokahev. If that bacteria could be mass-produced at leisure and weaponized, it would prove to be disastrous. Such a weapon would be more reliable than a chemical weapon in some cases. Bacteria reproduces by itself, doesn't need to be continually reproduced to make up for a short shelf life, and spreads naturally among food sources, animals, and people.

Tokahev: And if done covertly...one could afflict their enemies with common, infectious diseases, without any trace of their country's involvement...right?

Katya: Yeah. The threat was even greater than that, though. They planned to engineer a kind of bacteria that only became active when in contact with specific genetic sequences. Essentially, they could build a weapon that only kills people of a certain race, or people that share a similar genetic make up or condition.

Tokahev: That sounds like something only God should be able to do.

Katya: I figured you would say that. I was going to ask you, since we have Nikolai's brain, if you wanted us to research ways to build a secret arsenal for Vevoskovia. An arsenal of ethnic cleansers. It would serve as a fine weapon against nations like Syvia, wouldn't it?

Tokahev sighed, as if making a heavy decision in his mind.

Tokahev: What a question, Katya. Unfortunately, I have no intention to build anything like that. I think it is a monstrous thing. Somehow, some way, I will make a bridge of peace between Vevoskovia and Syvia. We need only be patient.

Katya turned her eye towards Tokahev, smiling at the stern face of the young king.

Katya: I knew you'd say no. I wouldn't have blamed you if you said yes, though. There's nothing wrong with having a back up plan.

Tokahev: I don't have a back up plan for this the same reason why I don't have a back up God. I have faith in the one I chose.

Katya stretched out her arms and yawned, struggling just to keep her eyes open.

Katya: Well, I'll have a more detailed, written report available in our archives as usual, should you request more information. We'll still analyze Nikolai's brain, but we won't be using his knowledge to produce any of the theoretical weapons. I sure hope you do achieve peace between Vevoskovia and Syvia someday, Tokahev.

Looking down at the courtyard, Tokahev and Katya enjoyed the sight of the heirs to Vevoskovia's throne playing together in the grass. Marluxia, Hita, and Mori all played a rather cute game of leapfrog with each other, with the rosy-haired Marluxia falling flat on his face and his brothers helped him up.

Katya: Hita looks so much like Kalina, it's amazing. He even has her red hair...

Tokahev: Yeah, out of all people, he ended up looking most like his grandmother. Mori looks a lot like me though, huh?

Katya: Like a living reflection.

Tokahev: I have to always remember this, Katya. Above all, this is what I have to protect. Not just my own children, but the children of every Vevoskovian household in the country. Remember this sight, Katya. Remember that this is why we get our hands dirty, to protect this little batch of innocence.





*A WOEFUL FATE FOR THE CHILDREN OF TOKAHEV*





Fighting the urge to sleep, Katya returned the cavernous Deshavi HQ, taking a quick trip to the medical quarters after passing through the massive waterfall entrance. Locke, Jaya, and La'amica all turned their heads towards Katya as she entered the examination room, which consisted of a silver operating table, lit torches, and a few desks lined with opened scrolls. Everyone already had their facemasks on, and their rubber gloves were stained with fresh blood.

La'amica: Goormorning, Katya! We've already severed the head.

Katya: Good. I'll deglove the skull.

Katya put on gloves and facemask as well, taking hold of Nikolai's head and resting it on the table. She could tell from his facial expression that his beheading was quick and relatively painless. Katya curiously twirled the head around, seemingly searching for something that the others weren't seeing.

Jaya: Ma'am?

Katya: Just doing my due diligence. Hmm? What is this?

Combing through Nikolai's damp hair with her fingers, Katya noticed something very peculiar about the back of his head.

Katya: That looks like...a surgical scar?

Locke: It's fastened with stitches. Does that mean the scar was recent?

After a fair bit of disturbing struggling, Katya managed to pull Nikolai's skull away from the skin, leaving the fleshy, blood-covered, wide-eyed skull to stare at them.

Jaya: That's so creepy!

La'amica: No abnormalities in the facial tissue, it seems. Let's continue onto the skull itself.

Katya clasped her hands, disintegrating the flesh around the skull with the Art of Saturn. La'mica continued to wash the remaining blood off of the skull by showering it with water produced with the Art of Neptune. With a clean view of the skull, one thing became abundantly clear. A large portion of the top of the skull, from the forehead to the very back, had been surgically removed before. Lines ran through the top of the skull.

Katya popped off the sectioned area of the skull, revealing the brain.

Jaya: What...what are those lines?

Katya: Surgical scars from when this section of the skull was cut through and lifted. It's indicative of a brain surgery that took place, probably shortly before we made contact with him yesterday.

La'amica: But brain surgery isn't even a medical concept yet in any nation. The only ones who have even thought of it are-

Katya: Yes, I know. Us. Someone out there also understands this concept, and they performed it with clear skill and expertise. La'amica, the brain.

La'amica: Right.

La'amica carefully extracted the brain out of the skull and got to work. She clasped her hands together to summon forth the Art of Venus, then proceeded to gently lay her palms on each side of the brain, closing her eyes.

Katya: Look into the most recent memories stored on the brain first, then work your way back.

La'amica: Understood.

La'amica could see Nikolai's memories flash before her in rapid succession. The first batch of memories were all of the events that took place in the hospital, and the effort it took to escape. However...it was everything she saw before Nikolai awoke in the hospital that forced La'amica to lose focus, opening her eyes in shock. Beyond the day he awoke in the hospital, La'amica saw memories of a family, particularly a blonde wife and three children, all of them enjoying their days at the beach, camping out in Sankadesh's mountains, or buying jewelry in Asaji's bazaar.

Katya: What's wrong? Are you alright?

Locke: You don't look so good, La'amica. What did you see?

La'amica stepped away from the operating table, breathing heavily.

La'amica: Katya...that is not Nikolai's brain. That brain belongs to someone else entirely.

Utterly confused and consumed by disbelief, the three of them turned they eyes back to the brain, and to Nikolai's naked corpse lying across the room. The surgical scars finally began to make sense to Katya. She realized then and there, that somewhere along the way, despite all of their careful planning...

Katya: God damn it...we were rused.




Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2017, 06:17:45 PM »
Inadora literally trolled the entire world

The Truth: Mind Over Body
Spoiler


*TWO WEEKS BEFORE OPERATION GUILTY RAT*

*RECORD OF TRUTH*



The time was 5:20 AM, as indicated by the cool, dark blue sky. A single beam of its light poked through the tiny opening between the two closed curtains of Nikolai's hotel room. Nikolai's ears were constantly stimulated by the sounds of zippers opening and closing in the dark hotel room, even as his fellow researchers packed their bags on the other side of the room. One of them, a middle-aged woman with short, brown hair, peeked through the curtains. Her right arm was slung across her chest and wrapped in a set of bandages as well as a cast. She wore her ragged, silk, desert cloak over her shoulders like a cape, unable to wear it normally. Her eyes and ears were drawn to the chaos outside, six floors down.

Nikolai: Amhurst, how's it looking down there?

Amhurst: It's bad. We need to get out of here quickly. Judging by the booms, the revolutionaries and the loyalists are starting to use explosives against each other. This hotel would make a strong, strategic point for defending the northern area of town.

Nikolai: Entwelle, can you zip your bags any louder?

Entwelle, despite the delicate sounding name, was as old and rugged as Nikolai. His hair was blonde to the point it almost looked white, grown down to his collarbones. Bloody bandages were wrapped around his head as he secured all of his belongings into his backpack.

Entwelle: Not the time for jokes, Nikolai! Besides, it's just your hearing, not my zipping!

Nikolai laughed as he hurriedly threw his hooded cloak on, his legs shaking from fear despite his jests.

Nikolai: After this, maybe I should quit this folly occupation...and go back to music.

Amhurst: Is everyone ready? We should leave, immediately.

The three of them quickly departed their hotel room, not even bothering to lock the door on their way out. Wasting no time, that jogged through the empty, lantern-lit halls as the faint sounds of war roared from outside.

Nikolai: Katya gave us information about a contact in the SOE, should we ever need a quick escape. But I don't know if the SOE will even show up in the middle of a battle!

Amhurst: I had already arranged for our exfiltration, but I don't know for sure, either.

Entwelle: The Deshavi Black Ops aren't coming? Why do we have to rely on the SOE?

Amhurst: Last I heard from Katya, she said the Deshavi Black Ops are not permitted by King Tokahev to conduct operations in Sankadesh. Their focus is on Syvia right now. It's our own fault for not carefully planning our escape route out of Skalda. Now we're stuck in the Deshavi's only red zone!

Nikolai: The SOE is still reliable. They helped Prince Salem escape Sankadesh a few years ago as well.





*TRUTH*





After barging out of the lobby and onto the empty, morning streets, which were lined with wet cobblestone and tree-ratting winds, Nikolai and his partners were surprised to find hands suddenly pressed over their mouths as they were pulled into the alleyway by three, complete strangers. Once they were secured in the darkness, their captors revealed themselves.

SOE: We're from Vevoskovia. Nikolai, Amhurst, and Entwelle, right? We're here to get you out.

Once they were told this, they were released from the SOE's grip. It was but a small squad of four cloaked and masked SOE agents. Their cloaks were a dark gray, much like the cobblestone roads, covering their bodies down to their kneecaps to conceal their arms and weapons.

Amhurst: Thank god, you're right on time! Let's get out of here!

SOE 2: We've already got an exit route secured, but we need to hurry. We'll be leaving by carriage. Let's go.

A horse drawn carriage awaited them not far from the hotel. Nikolai and his partners got inside the passenger's palanquin as two SOE agents commanded the horses. The other two took another carriage and led the way. Once Nikolai and the others felt the wheels of the carriage move forward, they were able to breathe a sigh of relief as the sounds of the battle grew more distant.

Nikolai: Goodness, that was close...

Entwelle: We need to get back to Katya and give her the news immediately. Whoever was responsible for Skalda, they weren't able to produce a true ethnic cleanser. Though, admittedly, using Skalda's own currency as the vector for the weapon was clever.

Nikolai: Yeah, they weren't able to...but we were.

Nikolai withdrew a sealed vial from his backpack, one of many that he and his partners produced while in Skalda. If only Katya had known the truth. Though Zenbu may have failed in creating the perfect ethnic cleanser, Nikolai, using Zenbu's work as a base, had a surprise for the world within that vial.

Nikolai: All it took was a little engineering with the power of the Forbidden Statue, confirming that it indeed has the ability to produce and manipulate living organisms. And now look...a 'bioweapon', as she calls them, that can target specific genetic sequences, no matter how small or subtle, and kill its host.

Nikolai handed the vial over to Amhurst, who carefully held it against the faint, morning light.

Nikolai: An intracellular parasite that can live, feed, and reproduce within the cells of humans. Like any other retrovirus, it can merge within a hosts's cell, using its own RNA to build a viral DNA molecule. Intergrase takes place, and that DNA molecule merges perfectly with the host cell's DNA.

Amhurst: Meaning that when the cell undergoes reproduction as it always does...

Entwelle: It also reproduces the viral DNA.

Nikolai: Only a fraction of any human's DNA is different from another human's. This will target that difference. Geographical origin has a detectable effect on human DNA. Some humans from one continent may produce a greater quantity of certain alleles in comparison to other humans from a different continent. Some humans share varying amounts of DNA from their evolutionary ancestors, while some races do not. That strain you're holding is designed to revert into a nonpathogenic state upon the detection of 13th Era human genes, what Katya called the "Neanderthal".

Amhurst: Nonpathogenic? Meaning it will live within the host, but cause no harm?

Entwelle: If the host in question has even a trace amount of 13th Era human genes, the parasite remains dormant. Most humans have these genes, but certain races, mostly from the Unkazi continent, lack them entirely. In their case, the parasite will remain pathogenic and kill them. Everyone else would be immune.

Nikolai: We have other strains that possess the ability to become pathogenic or nonpathogenic in accordance to varying degrees of this ancestral genetic makeup. Combined with the ability to detect differences in alleles based on geographical origin, it's our hope that we can make a weapon that not only targets races, but people in specific regions within a continent. The Nation of White, for instance, whose people live in highly elevated, mountainous, cold terrain, could be affected by the parasite. Their neighbors, say, the Kogans who live on flat, fair-weathered land, would be unaffected despite their close genetic ancestry.

Amhurst felt as if she were holding the most abominable creation known to man, and handed the vial back over to Nikolai. It was only after hearing the explanation of the perfected biological agent did she regret ever being part of the project.

Entwelle: I know what you're thinking. "God have mercy on our souls for this grave sin.".

Amhurst: So you really managed to make something like this. I'm both proud and ashamed.

Nikolai: Yes, well, at any rate, you have my thanks, Amhurst. You provided much of the framework for existing differences in DNA between races, and even offered some of your own for testing. I'll be sure you are rewarded handsomely. Katya said she will be the one to handle the pay for your bonus objective.

Amhurst: Don't talk about that. I've done enough for her and for Vevoskovia. I'm not going to provide any help in building a Syvian strain.

Nikolai: Either way, if King Tokahev were to allow it, Katya will find a method of producing a Syvian strain by herself.

Amhurst: Damn her. Why did I ever agree to do the devil's work...




*A RACE TO ELIMINATE RACES*




Their SOE escorts suddenly opened up the palanquin's front window, yelling at the three.

SOE: Incoming! Rockets above!

Nikolai, Entwelle, and Amhurst ducked their heads as rockets left streams of white smoke in the sky before descending upon the city, rocking the carriage with every explosion. Many people were holed up inside of their homes as the rockets blasted open their rooftops with light explosions. The true payload of the rockets were the chlorine canisters that were busted open upon impact, spreading the gas around the air and streets on that particularly windy morning. The formerly quiet streets were now filled with deathly, terrified screams as people rushed out of their homes, coughing out plumes of chlorine gas.

The SOE agents opened up the palanquin and began pulling Nikolai and the others out. The horses, startled by the explosions, were no longer reliable.

Amhurst: Nikolai!

Nikolai: Hurry out, now!

SOE: Get out now! We have to get-

They were unfortunate enough to be caught in a blast. Nikolai's eyes were blinded by the explosion, and his ears rang deafeningly loud as the carriage flipped and tumbled down the road over and over again, with Entwelle and Amhurst tumbling around inside. The carriage finally landed with a hard, final slam on the street as they groaned in pain and confusion, the sounds of falling, shattered glass and screaming from outside muted by the shell shock.

Nikolai looked over to his right, seeing a bloodied and unresponsive Amhurst, apparently killed while the carriage was tumbling. Nikolai's sight and hearing came back to him, but Entwelle's previous head injury was aggravated by the force of the explosion. Nikolai nudged his shoulder repeatedly, trying to get his attention.

Nikolai: Entwelle! Entwelle, can you hear me?!

Nothing seemed to be wrong with Entwelle's ears themselves, but his hearing was worsened following the additional trauma to the head. The two were suddenly pulled out of the wreckage by Sankadesh revolutionary troops, who all covered their mouths and noses with firmly wrapped bandanas.

Troop: Cover your mouth and nose! It's a gas attack! We'll get you some help!

The SOE soldiers that accompanied them were nowhere to be found, their bodies most likely blown apart in the blast.

Troop: Stop panicking and control your breathing! Don't inhale this stuff!

Having no experience with gas attacks before, Nikolai was unable to properly follow the soldier's advice. He and Entwelle both passed out unconscious from the gas.





*NIKOLAI AND ENTWELLE BOTH BROUGHT TO HOSPITAL*

*48 HOURS LATER, NEITHER HAVE AWOKEN*





The hospital Nikolai would later escape from shortly before his death saw its first glimpse of chaos after the initial attack. Though in a more manageable volume before the start of Operation Guilty Rat, the hospital was loaded with agonizing, wounded victims of the blasts. It was roughly two days after the first attack that lone nurse entered the busy hospital, wearing a typical hospital face mask and nurse uniform. Her skin seemed as pale as death, and her hair was volumetric, wavy, and dark gray like a storm cloud. She kept her eyes closed, yet she managed to navigate the hospital without tripping or taking a wrong turn.

She brought with her a table of utensils, rolling it by calmly as the screams of the wounded and dying filled the halls in a dissonant symphony of wartime suffering. Room 42. That's where she entered and locked the door. Out of sight, the woman removed her face mask, revealing herself to be none other than Inadora. Her eyes peeled open, their black and gray spiral pattern covering the whole of her eyeballs. Taking a deep breath, she gazed upon the unconscious Entwelle and Nikolai, walking over to the latter and confirming his identity.

Despite her menacing looks, Inadora's voice was one of softness and comfort, but not without its due confidence and undertone of hidden power beneath her welcoming politesse.

Inadora: Nikolai? I doubt that's your real name. Perhaps it was given to you for this mission specifically.

In similar fashion to the Deshavi Black Ops, Inadora's head rang with the voice of her best friend and comrade, Nadena Miyasane, the ocean-haired bundle of empty-headed joy. Wearing her Phoenix Demon cloak, Nadena waited in the hills overlooking the hospital, telepathically speaking to Inadora with the Art of Venus. Her long, blue hair was hidden beneath the cloak's hood as the sun's light broke through the trees behind her and shined upon the lotus flower crest on the back of the cloak, the soon-to-be infamous symbol of the Order of the Phoenix Demons.

Nadena: Ina! How's it going in there? Did you find him?

Inadora: Yeah, I found him. There's another one with him.

Nadena: What are you going to do?

Inadora returned her ominous gaze to Entwelle, as if she were trying to decide as well.

Nadena: If what you heard from eavesdropping on Fate is true, they're with the Deshavi Black Ops, right? Other countries are also looking for him.

Inadora: Killing him would be wasteful. Though I don't see the Phoenix Demons ever using such a weapon, it's better that we possess that knowledge instead of any of the Great Powers.

Nadena: I agree. I mean...an ethnic cleanser? That sounds insane! Maybe you could take his memories and dispose of him?

Inadora: I could, but I don't know if Nikolai is still being watched by the Deshavi Black Ops or the SOE, or god knows who else. Luxaura, Roy, and Yato have all been reincarnated, so there's also a possibility that whoever Fate was talking to, it was a group separate from our own. They will also be looking for him.

Nadena: What should we do, then?




*ONE'S MIND*



Inadora: We need a way to ruse all parties involved, a way to take Nikolai's knowledge while keeping Nikolai intact and in the hospital. There's too great a possibility that if Nikolai dies now, Fate will suspect us. I know Luxaura never trusted him, but he's still a fellow member of the Phoenix Demons. His time will come. Nadena, keep your eyes out for me. I'm going to think of something.

Nadena: Understood! I can still hear explosions in the distance. If it's more of those rockets, you can expect a lot more entries to the hospital.

Inadora: As if it isn't packed enough as it is...

First, Inadora performed an analysis of Nikolai's brain, viewing his memories and health status with the Art of Venus. She was most intrigued by the memories of Nikolai's perfection of the biological agent designed to target specific races and peoples. Intrigued, but not thrilled that such a weapon ever came to light, even among the Deshavi and a small team of researchers.

Inadora: How am I supposed to take what we need but keep you in tact?

Nadena: Uhmm, Ina, if I may suggest something...

Inadora: What is it?

Nadena: Maybe we could a little bit of identity switching? I mean, you said he has a partner next to him, right? You have two bodies to work with.

Inadora: Identities...I don't know if I'm good enough with the Art of Pluto to switch two people's physical identities for very long, but...

Nadena: Hmm?

Inadora: I can do something similar. You're a genius, Nadena.

Nadena: Huh?! Really?!

Inadora: Listen to me. Prepare to take a guest with us back to the hideout. We'll be taking both Entwelle and Nikolai with us, but Nikolai will stay here.

Nadena: Wait, what? I thought you just said they're both coming with us!

Inadora: They are, technically. You'll see what I mean soon Nadena. "Nikolai" will be in two places at once.

And so, Inadora began the stages of her ruse, to trick the Deshavi Black Ops, the Sankadesh Guard, the Syian KGR, and Zenbu's group all at once.




*72 HOURS AFTER ATTACK*




Inadora returned to Nikolai's room. Neither he or Entwelle had woken up.

Inadora: Keep your eye out, Nadena. I'm beginning the operation.

Nadena: You got it!

Day by day, the hospital filled up with more wounded, and the morgues in turn filled with more of the dead. Working against the horrid, hellish sounds of screaming and rushing doctors outside, Inadora took her scalpel and made an incision at the top of Nikolai's head, exposing his skull beyond the bloodied, split ends of his skin. The same procedure had already been done to Entwelle. With both skulls exposed, Inadora peeled back the top layer of Nikolai's skin as if she were pulling off a plastic wrapper. She clasped her hands, utilizing the Art of Saturn's ability to disintegrate matter to make an incision in his head with her gloved finger.

Popping open the top of his skull like a detachable plate, Inadora finally had access to his brain. Ina repeated this procedure with Entwelle.

Inadora: Both brains exposed. I'll try to suppress the threat of immunorejection with the Art of Pluto. They should wake up in a few days after all of this.

Nadena: Alright. I'll be waiting to pick up our guest.




*FIVE DAYS AFTER ATTACK*




Nikolai, after five days out of consciousness, awoke to the sound of the intensified chaos of the hospital beyond his door. His head ached with the most awful pulsation of pain, partly caused by the light of the sun beaming through the windows and glaring off of the marble floors. Looking to his left, he saw who he presumed to be Entwelle laying in his hospital bed, most of his face except for his eyes and mouth being wrapped in bandages by the nurse.

Upon hearing his awakening groans, Inadora spoke as she began to undo the wrapping on Entwelle's head, her back turned to Nikolai.

Inadora: They say that a strange phenomenon called a Near-Death Experience allows one to sit and watch over their own body like an astral spirit, even while they're unconscious or undergoing surgery. Records of this event have been recording throughout history, even when the field of medicine was mostly ruled by superstition, and medical divination was more common than an actual procedure. They've described themselves as being able to float above or off to the side of their body, and all the while, they were at peace with the fact that they would die. Some even claimed to have seen Heaven and Hell.


Inadora's ruse was nearly complete. She completely unwrapped Entwelle's head, but stood in the way so he couldn't see his face. She walked over to Nikolai, holding a small mirror.

Inadora: What is your name? Can you tell me that much?

Nikolai: Nik...Ni...Nikolai...

Inadora nodded disapprovingly and handed him the mirror.

Inadora: Unfortunately, that is no longer your name, and this is not a Near-Death Experience.

An ominous thunder boomed in Nikolai's chest he looked in the mirror, seeing none other than Entwelle's face. Looking over to he thought was Entwelle, Nikolai saw himself, his own body sitting across from him. He screamed and dropped the mirror on the ground, staring at his trembling hands with a traumatized and shocked expression, as if he had just seen a ghost. Those were not his hands. The face he felt with those hands was not his either. Nikolai did not have blonde hair, and yet, he could see the hair parted to his sides was as blonde as the rays of the morning sun.

Nikolai: Wha...what is this?! What happened to me?!

Inadora: What happened to you? That depends on what you define as "You". Every great nation on this planet wants you, either to kill you or bring you in to work under them for the rest of your miserable life. The weapon you produced in Skalda, looks like word got out about it. After looking at Amhurst's memories, it seemed she intended to sell information about the weapon so that other countries could have leverage against Vevoskovia. I venture to guess that, in the end, she had loyalties to Syvia. That's why the world is raring to get what they were told you were selling.

Nikolai: Amhurst...no...you're lying! There's no way she-

Inadora: You don't have to believe me. In the end, it doesn't matter. She didn't expect you would modify the weapon at the last stage of your research. She let it slip to the other countries that you had developed a virus that could be weaponized, one that could replace chemical weapons as the most destructive weapon in any arsenal. Not only that, but it could also be used to kill specific races of people. She couldn't have known that you would develop a retrovirus with an intracellular parasite instead. Even if a particular strain doesn't effect the human exposed to it, if he makes contact with the group of humans that the virus DOES affect, say, through sexual activity, it could still kill the intended target. Unsuspecting humans indirectly become the vectors for genocide. It's diabolically genius.

Nikolai kept staring at his hands, still unable to believe the he, somehow, was separated and conscious from his own body and occupying Entwelle's.

Nikolai: How did you do this...

Inadora: Your brains have been successfully transplanted. You define yourself as Nikolai because you hold Nikolai's brain, but you see Entwelle because it's his body that holds your brain. The reverse is true for him. He has yet to awaken, but I've copied over a good amount of your memories over to Entwelle's brain, to act as a cover when he's discovered. He will, for a little while, really think that he's you. He will believe he's Nikolai, act like Nikolai, think like Nikolai, and be able to recall events in a way that only Nikolai could do. There were some slight problems, though.

Inadora returned to Entwelle's side, wrapping his face back up with the bandages. It would serve to conceal his identity as well as the surgical scars.

Inadora: Switching brains really does change everything about a person. You trained as a musician since you were a boy. Your hearing is exceptional because of it. However, Entwelle's average hearing was further degraded by his two head injuries. If something like a music box were to play down the hall, you'd be able to hear it just fine, but he wouldn't. That's just one of many red flags the Deshavi might be able to catch onto. There's also a difference in how he will interpret colors, changes in a his fight-or-flight responses, and general behavior. Entwelle brought up God quite often, didn't he? Expect this one to do the same. Hell, he may even start praying.

Nikolai, though his body was weak, tried to stand himself up in bed, still unable to move his legs with full control.

Inadora: Entwelle was more aggressive, so this one will probably be capable of putting up some sort of physical fight. Differences like those separate you and him, but I doubt anyone will catch onto this in time. Take a good look at him, Nikolai. From now on, Entwelle is you, and you are Entwelle. He's your ghost. With this, the world's wrath will be directed towards him while you get away safely. For now, that is. Immunorejection will eventually kill you both. Not even I can stop that fact.

With Entwelle's face bandaged completely, Inadora returned to Nikolai, clasping her hands together as if she were praying. It was then that Nikolai noticed her strange, ominous eyes and pale skin. Unable to comprehend what had happened to him, and further frightened by Inadora's appearance, Nikolai could do nothing but shiver and cower before her.

Inadora: Go back to sleep for a while, "Nikolai". The ruse is complete.





« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 06:22:50 PM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2017, 08:02:43 PM »
And that's the end of the 6 Cataclysms short story "Operation Guilty Rat", folks  :clapping: Thanks for reading, and as usual, if you have any thoughts or criticisms, leave them down below. You can expect more 6 Cataclysms content soon, but I've got to hurry up and finish that extra Anzu arc.

The Truth: The Phantom of You/Phoenix Rebirth
Spoiler
*ONE WEEK AFTER ATTACK*


Nikolai's eyes peeled open, and through his dark and fuzzily distorted vision, he was just barely able to make out the glowing lantern hanging by his bedside. He tilted his aching head to his right, seeing the messy and empty hospital bed beside him. His body felt unbearably fatigued, as a tickling, static sensation traveled all the way from his neck down to his bandaged hands and fingertips.

His mouth dry and his eyes bloodshot, Nikolai turned his gaze to the hospital ceiling, trying to remember exactly how he had gotten there. Just as his memory began to weave together into a comprehensible picture, the door to his room opened, letting the sounds of obscene screaming from suffering patient's, and the thunderous roll of gurney wheels carrying those that could not be saved.

The door was shut again, filtering most of the hellish sounds outside. Gentle footsteps echoed closer and closer to his bedside. Though he couldn't clearly see the person, he could tell just from the way he shoes knocked against the floor that it was a female. The woman clasped her hands as she let out a light gasp, sitting by his side and caressing his head like a concerned mother. All of a sudden, his vision returned to him in full detail. Nikolai was looking into the worried face and ominous eyes of Inadora, though her worry for his health was not out of worry for him specifically.

Inadora: You're awake! Can you see me? Is your vision alright? What about your hearing?

Nikolai groaned as he processed Inadora's questions, gathering the energy to speak.

Nikolai: I can see just fine. Your voice sounds a little faint, but I can hear you well.

Inadora: Okay, that's good.

Inadora held up two tiny squares of dyed paper, one red and one blue.

Inadora: Can you tell me which colors these are?

Nikolai: The one on the left is red, and the one on the right is blue.

She held up two more, one White and the other Black.

Nikolai: Some sort of gray and...black?

Inadora: Alright. For the most part, it seems you can interpret colors well, though your detection of whites is just a tad off. Warm and cool colors seem to work fine.

Nikolai: I'm sorry, Ma'am...can you tell me where I am?

Inadora: Thunderbird Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Valasaiiles, Sankadesh. Do you remember what happened before you came here?

Nikolai: I was trying to remember just now. I was...returning from a hotel with some associates of mine...two of them. Did they come here too?

Inadora put aside the colored squares of paper, her expression soured as she prepared to give Nikolai the bad news.

Inadora: Your associates are both dead. They were killed on impact when your carriage tumbled over.

Nikolai: That's right, there was a rocket attack...wait, the vials! Did you recover any vials!?

Inadora: Please, calm down. You must not exert yourself too much. You were brought here but Sankadesh revolutionary soldiers. They did not bring any vials with them.

Nikolai: Those vials were important! I at least have to make sure they were all destroyed in the explosion! I'm a weapons development researcher, I can't let those vials fall into the wrong hands!




*GHOST*



Inadora inched herself slightly closer to Nikolai, seemingly staring into his soul with her stern, yet curious gaze.

Inadora: A weapons development researcher...so then, tell me. Do you remember who you are? Do you remember your name?

Nikolai: Of course...it's...Nikolai.

Inadora smiled and nodded, pulling away from Nikolai's bed. Nikolai's "ghost", his political decoy, had been perfectly awakened and fooled into believing he was Nikolai, all while he lent his own physical identity to the real Nikolai. Inadora's plan was a confirmed success.

Inadora: Very good, Nikolai. Take some time to rest. Try not to venture outside by yourself. This hospital is only getting more and more full by the day. No one will claim responsibility, but chemical attacks have only been continuing since you got here. Droves of people are being taken into hospitals, transferred between hospitals to evenly spread out the pressure, and even transferred between morgues. Other doctors and nurses will be here to assist you later, Nikolai. Please, enjoy your rest.

Nikolai: Okay...thank you, Ma'am. Oh, I never got your name.

Inadora opened the door, turning her head to Nikolai one last time.

Inadora: It's Inadora.

Nikolai: A beautiful name, Inadora. I don't mean to be rude, but...your eyes...why are they gray and black?

Inadora: I'm not sure what you're talking about, sir. We did just discover that your interpretation of whites are off, appearing gray.

Nikolai: Oh, yes! My apologies! It must be my poor vision.

Inadora: It should return to normal in time as your eyes get used to light and color again. You've only been out for a week, after all. Well then, goodbye, Nikolai.

Nikolai: Yes, thank you.

As Inadora passed through the hellishly loud and bloodstained halls, her eyes caught the sight of a particularly recognizable patient. It was an injured and unconscious Katya being rushed to a room within the same quarter as Nikolai's. Her blonde hair was spread out like the rays of the shining sun, and one of her eyes was, as usual, covered with her signature black eye patch. Inadora had just barely completed her ruse in time.

Inadora: So the Deshavi Black Ops are here...






*OPERATION GUILTY RAT COMMENCES 24 HOURS LATER*





Katya: My sincerest apologies for my failure, my lord. We've been had all along.

Once again, Katya stood with Tokahev on the 3rd floor balcony of Castle Asane in a windy and overcast morning, joined by his wife and the Queen of Vevoskovia, Amiya Menlayev. Amiya's thin night gown fluttered about in the wind along with her, dark blonde hair, dancing around her emerald-green eyes. At the very least, the air was sweetened by the smell of the freshly grown flowers below, a measly anodyne to the bad news Katya was obligated to deliver to her lords.

Katya: We don't know the full extent of what happened. All we know for sure is that when we opened up Nikolai's skull, the brain that was encased inside did not belong to him.

Amiya: Could the perpetrator have just washed Nikolai's memories with another person's memories?

Katya: If they had the expertise in the Marluxian Arts to override memories like that, there would have been no need for the surgery that was done on Nikolai. His head and skull had incision marks. Stitches were still in place, keeping it all together. I think it's very clear that Nikolai had his brain swapped with Entwelle's.

Tokahev: I didn't know such a thing was even possible...

Katya: It's an extremely advanced usage of the Arts of Venus and Pluto combined with an actual surgical operation to open up the human head and safely extract the brain, transplanting it into another body. The Deshavi have run tests like this on prisoners in the past, but we were never able to perfect it, to the best of my knowledge. Whoever did this is skilled beyond our level. They put that skill to use and switched their brains, loading some of Nikolai's knowledge and memories onto Entwelle's, while erasing Entwelle's own memories of his experiences and findings during the research mission.

Tokahev: And when they awoke...all of their consciousness, their sense of self...it was all transferred to another body?

Katya: I imagine that's exactly what they went through. In all honesty, it was a genius ruse. They got us. Switching their brains was like switching their identities with minimal indication of any physical tampering. The body of Nikolai, carrying a manipulated brain of Entwelle, acted as the perfect political decoy just long enough for them to be able to place Nikolai's brain in another body. All of the heat following Nikolai and his team is focused upon us and the decoy, while the perpetrators get away clean.

Amiya: So now the question remains...where is the real Nikolai?

Katya: If it was Entwelle's brain that was used in this ruse, I imagine Nikolai's brain was transplanted into Entwelle's body. However, we don't know where Entwelle is. Only Amhurst's corpse was recovered, but I get the sense that both Entwelle and Nikolai was taken to that hospital. Entwelle most likely awoke before Nikolai, both of them having already undergone the switch. Perhaps he escaped the hospital long before I even got there.

Amiya: What a terrible mess. I can't believe there are people out there capable of fooling even the Deshavi Black Ops.

Katya: I take full responsibility for this failure, my lord.

Amiya: No, please. None of us could've possibly prepared for a situation like this. You're not to blame, Katya.

That was Amiya, always warm and forgiving.

Tokahev: And this Amhurst woman, were you able to get any information from her?

Katya: Unfortunately, when they were caught in the rocket attack, Amhurst suffered severe head trauma. In fact, it was the head trauma that killed her. When we opened her skull, it was almost filled to the brim with blood that hemorrhaged from her brain-

Amiya: Goodness, Katya...

Katya: Oh! My apologies, Amiya! In short, he brain was too damaged to recover any memories from it.

Tokahev sighed, slicking back his black hair with his hand.

Tokahev: The International Court is looking into the attack. Using chemical weapons is bad enough, but the real problem comes from the fact that they were used in an area populated with civilians. Naturally, each one of the Great Powers are under suspicion of circulating the weapons in Sankadesh, including Vevoskovia. I have to go to the hearing in a few days and act as the country's defendant. The Supreme Senate will also vouch for Vevoskovia's innocence. Though we have chemical-based weaponry in our national stockpiles, they're only there as a deterrence. The chemical agents are often thrown out before they can even have the chance to be used, anyway.

Amiya: Vevoskovia is the primary suspect, Katya.

Katya: What? Why? Syvia's known to stomp all over international laws of war and combat, yet they suspect Vevoskovia the most?

Amiya: It's because Hammer and Sun handles the manufacturing of weapons for Vevoskovia, a company that's been owned by the Menlayev family ever since Ishta Menlayev built Castle Asane after founding the country. I'm sure you can see the potential complications of this setup.

Katya: Damn it...they think Hammer and Sun sold those chlorine rockets in Sankadesh, don't they? They may be registered as a corporation, but the Menlayev family has forbidden unauthorized sales of weaponry to other countries, especially one drowning in a civil war.

Tokahev: That's what I have to convince them of. It should be fine. All of our stocks are accounted for. We can prove with hard data and a simple inspection that we've moved absolutely none of our chemical-based weaponry.

Katya: I see. Well, I suppose we should all start our day. I'll head back to Deshavi HQ for now.

Tokahev: Alright. Don't stress yourself out over this Guilty Rat business. We'll cut our losses for now. We should be focused on finding out the culprit behind the attack, and who supplied them with those weapons.

Amiya: Come by if you need anything, dear!

Katya jumped onto the balcony railing, stopping to say one last thing to her lords before departing.

Katya: Tokahev, Amiya...be very wary.

Amiya: Hmm? Of what?

Katya: This chemical weapon business. You know how long the Senate has wanted to shift control of weapons production from Hammer and Sun over to the Vevoskovian government itself. There's a specific reason why Ishta entrusted such a responsibility to his company rather than letting it fall to the government. He foretold a day where the king and the Senate would be at odds with each other, stuck in a situation just like this. I'm no prophet, but I foresee this being a step in a long staircase where the Senate will push for war against Syvia. To do that, to go against Tokahev's will, they will need to wrestle as much control as they can away from you two.

As if they too knew it in their hearts, Amiya and Tokahev remained silent. Katya's expression seemed to express a certain heartache and worry that was personal, not professional. The very thought of any harm coming to those two made her more dedicated to protect them, and to protect their children.

Amiya: Thank you, Katya. You've done such a wonderful job serving the Menlayev family. First Queen Kalina, and now us. We'll be very wary of what's to come.

Tokahev: Ah, you've watched over me since I was just a boy. I trust your analysis on any given matter. No matter what, I will strive for a world of peace between the Great Powers, between Syvia and Vevoskovia. And you're going watch me accomplish all of it, Katya!

Tokahev smiled and extended his open hand to Katya.

Tokahev: Let's keep doing our best, Katya.

Savoring such a precious moment, Katya shook glad hands with Tokahev, returning his hopes and smile with her own. Among all of her powers, Katya's beautiful smile was the most potent. It filled one with the winds of hope, and the fires of determination.

Katya: Until the end, Tokahev, Amiya.





*AN END TO WAR*





Returning to the Vevoskovian hideout in the hallowed out mountaintop, Inadora, now back to wearing her Phoenix Demon cloak, walked down the rocky, torch-lit halls. The crackle of their flames echoed at every turn, along with another set of footsteps joining the sound of her own. Walking towards her and bearing the same cloak was Fate, perhaps the most untrustworthy member of the Phoenix Demons. The light of the torches were hardly even able to shine their light on his deathly pale, wrinkled face, for he always wore the hood of his cloak, even indoors. His freakishly long, red nails protruded out of the sleeves of his cloak, which veiled his tattoo-covered arms. Like Inadora, Fate's eyes were special. His eyes, like Zenbu's, shined a bright, crimson red.

The two stopped in front of each other.

Fate: Good day to you, Inadora. You've definitely being going out more, lately.

Inadora: Both me and Nadena. We can't stay in this mountain with you all day. The girls need their time alone, Fate.

Inadora took a mere three steps past Fate before his voice stopped her once more.

Fate: Don't play stupid with me, Inadora. You interfered with that Nikolai person, didn't you?

Inadora: Playing stupid? I could say the same thing, Fate. Just who were you talking to that night? Having fun establishing outside communications?

Fate: You pry far too much...

Inadora: I pry because I don't trust you. I don't know who you were talking to, why you were telling them about something so important, or why you seem to think you call the shots around here. Don't get it in your head that just because they're gone, you rule the Order of the Phoenix Demons.

Inadora's thoughts turned to one of Tokahev's own sons, the adorable little Mori with the long, black hair playing among his brothers.

Inadora: Until the day Luxaura awakens and returns here with Roy and Yato, I am the one who will lead this group. As Luxaura's first disciple, that responsibility naturally falls to me, not to you. As long as you remember that, I won't ask any questions concerning your loyalty.

Fate:...Very well then. Though, if we left it up to a battle, I'm sure I'd have no problem stealing your life away. Do not forget that it was I who taught Luxaura how to kill and absorb the Heralds of the End. It's because of me that you possess the Eyes of Izutu.

Inadora: And it's because of me that I've learned to use them well. Don't push your luck, Fate. The day will come when I can gladly get rid of you. Until then, let's just learn to...coexist.

Fate softly chuckled to himself as he walked away, his voice reverberating as he responded from further down the hall.

Fate: As you wish, Inadora. Until Luxaura's reincarnation 'awakens', you have the reins.

Oh, King Tokahev. Watch over your sons with a keen eye, for the name you so proudly bestowed upon Mori is not his name, and the love he has for you now shall shed away in due time.

Phoenix Rebirth is at hand.




Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2017, 05:59:55 PM »
Just a little extra something
The Final Letter of Nikolai the Guilty Rat: Addressed to No One

Spoiler
I write this letter, uncertain of who I'm even writing it for, in the hopes that committing these unyielding thoughts to paper will ease my weary head. Amusing, that even in the face of futility, human persistence prevails where hope cannot.

I am the one they called 'Nikolai', or 'Guilty Rat'. My real name is Serge Nitavanya, native of the great nation of Vevoskovia. My father served in the SOE during the Hammurabi Compromise, and the subsequent resurgence of Syvian nationalism. As such, it felt natural that I would devote my life's work the study of weaponry, how to improve them, and how to produce them. I wanted to give my fatherland the tools to secure its place in the world during these turbulent times. Like any other patriot, I sold my soul, my innocence for my country, usually at the expense of others.

As such, perhaps this was all the result of karmic destiny.

Operation Guilty Rat, the mission to rescue me from Sankadesh, was thwarted by a woman who calls herself Inadora. While Entwelle and I were still in our comatose states, this Inadora, she transplanted my brain into Entwelle's body, and Entwelle's brain into my body. Even as I write this, I am aware that my very own brain is commanding the body of my colleague. It's a fact I still haven't truly gotten used to. I can only guess that Katya rescued who she thought was me, only to find out that she had been fooled.

Surprisingly, Inadora treated me well when she brought me back to her hideout. She gave me plenty of food and water, as well as a bed to sleep on. I wouldn't be surprised if it was all just merciful acts for my sake. Immunorejection will kill me within a few days. Entwelle's immune system will naturally attack the foreign brain. My brain. In order to protect itself, the body will kill itself. I find this ironic when I think about Inadora and the group she spoke of. The Order of the Phoenix Demons.

It would appear that there are more factions that possess knowledge of the Marluxian Arts than just the Deshavi Black Ops. The Order of the Phoenix Demons, according to Inadora, have been around for more than 800 years. She says the group was founded by Luxaura, the holy prophet of the religion of Agzatona. Ridiculous, I know. However, with those eyes and powers of hers, I'm almost inclined to believe her.

Luxaura foretold the end of the world through a series of 'cataclysms'. These were disastrous events throughout history that eliminated a large portion of humans in one, fell swoop. Luxaura believed there would be six of these cataclysms, with the sixth itself being the one to bring an end to the human race. According to Inadora, five have already passed. The destruction of the remnants of the Golden Empire. The Month of the Black Sun, when the sun was darkened out of the sky, plunging the many populations centered around the equator into starvation and frigid temperatures. The mighty storm that washed away the entire nation of Providence. The White Wrath, when much of the Kogan-Syvian population was wiped out in a blast of white flames. And finally, an event well-documented throughout the world, the natural disaster that created the Great Chasm in the Kogan battlefield of the first World War.

The older events, like the fall of the Golden Empire, have been believed to be legend, exaggerated tales of long ago. However, if Inadora is to be believed, these were not natural disasters, but orchestrated events. The cataclysms were executed with the use of Heralds of the End, she says. They're demons possessing awful powers that were sealed within the Underworld, in possession of Agzabah and Zorc, the deities of Agzatona. Luxaura formed the Order of the Phoenix Demons just shortly before the First Cataclysm.

His mission was a mighty burden. He wanted to prevent the other cataclysms from occurring, all while he blamed Agzabah and Zorc for their occurrence in the first place. After all, the Heralds of the End were under their lock and key. Who else could've unleashed them upon humanity? He furthered this claim by pointing out how the Heralds of the End were returned to the Underworld after their use, instead of roaming around the Earth and causing more havoc. He reckoned that it could not have been an accident if they were immediately returned to their abode.

Inadora was the first member of the Order of the Phoenix Demons, an orphan rescued from death and given the gift of immortality in exchange for her allegiance to Luxaura. The prophet gathered more members and trained them in the ways of the Marluxian Arts, all while looking out for any signs of the next cataclysm. In the Post-Imperial era, the Second Cataclysm occurred, eliminating the entire nation of Providence. Agzabah and Zorc blamed Luxaura and his band of followers, while Luxaura continued to blame Agzabah. At this point, the relationship between them was completely severed. The prophet no longer had any love for his former teacher and god.

On and on again, the Phoenix Demons worked around the clock to try and prevent the cataclysms from progressing, but no matter how hard they tried, they failed time and time again. It was after the 5th Cataclysm, according to Inadora, that Luxaura conceded defeat in his plans to prevent the cataclysms. He reshaped the goal of the Order of the Phoenix Demons, one that I still cannot truly comprehend with my mortal mind. The more I learn, the more I discover that I do not know.

Luxaura's plan...it defies the very concept of what we define as human consciousness. It seems the prophet wishes to rapture the entire human race into what he calls the 4th Dimension, 'The True Heaven'. All human souls will be brought to this true heaven, and individuality as we know it will vanish. This 4th Dimension is the realm of the afterlife that was superseded by the Heaven and Hell created by Agzabah and Zorc. The realm remained hidden until Luxaura indirectly unsealed the dimension the day he became immortal.

All souls within this realm are sealed within some sort of Obelisk, their thoughts, feelings, and experiences melded into one, sentient, conscious entity. This entity is supposed to be free from mortal burdens and desires. It knows only peace and undying knowledge. While humanity is sealed within this state of nirvana, Earth, as well as all of the other planets in this solar system, will be destroyed, preventing any further use of the Marluxian Arts.

...It's a well-thought out plan, but it's clear it was born out of desperation. No matter how accurate Luxaura's premonitions about the Cataclysms were, he still failed to prevent any of them. Neither his party nor Agzabah's claim responsibility for them, or for all of the human lives lost in the winds of history and destruction.

I don't know what to make of all of it. I don't know why Inadora imparted all of this knowledge to me. Perhaps it was yet another act of pity upon a dying man that she was forced to involve herself with.

The first step of Luxaura's grand scheme to preserve the human race in the face of impending apocalypse...is a process called Phoenix Rebirth. It's a complicated utilization of the Marluxian Arts that Luxaura himself invented. In short, the process allowed Luxaura and two of his followers to reincarnate. The families they chose to bear their reincarnated selves...that is an issue that I hope is discovered by Katya soon.

Their leader, Luxaura, was born to the royal family of Vevoskovia. He could be either one of his two recent children, Hita and Mori. Yato, the executioner of the group, was born to a relatively normal family in the countryside. Roy Diadara, the reincarnation of one of Vevoskovia's founding fathers, was deliberately born to an unstable family. Inadora hoped the instability would lead him into the hands of the Deshavi Black Ops.

She says the pieces are already in place. Upon their reincarnation, their memories of their former lives were sealed away, as well as some of their weapons and powers. When the time is right, she said, those three shall awaken again. This ultimately brings me back to the topic of the Heralds of the End. In their attempts to prevent any future Cataclysms, the Phoenix Demons began killing and sealing the souls of those demons within their own bodies. Luxaura carries Astaroth, the demon that commenced the First Cataclysm. Roy carries Ryujin, responsible for the Second Cataclysm. Inadora didn't carry the soul of the third, but instead took her eyes, the Eyes of Izutu. It was responsible for the Third Cataclysm.

Knowing how powerful these things are, it's especially concerning to everyone involved that the only one that cannot be accounted for is the White Phoenix, bringer of the Fourth Cataclysm. Luxaura has no idea where it is, despite there being signs of its usage. And of course, the fifth Herald of the End is unattainable, locked inside of the accursed statue I was researching. That statue could only be opened with a hidden Marluxian Art, one that the Phoenix Demons have access to. And yet, they were unable to actually open the statue. The process must be much more complicated than I thought.

I can see why Luxaura has blamed Agzabah for these Cataclysms. Someone was able to take the Great Destroyer out of the statue and put it back in after they were done with the Fifth Cataclysm. Luxaura couldn't do it. So who did? Who else but Agzabah? Still, I cannot say I agree with his plan to consolidate all of humanity into a single conscious entity.

But I suppose that is nothing more than a fool's complaint. I am where I am now because I unknowingly got too close to a hidden war between an immortal prophet and a defiant god. I wonder though...what was the purpose of Luxaura and the other members reincarnating and sealing their memories away? Were Inaodra and the remaining members trying to keep them hidden from something? Or is there more to it? As of now, what remains of the Order of the Phoenix Demons possesses too little manpower to do much of anything until those three 'awaken'.

I worry what the next steps of Luxaura's plans are. How does he intend to gather the energy needed to unleash the Marluxian Arts upon the world? How much energy would he need to rapture everyone away into this 4th Dimension? In the end, if the world finds out about this plan, how does he think they will respond? Humans would never give up their individuality to become some sort of omniscient, omnipresent, astral organism.

All I can do now is sigh and wait for death.

The intracellular parasite I developed, the ethnic cleanser, was confiscated by Inadora and subsequently destroyed. However, one vial remains unaccounted for. She said the world has no need for such weapons. I find that notion hypocritical since they possess most of the Heralds of the End. If the world even know about the existent of such powerful things, would they consent to a renegade band of immortals possessing them? I raised this question to her, and she responded by saying this.

'There is a difference between you and I, between the nations of this world and the Order of the Phoenix Demons. We do not create weapons, and we do not collect weapons as deterrence or for war. We collect them so they are never used for slaughter. But you humans, bound by your ideologies and sometimes by cruel necessity, develop and use weapons for that exact purpose.'

Perhaps she's right. No...I know for a fact that she is. If not for the looming threat of the 6th Cataclysm, humanity would put an end to its own existence in due time, when humans find a way to eradicate entire cities in the blink of an eye. Thinking about all of it, I'm left to ponder things such as the ethics of weaponry, the state of human consciousness, and the fate of the world in the upcoming future. Again, as much as I've learned, there's still so much I do not know. The conflicts plaguing this earth extend beyond nations vs nations. It seems they concern Luxaura and his believers vs the gods they once worshiped.

Goodness...what will happen to all of us? Where will all of these conflicts take us? I'm afraid I no longer have the time to unravel such a mystery, nor the time to do anything about it.

Yes...I see why Katya chose the name 'Guilty Rat'. Perhaps it was a reference to the altered behavior of a rat when infected with a parasite, much like the one I developed. One interesting thing I learned from Katya's books on the relationships between parasites and their hosts is, rats, when infected with parasites such as the Toxoplasma gondii, will have their instincts altered by the parasite itself. The rat will go out of its way to increase its chances of being preyed upon by cats and other felids, thus allowing the parasite to pass itself onto the felid, the only known animal where the parasite can successfully complete sexual reproduction. It achieves this by either reducing the rodent's fear of felids, or by altering its senses to make it drawn to the urine of felids.

The same goes for fleas infected with plague. The oral system of the flea is obstructed by the plague, so that it can bite but not feed on blood. This makes the flea constantly hungry, and it will bite many more people and animals than it would've without the plague infection, thus passing the disease onto as many different organisms as possible. Guilty Rat, Guilty Flea, Guilty Crow, it all would've worked, because I have passed down a wrathful evil upon this world, a missing vial of intracellular parasites.

Given all that's happened, I do not believe in coincidences or best hopes. I am certain that someone possesses that missing vial, but the world will never know who, not until he unleashes it upon us all. I was the infected rat that passed that evil upon the world. I, led by my own curiosity, carried the disease of bloodlust to the world, letting it pray upon me while callously allowing the parasite to transition from one host to another. The parasite of avarice can reproduce like a rabbit with a world torn apart by war as its host.

And in the end, it was my colleague that ended bearing the burden of being the Guilty Rat, the burden of having the world after his head. I cannot even begin to imagine what he had to go through. Either way, perhaps I can meet him in hell...

...and give him a proper apology.


Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2017, 10:17:35 PM »
Secret Conversation: Amiya's Deception
Spoiler
Katya: My Queen, with all due respect...you lied to us all.

Katya and Queen Amiya sat alone in the medical wing of the deshavi, their faces diagonally lit by the pale light of a single electric lantern hung on the cavernous wall, just over a bloodied hospital bed. Deshavi HQ was quiet that late night, as most of the personnel were sleeping. Though the day was over for them, Amiya still wore her lavish and colorful royal gown, while Katya still bore the weight of her leather trenchcoat around her shoulders, wearing it like a cape.

Amiya: You're right. I was not completely honest with any of you. I cannot deny that fact.

Katya: I thought...all this time...that it was the enemy that tried to produce ethnic cleansing bioweapons. I only proposed the idea to Tokahev so that we'd be able to understand such weaponry should it ever be used on the people of Vevoskovia. In the end, Nikolai's research was a two-pronged mission, wasn't it?

Amiya: Yes. Tokahev, of course, tasked him with studying the Forbidden Statue itself. It my idea that he produce a weapon capable of targeting specific races of people.

Katya scoffed in disbelief, nodding her head in utter disappointment and visible revulsion.

Katya: You came up with such a demonic idea?

Amiya: Of course, I did not know that there were other...forces out there, already using small nations as testing grounds for these kinds of weapons-

Katya: But you thought of the same kind of concept.

Amiya: Every ruler has, Katya. Every king, queen, lord, and duke in history has dreamed of a way to destroy the people of his enemy. When the Golden Empire subjugated the Eucarnorians, who would later become the Syvians, King Ushanka said this to his generals. "Now if only God would grant us a sword to cut culture, language, and the intangible makeup that makes us either a Eucanorian, an Hephestan, or a Ushankan." And when the Golden Empire fell, the Eucanorians fought to preserve what, Katya?

Katya: Their people. Their culture, their language, their race as a whole.

Amiya: The different peoples of this earth are bound by these things, but most of all, they are bound by the blood that makes them a Syvian, a Vevoskovian, a Skaldan, or an Asaji. So on and so forth. Being able to exterminate a people with a weapon that cares only for the blood they wear in their veins is one of the many curses in God's arsenal. The need and the lust for such a weapon lingers still.

Katya: Need?

Amiya: My husband, as you know, seeks a future of peace with Syvia, a future I wholeheartedly support. I am his wife in all things, but not even I, with all of my love and faith in him, can ignore the harsh realities of this world. I cannot simply forget the possibility that our journey for peace might just end in war. Just look at Syvia now that King Yandel has taken power. They've filled their coffers, they've rebuilt their army, and they're back in the game of meddling in world affairs, playing their hands in civil wars and conflicts across the world. It's all for the sake of expansion and acquisition of power, a desire that we all surely understand.

Katya: So this ethnic cleanser that you had Nikolai prepare...it was a contingency to all of that?

Amiya: Precisely. A last resort should our efforts fail. You know more than anyone that if the Great Nations fight each other in an all-out war in this day and age, the earth itself shall be mercilessly riven, torn asunder and choked with flames and ash. Many would die in what would be a second World War. As cruel as it sounds, Katya, the ethnic cleanser was necessary evil to prevent another world war from occurring, by simply wiping the Syvian race off of the earth.

Katya: Gaping into the abyss of the future will prompt that abyss to stare back at you, My Queen.

Amiya: The ethnic cleanser was not the first weapon I conceived of. I had been putting together ideas for an arsenal of weapons that target different aspects of a people or a country. Their genes, their currency, their language. Besides for weapons, I thought of procedures that could tear down their sense of identity, their culture, and the very fabric of their nation. I planned to target the very essence of what makes someone a Syvian, a Vevoskovian, or whatever they may be.

Katya: An even deeper view into the future, Amiya? Were you planning on quickly ending conflicts between the other nations as well?

Amiya: Perhaps. You must be so disgusted with me. But can you say that I am wrong? The mess that was the Hammurabi Compromise proved many things, Katya. Among those things was a valuable lesson. People view the distortion of their culture by means of shifting demographics and the purveyance of interculturalism as a threat to their nation. Consciously or not, the world knows that if they seek to interlink the various cultures and peoples of this world beneath one banner, they risk losing their own cultural identity.

Katya: I thought the idea was that they're supposed to coexist.

Amiya: Nonsense. That is an unproven and fallacious fantasy. There are cultures that value ideals that directly conflict with another culture. Ptsalian culture embraced the idea of child sacrifice and female genital mutilation up until their lot was annihilated, did they not? Do you that a significant population of Ptsalians would live and abide by the code of Vevoskovian culture? Do you think they'd suddenly drop the beliefs they were raised with, surrender their barbaric practices, and treat women as equals? Do you think they'd stop washing their hair in horse's blood and eating the seeds of their own crops during religious holidays?

Katya: Perhaps...if you forced them to.

Amiya: Ah, and there you have it. That force will breed conflict. Cultural conflict that becomes intractable, which in turns becomes nothing more than a race war, perhaps even a culture war. If you must apply force to the variables of your own ideological construct in order for them to work as intended, doesn't that tell you that the construct is a failure? That's why the Golden Empire, despite all of their draconian attempts to keep their states as part of the imperial union, fell apart. They could put up with imperial incompetence, but it was the imperial use of force that led to the destruction of the Golden Empire.

Katya: And these phenomena surrounding interculturalism...you intended to use these as weapons? To repeat the Hammurabi Compromise? It's already been tried once, so who would buy it again? If Tokahev announced tomorrow that he was getting rid of all immigration laws and even handing out benefits to immigrants from, say, Asaji or Sankadesh, the people would overthrow him in a fortnight. Unless you were to enact these changes through a slower process, something along the lines of cultural subversion. Mindsets shift overtime, but you can take measures to control these shifts, influence them to your liking.

Amiya: Your brilliance never ceases to amaze me, Katya. The very essence of a nation and its people...the microcosms that make this system of Lords and Subjects work...that is what I wanted to target. If you would call me evil, I would not blame you. The ethnic cleanser Nikolai was developing was the manifestation of the discrimination and doubt that is missing in this world. Wherever the world could not discriminate, the weapon would do it for them. Wherever it could not doubt, again, the weapon would assume that role.

Katya withdrew a cigar from her coat pocket, lighting the end of it with a small flame from her palm as her lips held it straight and steady in her mouth. The first, sweet inhale of its smoke and fumes set her mind at ease, making every word Amiya spoke as clear as spring water.

Amiya: Many would call these things, Discrimination and Doubt, 'negative'. They would deem them as aspects of the human condition that must be eradicated. Civilization was born and survived on the sustenance of discrimination. Discrimination of weak or strong, in-group or out-group. Doubt was the heart of Omni philosophy, the apex of skepticism, which in turn lead to the development of scientific methodology and rational reasoning. Of course, taken to the extreme, these things can severely disrupt our ability to function with sensibility.

Katya: Indeed, it already has.

Amiya: The world keeps progressing, Katya, in some strange and pathologically altruistic quest to rid itself of what it has deemed as evil. Slowly but surely, we're coasting towards a world that will hate its own skin color, hate its own race, its own culture, its own history, and even its own language. It will transplant the parts of other cultures to replace what it has removed from itself. It will do this until the monster that is left is a rootless, self-indulgent abomination, unable to define its own beliefs, let alone defend them. The doubt and discrimination that the weapon represented was a preventative measure to all of that as well.

Katya: But why go behind Tokahev's back, and even my back, to request this from Nikolai?

Amiya: You heard his answer when you asked him about it before. He would never build such a thing. The ironic thing about my husband is that he's too good for his own good. He lacks the doubt and discrimination that the world thrives on. If Vevoskovia were to possess and reproduce that weapon, it would've cemented its place as the world's most terrifying superpower, but it comes at a moral cost that Tokahev was simply not prepared to pay.

Katya: And yet, you were willing?

Amiya: ...Yes. For the sake of the future, for preserving the sanctity of individuality and separated existence in this ever-changing world. I apologize, Katya, for lying by omission about this. You and your men devote your lives to this country and to the Menlayev family. I have abused that trust.

Katya's heavy sigh smelled of burning, fermented tobacco leaf. It seemed to release the intangible, undefinable demons that rest and weep within the soul of the average Deshavi. Amiya's transgression was so small, yet so severe. Her act of bypassing Katya only relayed the repeated message of doom that every Deshavi must come to accept. Their lives don't matter in the grand scheme of things. If their lords truly wished, their lives could be cast away at a whim. They could be ignored, forgotten, or even betrayed on a whim, and they were supposed to accept the outcome.

Katya: Amiya...my duty is to you, your husband, and even your children. You come even before Vevoskovia itself. Next time, confront me before you take such action. The royal family and the Deshavi keep secrets among each other, not from each other.

Amiya: Yes, I understand. My sincerest apologies. I will not be requesting anymore such weaponry, nor will I wish to see my personal project brought to reality. As willing as I am, I fear what my karmic destiny beholds if I were to weaponize the deconstruction and annihilation of a people and their country. We all have big visions for this world. I only wish to see a world without such destructive wars. A world where nations and cultures exist, in whole, within their own space. A world where our values are not tossed away in favor of altruistic fantasy and delusion. At any rate, this chapter of our lives has been closed. Now we worry about greater things.

Katya: Like the International Court meeting? How did that go?

Amiya: Vevoskovia was cleared, thankfully. Tokahev allowed a full inspection of Hammer and Sun's stockpile. Everyone was pleased to know that we hadn't deployed any chemical weapon anywhere. King Salem has finally gotten a hold on Sankadesh, so we expect the civil war to die down. Syvia has already pulled the KGR out of the country.

Katya: Yeah, we noticed that much. Glad to see the little brat has finally taken the throne. I suppose that just leaves us to focus on Syvia?

Amiya: Yes, though Tokahev merely wants you to watch them. He's still adamant on settling things with King Yandel.

Katya: I can only wish him luck, then. I suppose we should still draft up our plans if, in the end, this all fails.

Amiya: Yes. Without ethnic cleansers, I presume?

Katya: That's entirely your choice.

Amiya: You lost your eye fighting whatever demon tried to emerge from that statue. Now that I really think about it...I've been insulting you this whole time, haven't I?

Katya: I'm the commander of the Deshavi Black Ops. I don't take insults, nor offense. Whatever choice you make, Amiya, I'll be loyal to you until the end.

Amiya stood with a refreshed and restored smile, bowing her head to Katya.

Amiya: I thank you, Katya. I will return to the Menlayev Manor now. I know you still have a lot to do, but get to bed early for me, alright? You deserve your rest.

Katya tipped her cigar as she walked away.

Katya: Of course, My Lady.


« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 01:24:59 PM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2017, 10:51:23 PM »
This would technically take place close to the climax and ending of Red Rose Chronicles, after Marluxia and Roy/Samba have already grown up after years of service in the Deshavi Black Ops. I should probably post Red Rose Chronicles, now that I think about it. All of the Cold War-esque political intrigue and tension comes to quite a bloody conclusion in that one.

In the meantime, I'm also working on another 6 Cataclysms short story that takes place well after Hita's death and the Phoenix Demon War, when Zenbu and the gang finally put together the final pieces of their plan to bring about the 6th Cataclysm and bring an end to the human race. Only Inadora and Nadena are still alive at that point, though some other important figures are resurrected thanks to Roy's ability to plan ahead  :sure:

Even so, it's not looking good for the world. Zenbu has the power of Nibiru, figured out how to unlock the Forbidden Statue in order to obtain the Great Destroyer, already has the White Phoenix, sends Phaedra out to retrieve the Eyes of Izutu from Inadora, intends on finally reviving Dharja and Samadaya, and even managed to obtain parts of the Patriot's Arsenal. With most of their enemies out of the way, they're fully armed and ready to bring about the end of the world.

Final Conversation: Everything, I Leave to You
Spoiler
11 years after Operation Guilty Rat, Commander Katya and Queen Amiya convened once again in Katya's office at Deshavi HQ, a clean, quiet, and warm space fitted with her large wooden desk and thick, fur rugs. Books and scrolls littered her desk, and even more of them were neatly and alphabetically organized on heavy, wooden shelves. The cavernous space was lit by the grace and illumination of several aromatic candles placed all around the office.

The burden of her occupation had a clear affect on Amiya over the years. She had gotten skinnier, and on that particular night, she looked as pale as Death's horse. Her eyes seemed to wander, having lost the youthful and focused luster of her younger years. Despite Katya's extremely demanding job, her role as commander of the Deshavi Black Ops didn't seem to have much of an affect on her appearance. If anything, there was a stern wisdom and maturity around her, an austere air and aura.

Amiya handed over a single scroll to Katya, who unraveled and read part of it, tracing her index finger across the words.

Amiya: As you know, Tokahev and I will be going to Syvia to meet with King Yandel very soon. These are the only records I have left concerning the Patriot's Arsenal. I'm surrendering this to you, Katya. Do as you see fit with it. Use it, destroy it, it doesn't matter anymore.

Katya wrapped the scroll back up, overwhelmed not only by the contents of the scroll itself, but the undercurrent of worry and anxiety in Amiya's breath.

Katya: Patriot's Arsenal? Is that what you called this project?

Amiya: I've told you this before, but the ethnic cleanser was not the only weapon I thought of.

Katya: Right, you wanted weapons that could, somehow, target the language, currency, and culture of a people. Essentially, you were undoing the very fabric of what it means to be a nation and a race. That's why I find the name 'Patriot's Arsenal' to be ironic, though I suppose that was the point.

Amiya: Those weapons were never developed, but their concepts and development blueprints are there, mostly based off of Guilty Rat's original ethnic cleansing parasite and retrovirus. Plans for a parasite that lives in warm, freshwater lakes, rivers, and hot springs, capable of traveling up the nose of a human host and living inside of the brain. From there, it destroys tissues in the brain associated with...

Katya:...With?

Amiya: The formulation and comprehension of language. To put it simply, the next weapon was supposed to be able to induce aphasia, the loss of language. Anyone exposed to it would lose their ability to read, write, speak, understand, and even think in any language, especially their mother tongue. I was also on the verge of finding a chemical equivalent to this, since a biological weapon for this purpose seemed so roundabout.

Katya: "Language is evolution, the heart of human thinking and intelligence.". To use a weapon that would rob someone of their ability to use a language in any capacity would be like sending them all the way back down to the first tier of human evolution. I can see why you're handing this to me. What you seem to be looking for here is a psychochemical weapon, a sort of midpoint between a biological and a chemical weapon.

Amiya: Psychochemical? Is that what you're calling it?

Katya: Mind-altering weapons, if that's too big a word for you.

Amiya scoffed, crossing her arms and yanking away her gaze in a pout of embarrassment.

Amiya: I can pronounce it right...psychochemical...psychochemical...

Katya leaned back in her chair, resting her feet on top of her desk. A very unprofessional thing to do, but well-deserved considering how hard she worked.

Katya: Psychochemical weapons typically don't reproduce within their hosts, so it doesn't spread in the same way your race-killing parasite does. Of course, with the Marluxian Arts, we'd be able to circumvent those kinds of problems. An unfortunate gust of wind, contamination of crops in the area, or a flood for any of the biological agents that can live in warm, fresh water.

Amiya: Are you saying you support the development of these weapons?

Katya:: I'm saying that, as always, the Deshavi Black Ops are at your beck and call. The question of my support is irrelevant if the queen wishes to have these developed. If you truly want my personal opinion, I'd tell you that the fact that you conceptualized a weapon that could literally steal a person's ability to use and comprehend language is a frightening thing. The common Vevoskovian citizen has always looked at their queens as elegance and vigor personified. But you...there's nothing elegant about this.

Amiya: I'm no common queen, as you already know. Katya, answer something else for me. I enjoy picking your brain like this.

Katya: What is it?

Amiya: What is a people without their language?

Katya was left silenced by the question as she truly thought over the answer. She pictured a nation full of people who could no longer read, write, speak, or comprehend their own language, or any language at all. They all may as well have their tongues cut out and their throats slashed.

Amiya: The human race could've never come this far without language. Our laws, our constitution, even our grave stones are written with the letters and symbols that comprise our language. Castle Asane and Tenzo Palace were built because the construction teams spoke the same language and used the same units of measurement. Coordination, in any capacity, relies on language. Diplomacy most certainly cannot occur without language either. Erasing a people's ability to use language for any of these purposes is the same as wiping them off of the earth. Their history, culture, music, laws, all of fades away the minute their language dies.

Katya:...Why are you telling me this?

Amiya: To teach you something. Weapons as we know them, whether it's a sword, a catapult, a trebuchet, or a rocket, are all manifestations of various human wishes and desires. We dreamed of piercing the skin of animals we hunted, so we made blades. We wanted to hurl objects over the mighty walls of our enemies, so we made siege equipment such as catapults. We fantasized of bringing fire down upon entire cities, and so we created rockets. The Patriot's Arsenal is simply an arsenal that abides by my philosophy, the philosophy of nations and races. In short, Katya, it is not a scroll I'm passing down to you. It's the philosophy that created everything within that scroll.

Katya sensed something was terribly wrong. She stood up from her relaxed position, slowly pacing over to Amiya's side. She sat on the corner of her desk as Amiya turned her gaze to the floor, her hands clasped and one of her thumbs rubbing over the other.

Katya: What's happening, Amiya?

Amiya: The Supreme Senate intends to nationalize Hammer and Sun after they've impeached Tokahev. They're going to wrestle the power to arm our forces away from us, so they can wage war on their own accord.

Katya: What?! Don't those fools know-

Amiya: Yes, that it would cause a constitutional crisis. Hammer and Sun, and the concomitant right to arm our forces has always belonged to the Menlayev family. This situation between Syvia and Vevoskovia has gotten so terribly out of hand, Katya. Tokahev wants peace, Yandel keeps fanning the flames of war, and the Supreme Senate started to consider Tokahev as a threat because he won't arm the military as he searches for a peaceful resolution to all of this. The Supreme Senate doesn't care about the constitution at this point, they want the security of being able to go to war on their own discretion. That's why we made plans to go to Syvia on a diplomatic trip.

Katya: A trip? To Syvia?

Amiya: It's the only way to halt the impeachment process and the forced acquisition of Hammer and Sun. It's our last shot at peace. If we fail, we might just end up dead if not deposed royals driven out of our own country.

Katya: Then let us help you! I don't know why Tokahev has insisted the Deshavi stand down on this matter!

Amiya: And what exactly could you do, Katya? No amount of subversion or covert action can get us out of this one. In fact, any action you take now might end up putting us all in danger.

Katya: What does that mean?

Amiya: Look...Tokahev only wants to work with Roy right now.

Katya: Roy?

Amiya: My apologies...I meant Samba. Tokahev has entrusted him with everything. That's why I'm entrusting you with this, the philosophy behind the Patriot's Arsenal. There are other weapons conceptualized there. One similar to what Zenbu told you in the hospital, a kind of bacteria that can live on paper currency. Another weapon that induces permanent aphagia, the refusal to swallow. Populations will starve and kill themselves if exposed to it. Another one erases a person's sense of self and identity, leaving you plenty of space to implant a psychological suggestion in them, make them think they're someone else, give them alternate memories, an alternate sense of self. It's similar to how we got rused 11 years ago with Operation Guilty Rat. It's all in there.

Katya: You want me to develop these weapons?

Amiya: No, that matter is entirely up to you. Think of them as a precaution.

Katya: A precaution to war, perhaps?

Amiya: Yes. Soon enough, Hita will be old enough to take the throne. If we're at war with Syvia or anyone else by the time we take the throne, and you find yourself staring in the eyes of another world war, use those weapons to stop it. The price for dragging my family into a world war is the entire existence, history, and legacy of their people, both as a nation and as a race. Just...don't tell Hita about these weapons. They belong entirely to you now. The fate of Vevoskovia naturally lies in your hands as the commander of the Deshavi Black Ops. Now, the fate of every other race and nation on this planet is in your hands. Should you wish for any of them to be annihilated, you can do so.

Katya: It would be the very last option I choose, but if it's your wish, I will accept the Patriot's Arsenal.

Amiya: Thank you, Katya. You're a true friend.

Amiya stood up from her seat, bowing her head in gratitude.

Amiya: Tokahev and I will leave in just four days. We'll be taking Samba with us.

Katya: Is that why Samba hasn't reported anything regarding you two to me?

Amiya: Yes. King's orders. He hates to make you feel left out, or like he and Samba are some sort of separate force-

Katya: It most certainly feels like that.

Amiya: Tokahev has some sort of plan, and whatever it is, he feels it concerns and relies entirely on Samba. Please, just trust him, Katya.

Katya: You two worry me so much, especially with how tense things are getting. I've never seen the Supreme Senate and the king so at odds with each other. They may as well be archenemies. The Deshavi Black Ops was Ishta Menlayev's secret measure against all of this, but even we can't do anything now.

Amiya traced her fingers ever so slightly against the few, isolated strands of Katya's thick, blonde hair. Katya's eyes gently closed as those hands then caressed her cheeks, pacifying her anxiety for just a moment. Amiya's voice hushed into a soft whisper, as if she were whispering to her own child.

Amiya: You've served Queen Kalina. You've served Tokahev and I for years. In the near future, you must serve Hita as well. You never could've guessed when you were just a little girl that the fate of this world would rest upon your shoulders like this.

Katya:...My mother was just like you when I was little. She used to caress my cheek just like this..and whisper the sweetest words in my ear.

Just hearing those words, spoken in such a vulnerable and tender tone, nearly tore Amiya's heart in half. No Deshavi agent ever spoke of their past. The past was to be forgotten, and their induction into the Deshavi assigned as their new date of birth. It only underlined the misery of what it meant to be part of a group that doesn't officially exist. No matter how much anyone insisted, they all still remembered their pasts, and Katya loved Amiya enough to share it with her.

Katya: She'd cuddle me in the winter, after we'd both had a cup of hot chocolate and a few minutes to ourselves by the fireplace. We'd both look at each other in bed like we were in love, and she told me to keep looking at her...keep looking at her and never turn away. I was scared of the dark. I'd always imagine little monsters hiding in every shadow, every crevice of the house that wasn't lit with candles. I felt incredibly safe with her. I felt protected and loved. Sometimes she'd even tickle me to make me laugh, because she knew how ticklish I was.

Amiya laughed at the thought of a small, ticklish Katya, an adorable sight indeed.

Katya: She bore the full name Katyanaishka, 'fire lily' in the old Eastern language. She named me Katya for short, because she didn't want to name me Katyanaishka II, but still wanted us to have the same name.

Amiya: And it is a beautiful name.

Katya: She told me, besides for wanting us to have the same name, she chose Katya because fire lilies bear the color of sunshine, yet they bloom in the winter. Once they're grown, even if the area is dry and lacks humidity, they won't be destroyed. They'll persevere through the winter, the cold, and even spells of dry weather. She said those flowers are a lot like me, and I just didn't know it yet. When she died, I wandered the wilderness, hoping to god that I would die out there in those mountains, in a meadow of fire lilies. Perhaps, in a sense I did. Commander Borealis took me in and I became a member of the Deshavi Black Ops. Even now, I keep what my mother said to me close to my heart.

Amiya: I...I'm asking of you what your mother asked when you were younger. Just stay strong. I need you to be that obdurate, stubborn flower that refuses to die and wilt. You're the only one who can, Katya. In doing so, you're being entrusted with the future, and you will serve a third generation of Menlayevs. The challenges awaiting you will be difficult. You'll have so much to figure out all on your own. I'm sorry to place an even greater burden upon your shoulders like this, Katya.

Katya: You don't have any hope of this going well, do you?

Amiya:...I should go. Thank you for everything, Katya. The best part of being the queen of Vevoskovia was having your company every day, knowing we were under your protection and watch, that we could count on your guidance and counsel. I'll miss it sorely, my friend. For now, you have the tools for every outcome. I ask only that you put your trust in Tokahev and Samba as we all give out our last shot.

Katya: Alright. It pains me, but I'll leave it to you three. Until we meet again?

Amiya: Until we meet again.

Amiya gave Katya one final smile before leaving her office, closing the door behind her. Alone in those empty, cavernous halls of Deshavi HQ, Amiya slouched against the wall and down onto the floor. She filled those halls with the heartbreaking melody of her cries, and the mournful thunder of her own weeping. The both of them knew, despite their festering desire to be wrong, that they had just had their final conversation together.




« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 01:28:07 PM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Operation Guilty Rat (6 Cataclysms)
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 03:29:43 PM »
Starting a new story called The Two Wraiths

The End is Nigh
Spoiler
A meandering flock of seagulls joyfully called out into the air, some of them landing by the jagged rocks on the shore awash with sea water. The sun was as red as a girl's blushing cheek, its dying light glistening atop the ocean's surface and cloaking the cumulonimbus clouds in the far distance in a dark, orange shade. A pair of eyes as red as the setting sun surveyed the gorgeous scene before him from the ledge of the cliffs above the shore, eyes marked with the symbol of Nibiru.

Zenbu. His white cloak and hood fluttered about in the seaside breeze, which carried the scent of salt water with it. He seemed to be enjoying the view, contemplating casual matters in his head as one of his legs dangled over the edge. The rhythmic thud of footsteps alerted him to Phaedra's presence just behind him. She bore the name of Lily no longer. There was simply no need to anymore.

Phaedra: Hard to believe the world almost ended 10 years ago, huh? It's almost as if the seagulls are shouting out their gratitude to the world.

Zenbu: That gratitude belongs to us.

Phaedra: And to Hita as well. My descendant paid a heavy price to pave the way for us. Don't forget that, Zenbu.

Zenbu turned his head to the side, then turned his crimson eyes to catch just a silent glimpse of Phaedra before returning his view to the sparkling ocean.

Zenbu: At long last, Phaedra, the time is upon us. It's time to put together the final pieces of our plan. Within a week, humanity will come to an end, but this world shall remain. It will became the new Cradle of Eve, the birthplace of life.

Phaedra withdrew a vial full of clear, water-like fluid from her leather pouch. She held it up with a smile, her long, black hair dancing like wild streaks of shadows in the breeze, along with the ends of her black blindfold.

Phaedra: So, it's finally time to put the legacy of the Guilty Rat to use?

Zenbu softly chuckled.

Zenbu: You mean Queen Amiya's legacy, the first woman to turn her very own philosophy into a real, tangible weapon. She had sought to use everything that weapon represents in order to keep the balance in this world. We will use it to dip the world in chaos. What strains of the ethnic cleanser do we possess?

Phaedra: This vial here is the Syvian strain. It was hard work, but Von was also able to produce an Asaji strain, with a Vevoskovian strain still in the early phases of testing. It's parasitic to various kinds of insects and mammals that are known to commonly interact with and bite humans. The eggs they lay can also be carried in the air.

Zenbu: Give the Syvian strain of the parasite to Iris. Have him release it upon Syvia's palace in the capital

Phaedra: Hmm? Why the palace?

Zenbu: Before we can commence the 6th Cataclysm, we need to secure a few things. Firstly, we need the Heralds of the End. We know that Luxaura is still alive, carrying Astaroth with him. Inadora is out there somewhere with the Eyes of Izutu. Von is already working on the method to open the Forbidden Statue, so that takes care of the Great Destroyer. Our goal is to gather as many Heralds of the End as possible.

Phaedra: If Von is handling the Great Destroyer, I can go secure the Eyes of Izutu. But I don't get it, why the palace?

Zenbu: Queen Mari is currently on a diplomatic visit in Syvia. You remember her, right? Hita's daughter.

Phaedra: The little half-breed...

Zenbu: A biological attack at the very heart of the nation while Vevoskovian soldiers and the Vevoskovian sovereign are there...and despite being exposed to the same attack, only the Syvians will die.

Phaedra: You're going to frame her?

Zenbu: The casualties will be too high and of too much importance for them to stop and think rationally. They will react according to emergency protocol and situational appearances. As a result, Syvia will think of it as an attack from Vevoskovia. Syvia will then divert the majority of their armed forces to the capital, and all shipments between Syvian outposts and fortresses will halt. If it's a particularly special package, however, they will increase the security detail and raise their defenses.

Phaedra: I don't...

Zenbu: We've detected an active Greater Seal of Nibiru in Syvia, but the exact location is being obfuscated. We think the signal belongs to Luxaura, and that he's hiding in Syvia and is being protected by the country. This strategy will tell us which fortress our seal-bearing friend is hiding in.

Phaedra: If it's Luxaura, that's a chance to grab Astaroth. At the same time, Vevoskovia will be under suspicion for the attack, I'm guessing. There's a good chance war will erupt between them. With much of King Solomon's cabinet dead or incapacitated, they won't be able to halt the decision. Am I getting that right?

Zenbu: More or less. Luxaura was left with serious injuries after his last run-in with Von. We must find him. After the attack commences, search for him first, and then search for Inadora. Take whatever you can from them. By the time you're finished, Von will have opened the Forbidden Statue and claimed the Great Destroyer. After that...The 6th Cataclysm can begin.

Phaedra: I can do that. Looks like I'll be headed to Syvia, then.

Just as she prepared to tend to her task, Phaedra couldn't help but stare in fascination at Zenbu as he continued to watch the sea, his gauze-wrapped fingers tracing over the sides of his folding, iron war fan.

Phaedra: You don't usually sit in places like this, Zenbu. If I had to guess, I'd say you're feeling...sentimental, right? If your other is coming back, then I guess that means that you won't be here much longer, will you?

Zenbu: It is true. My mission, ever since I first awoke, was to usher in the era for his return. The cataclysms, the massacres, assassinations, the spying, the Heralds of the End, all of it was carefully planned for his sake, to facilitate his resurrection and the world he wanted to create. That mission is nearly at an end. However...this tingling in my veins makes me nervous. I almost want to say I feel scared. I both commend and curse my other for being able to create something that can experience those emotions. This mission has been my biggest burden, and my entire reason for being 'alive'.

Phaedra stepped closer, laying a gentle hand on Zenbu's shoulder for comfort. The two of them enjoyed the beauty of the earth together, one final time.

Phaedra: I think, in a way, you were your own person, not just a copy of him. You have experiences and emotions unique to you and you alone. Zenbu is Zenbu, and Dharja is Dharja. We couldn't have done any of this without you, you know. Your guidance, your forethought, your patience, all of it allowed us to come this far. When you're gone, I promise, we'll see to it that the world is made anew.

A heavy sigh from Zenbu seemed to release some of his inner anguish. He gently shut his eyes, whispering to Phaedra.

Zenbu: Thank you. It's been an honor.



*AWAKEN*



The peace and tranquility of the breezy, seaside cliffs was completely absent for Luxaura. Unconscious and bleeding profusely from a wide open wound in his chest, he was frantically laid down upon one of the beds in Nadena's countryside cottage in Vevoskovia. The small hills and meadows outside were completely covered in show, dominated by the clouded, gray sky above. Not only him, but an unconscious and revived Hita Menlayev was laid on the next bed over as Inadora and Nadena tried desperately to keep Luxaura alive. Luxaura's blood soaked their hands as well as the sheets of the bed.

Inadora: He's losing too much blood! He'll die at this rate!

Roy ran inside of the cottage through the front door, stopping at the doorway as Inadora reached her hand inside of Luxaura's wound. His long, voluminous red hair was unbound and unkempt, while his voice was strained and breathy, as if his lungs were dying for air.

Roy: Ina, how's he doing?!

Inadora: No heartbeat, and his heart isn't responding to the Art of Jupiter or Pluto! I'm gonna have to manually massage it!

Dirt and blood sullied the purity of their white Phoenix Demon cloaks, which they all wore to conceal themselves. Nadena stood to the side, terrified out of her wits and shocked beyond all belief. Hita, Luxaura, and Roy, three of her dead friends, were truly alive, breathing, speaking, and moving in front of her. Not even just six hours ago, Nadena thought the only person she had left in this world was Inadora.

The odor of blood and sweat permeated within the room as Inadora withdrew her knife from her cloak, using it to widen the gaping stab wound in Luxaura's chest. She reached her bare hand underneath his ribcage, barely able to grab hold of the prophet's heart.

Inadora: I've got it!

Roy: Squeeze every second, Ina! Nadena, did you check Hita's vitals too?

Nadena: Y-yes! He's stable, but he's unconscious! I can't wake him up!

Roy: Alright, I need you to give Luxaura some air while Ina resuscitates his heart!

Nadena: Okay!

Inadora: Come on Luxy! Stay with us!

Luxaura's face remained cold, pale, and deathly still. His long, black curly locks concealed his left eye and glistened as drops of water fell from the ends of his hair. Nadena hurried over by Luxaura's side, opening his mouth and locking lips with him. With every squeeze, Inadora could feel his blood pass in and out of his heart.

Inadora: His lungs aren't contracting!

As Nadena continued to give air to Luxaura, she suddenly felt his faint, cold breath on her lips, a miraculous sign that he was breathing again. She pulled away from him and turned her head to Inadora.

Nadena: No, there it is! It's faint, but he's breathing again!

Inadora: You're right! I see his lungs contracting! Roy!

Roy stood over Luxaura with his hands clasped, charging his palms with a countershock for his heart.

Roy: Stand clear!

Roy pressed both of his hands against Luxaura's chest, causing his entire body to convulse and jump upwards from the bed. After the shock was delivered, Inadora felt around for his heart again.

Inadora: Still no pulse!

Roy: I'll hit him again, get clear!

Once more, Roy delivered a countershock to jumpstart Luxaura's heart. His chest convulsed upwards as Roy laid his hands upon it, then quickly returned to its resting position. Inadora gently placed two fingers along his heart, nearly breaking into tears as she finally felt a pulse.

Nadena: How is he?! He's gonna make it, right?!

Inadora: He has a pulse! Thank god, he has a pulse!

Tears of relief bled from their tired eyes as Roy sealed up Luxaura's chest cavity, regenerated all of the damaged flesh and skin with the Art of Pluto.

Roy: He's stable for now, but it doesn't look like he's going to wake up just yet.

Inadora: Is he in a coma?

Roy: Yes. It took too long to revive him. Hita is also in a coma.

Nadena: What do we do? Should we stay here until they wake up?

Inadora: It's probably our safest bet.

Roy: No, that's not an option. Both of them are in grave danger. If they're in a coma, they'll be too vulnerable to leave here. We need to move them immediately. I already have a plan in place for an event just as this. I'll get in touch with Solomon and Alecta. They'll need joint protection from the SOE and KGR if we want to have any hope for them surviving this.

Nadena: Wait, Roy! What do you mean they're in danger?

Roy: Von, Phaedra, Iris, and Zenbu. They'll be coming after Luxaura and Hita, possibly even Inadora and myself. The fact that Luxaura was this wounded means that they were able to get what they needed to open the Forbidden Statue even with your betrayal, Nadena. They're in the final phase of their plan, without a doubt.

Roy looked out of the window, surveying every nook, cranny, and shadow outside before shutting the curtains.

Inadora: They want the Heralds of the End, don't they? What for? What's their plan, Roy?

Roy carefully took hold of Hita, picking him up from the bed as if he were a child while Nadena prepared Luxaura to be moved as well.

Roy: They're going to initiate the 6th Cataclysm, the event to wipe the human race off of the planet. They know that they'll be fighting against the entire world in order to pull it off. Vevoskovia, Sankadesh, Asaji, Syvia, every nation, great and small, will throw their armies at them. They're arming themselves with everything they possibly can, including as many Heralds of the End they can get their hands on. That's why we need to protect them. Can he be moved?

Nadena: Yes, but only through teleportation.

Inadora: Alright. Where to, Roy?

Roy: I've marked a safehouse in the Asaji desert. DAY operatives will be there, ready to tend to them both temporarily while we put together the operation.

Inadora: Operation? You mean a mission, or a medical operation?

Roy: Both. Once they're safe, you can ask me all the questions you want, but right now, we have to move. Nadena, be sure to torch this cottage before we leave.

Nadena: Understood...

Hita and Luxaura, once brothers and tragic enemies, had only so much time to recover and wake up. The end of the world was fast approaching.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: 6 Cataclysms: Nadiya Notes
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2018, 01:35:22 AM »
Just some notes written of Nadiya, Commander Katya’s mother.

Spoiler
Nadiya Ivashov, mother of Commander Katya, was a former field operative and tactician of the SOE, as well as an asset for the Deshavi Black Ops. She is infamous as a traitor to the Vevoskovian people, who built her own army and nation, pioneered the use of modern chemical weapons, and sold weapons to other nations. Despite being the most dangerous terrorist and international criminal in history, Nadiya was an advocate for world peace.

Nadiya was a dear friend of Vevoskovian Queen Kalina since childhood, dreaming of an era of worldwide peace together. When the two grew up, Kalina took the throne, and Nadiya joined the SOE, participating in the Second Kogan War against Syvia. Following  Vevoskovia’s defeat and Kalina’s subsequent, secret operations to create the Hammurabi Compromise, Nadiya and her team were destroyed by the Deshavi Black Ops as part of a clean-up operation to ensure the success of Kalina’s mission.

Or so they thought.

Nadiya was presumed dead in an incident where her ship was sunk into the ocean, killing everyone else on board. Nadiya was rescued from the ocean’s depths by her fellow Deshavi asset, Constantine, and delivered safely to the family home of her late husband in the countryside of Sankadesh. The attempt on her life put her in a three month coma. Discovering she was with child, Constantine worked with the family to keep her survival a secret, and to ensure her child would survive.

Nadiya came to, and miraculously delivered a healthy baby girl, naming her Katya, a shortened version of the traditional Vevoskovian word Katyanaishka, meaning Fire Lily. For five years, Nadiya stayed with her late husband’s family, both to recuperate her physical and mental wounds, and to draw up a plan of action. It was then that Nadiya decided what she wanted to do. Vevoskovia had become the most powerful country in the world through manipulation, betrayal, and suppression of Syvian culture. It was not the dream that she thought she shared with Kalina. And so, if no other army could stand a chance against the Vevoskovian hegemony, she would create the army that could.

With Constantine acting as the XO, Nadiya founded the Purged Angels, a privately owned military force, the first of its kind. Many of their recruits came from nations all over the world, veterans disillusioned by their country’s changing dynamics. The Purged Angels sought revenge against Vevoskovia, against the whole world for discarding them like pawns. Constantine was especially vengeful towards Queen Kalina and Commander Borealis of the Deshavi Black Ops for not only nearly killing Nadiya, but her daughter Katya and all of their comrades as well.

The Purged Angels made their money by offering their services to other countries and individuals, trading their services for industrial and luxury resources that were either used to expand their bases or sold through a back channel provided by Constantine in exchange for rare metals and jewels. It was when the Purged Angels started taking offensive contracts that they began accruing attention from the international community. But clients of the Purged Angels seemed invisible as they all wore the cloak of silence, and no amount of digging from the SOE or Asaji DAY revealed anything about them. With no choice left, Kalina left the task of investigating this private army to Commander Borealis. After collecting corpses from battles they were involved in, they discovered the multinational nature of the army, as well as the identities of some of the troops. All of them were either expelled from their country’s forces, or deserted them out of frustration.

The Purged Angels found success in a business model that made an industry out of warfare, and with that success came more recruits. Constantine brought his former comrade Ivan on board, a specialist in enhanced interrogation, espionage, and sabotage. Nadiya brought her old comrade Anna to act as her knight and bodyguard for Katya. Another unexpected recruit came, a 10 year old girl and former Deshavi agent ‘Lord of Lightning’ Shaska.

With the Purged Angels gaining power, Constantine focused their efforts on conducting missions for the benefit of Syvia, and the detriment of Vevoskovia. Nadiya and other troops gave direct financial and military support to the anti-Hammurabi faction, particularly to Sir Yandel, the would-be King who was denied his blood right by democracy. Nadiya furthered their support when she employed Nikolai, who would be known as ‘Guilty Rat’ by the Deshavi. Nikolai helped Nadiya develop bombs and rockets with chemical payloads, designed to inflict as many casualties as possible.

Nadiya first sold the initial models of these weapons to Yandel, who kept it in absolute secrecy until he attained power. Yandel was to lead a successful revolt with their support, and having already replicated the initial models, secured his position as King against the other nations by introducing the new, destructive weapon into the panoply of war. Such a move was to tip the scales of power back in balance and destroy the Vevoskovian hegemony. But to stop Syvia from establishing a similar hegemony, Nadiya also introduced these weapons to the other great nations, returning the world in a state of balance through deterrence. 

Still, in order to ensure that these nations would realize the horror of their new weapons, Nadiya conducted test fires in the capitals of each nation, exposing both the government and its citizens to the true power of chemical warfare. Tens of thousands of people were killed, and it was a decision that much of the Purged Angels were not proud of. Nikolai threatened to leave the group, feeling Nadiya has misled him about her intentions, but he was confined by Ivan and forced to develop more of them.

By now, the world knew that Nadiya had survived all those years, and that she was at the forefront of the Purged Angels. They indulged in her  forbidden fruit, her chemical weapons, and yet, they condemned her at the same time. Constantine acknowledged the position of the Purged Angels, that they were now at war with the whole world, with the era of their time itself. It was exactly what he was waiting for.

Though Constantine wishes to burn down the whole world, Nadiya only wished for a world that stayed afloat on peace won through deterrence. Such an idea was more viable to her than Kalina’s attempt to force peace through dominance.

A clear ideological divide formed between Nadiya and Constantine, resulting in conflict of command between them. With the whole world coming down on the Purged Angels, Nadiya formulated plans to continue her work, with the support of Ivan, Anna, and Shaska. As the world intensified their assault on Purged Angel bases, Commander Borealis led the Deshavi in the battle to kill Nadiya. They took custody of what they believed to be Nadiya’s corpse and continued hunting down her top advisors.

Though the Purged Angels believed Nadiya to be dead, Ivan privately informed Constantine that she was, in fact, alive and well, and that she had plans to continue to bring her vision to life. She was going to build something even better than the Purged Angels, and she was going to use them as a decoy in order to do it. Shaska and Anna left with Nadiya, and Ivan left the Purged Angels soon after he transferred the group’s resources to Nadiya’s new location. Feeling betrayed by his former comrades, Constantine stayed with his troops and fended off the allied army as well as the Deshavi for several years, but he was ultimately captured by Borealis, and the last of the Purged Angels were eliminated. 

During the fall of the Purged Angels, Nadiya’s new project was completed. She created a new army, and a new nation to go along with it. With additional help from her late husband’s family, Nadiya funded construction of her nation’s first city and capital, naming the county Skalda. By the time Constantine revealed to Borealis that the corpse in his possession was a fake, Nadiya already had a nation to herself, it’s strength bolstered by her arsenal of chemical weapons and her battle-ready army.

Life for citizens under Nadiya was peaceful, free, and prosperous, a reflection of her vision for the world.  Deterrence kept the allied nations from invading Skalda, but the Deshavi did all they could to kill off the final remnants of the Purged Angels. Wanting vengeance against Nadiya, Constantine reluctantly aided the Deshavi Black Ops in preparing to kill Nadiya. Soon after getting Queen Kalina’s blessing to carry out the mission, Constantine was betrayed by his own Deshavi squadron, and was taken to a remote, holding location and greeted by Ivan. Constantine was tortured and killed by his former comrade, giving Ivan information about their operation. With their plan thwarted, Kalina and the Deshavi reeled back their plans and waited for the next opportunity to take her out.

Nadiya’s operations in Syvia paid off as Yandel fully took control of Syvia, ousting the non-Syvian citizens, restoring traditional succession, re-arming the military, and keeping Syvia well armed with chemical weapons. A new age of deterrence emerged thanks to Nadiya, and through that deterrence, a cautious blanket of peace settled over the nations. However, Nadiya anticipated that a Cold War would arise between the nations. The Syvian people would want their revenge, and King Yandel would lead them.

Skalda’s GDP was largely dependent on its production of weapons, the primary buyers of which, ironically, were both Syvia and the Menlayev-owned arms distribution firm, Hammer and Sun. The world was forced into a position where, in the face of the rise of Syvia, they were compelled to keep buying from a rogue nation so they could be one step ahead in the arms race.

Amidst all the chaos and animosity between them, one thing brought Nadiya and Kalina together again. Kalina was terminally ill. It was on a dark, moonlit beach in Vevoskovia that the two met face to face for the first time since Nadiya embarked on her final mission with the SOE. Despite being enemies, the two could only cry as they embraced each other. Perhaps it was the pain of all of those missing years, or the fact that the very world they wished to change together ended up making them enemies. They saw what they had been doing to each other, with Nadiya missing both of her eyes, and disease eating away at Kalina.

Nadiya also introduced a 12 year old Katya to Kalina. Her sheer resemblance to her mother drew forth even more tears. Despite everything, Kalina was still able to celebrate the life of her best friend’s daughter. Both Nadiya and Kalina understood something that night. Nadiya wouldn’t be able to keep her activities up forever. Commander Borealis would try his hardest to bring the hammer down on Skalda. And for Kalina, her disease would snuff her life out before she’d be old enough to see her grandchildren. The two promised that when they were both dead, they would continue their friendship in the next world.

Ivan and Shaska continued acting as the guardians of Skalda and protectors of Nadiya, their spies in the Deshavi Black Ops providing them with information concerning Borealis’s new efforts to destroy Skalda. At the same time, Ivan relayed a startling find to Nadiya, about an ancient statue imbued with the power of the Marluxian Arts. Nadiya ordered the area around the statue to be sealed off, barring civilian access to allow the military to secure it. Nikolai was tasked with researching the statue’s capabilities, soon discovering it could be used as a dispenser of raw energy. Production of entirely new weapons were possible. Nadiya was going to put the greatest form of deterrence, the Marluxian Arts, on the shelves of the war market.

Along with Ivan, Shaska, and Anna, Nadiya drafted the Patriot’s Arsenal, a collection of proposed, unconventional weapons. Nadiya desired weapons that targeted something more than just human targets, that did something more than just kill living things. She wanted something capable of killing concepts, languages, the evolutionary process of peoples and groups. Weapons that killed only those of specific races, weapons that stripped away a people’s ability to speak and comprehend language, weapons that made people refuse to eat. Nadiya was going to build weapons that made the pillars of any nation and race their target, not just the people.

Nadiya’s wishes to bring the Marluxian Arts to the theater of war alarmed not only the Deshavi, but the Order of the Phoenix Demons and Zenbu’s Disciples as well. The two sides raced to destabilize the country and do away with the statue, to hide it from human access. Under orders from Zenbu, Phaedra stoke the statue away and dumped it at the bottom of the Kogan lake, far too deep for anyone to reach. Luxaura and the Phoenix Demons would be the ones to expose the details of Nadiya’s military strength to every major nation on the planet, tempting them to collaborate on an invasion plan, an attempt at getting access to the treasure chest of weaponry disguised as a noble takedown of an international criminal and her unrecognized nation of mercenaries.

Eventually, the nations would launch a united invasion on Skalda, even with the threat of her dangerously destructive arsenal. Ivan put the country on its tightest lockdown protocol, warning Nadiya of the invasion to come. It was her 250,000 troops vs their 3 million. Knowing their defeat was an inevitability, Nadiya, Shaska, Anna, and Ivan met once more in secret. The details of the meeting were not recorded. Shaska, Lord of Lightning, was to travel with Nadiya on a secret escape route out of the country while Anna was given leadership over Skalda’s forces and ring of generals. Ivan was to take Katya with Nadiya and Shaska on the same route, but the two parties would split up afterwards. Nadiya kept her destination a secret, but Ivan was to take Katya back to Vevoskovia, and surrender her to the Deshavi. Ivan may have known the reason behind such a decision, but Katya, much to her distress, was left in the dark.

As Skalda became a broken and bloodied battleground filled with troops from across the globe, everyone got into position and executed Nadiya’s orders faithfully. Ivan was ordered to leave ahead of Nadiya to ensure Katya’s safety, the three of them reluctantly and sorrowfully forced to say their goodbyes. Nadiya and Shaska stayed longer than planned, the former offering her sincerest and heartbroken apologies to Anna, who knew that Skalda would fall, and her defenders would all die. Anna gracefully exonerated her master of her guilt and anguish, stating that just as it was an honor to live by Nadiya’s side, it was a privilege to die for her sake, and for Katya’s.

The war for Skalda became one of the most destructive wars in history. It was the first large scale war to see the extended use of chemical and biological weaponry, inflicting massive casualties to all sides. Neither Katya nor Ivan would know if Nadiya was able get out of the country in time, but Ivan fulfilled his duty regardless. Parting from the young, beautiful little girl he had guarded for all those years, he urged Katya to be strong like her mother, to carry on her ideals into the shadows of the Deshavi Black Ops.

Katya, with nothing left, was taken into the Deshavi as Ivan disappeared, presumably going into hiding. Though it was reported that Nadiya was killed and her corpse captured, the truth of what happened wouldn’t come to light until the very end of Borealis’s service as Commander of the Deshavi.

The corpse collected by Vevoskovia, made to look like Nadiya, was actually Anna acting as her double. The corpse was just two inches shorter than what was written in Nadiya’s health records with the SOE. Other discrepancies such as eye color (Nadiya’s eye color faded into white) and teeth made it clear that Nadiya did not die in Skalda. Still, Vevoskovia let the world have its victory, believing they had slain her. Despite years of searching, Borealis was never able to find any trace of Nadiya, and he retired with the mystery still unsolved. Though he suspected Kalina might’ve known something, the Queen passed away from illness before he could make any connections. By then, Katya had already grown to be the Deshavi’s youngest commander at 19 years of age, and one of the most powerful agents of her time.

Throughout the years of the reign of Kalina’s son, Tokahev, Katya strategized Deshavi operations all over the world. One of her most crucial operations, Operation Guilty Rat, reunited her with Nikolai, who worked with Syvia after the fall of Skalda before defecting to Vevoskovia. Queen Amiya ordered Nikolai to continue his research of the Forbidden Statue in secret, and to bring his findings back to Vevoskovia. Nikolai was injured as he traveled through Sankadesh and taken to an overburdened hospital to receive care. Soon after, Syvia, the Sankadesh loyalists, and Zenbu’s Disciples all converged on his position, desperate to catch the brains behind many of Nadiya’s weapons.

Katya was ultimately forced to kill Nikolai and take his body back to Vevoskovia, opting to perform a thorough analysis of his memories. It was learned soon after that the corpse they brought back to them was not actually Nikolai. The body belonged to him, but his brain had been switched with one of subordinate’s. The fake Nikolai was further operated on by Inadora of the Phoenix Demons, to make him think he was the real Nikolai, even giving him many of Nikolai’s memories to suffocate his original identity.

After the failure of Operation Guilty Rat, Queen Amiya paid several visits to Katya, informing her of some crucial details she had kept secret. First, Amiya, even with incomplete research, was able to draft a final manual for the creation of the weapons Nadiya wasn’t able to finish. A bioweapon that targeted specific ethnicities, a weapon that induced severe, global aphasia, and a sonic weapon that induced aphagia, meant to prevent populations from being able to eat.

Furthermore, Amiya’s mother was Nadiya’s sister, and though she truly loved Tokahev, their meeting was orchestrated by Nadiya and Amiya’s mother. The queen carried on Nadiya’s wishes from the throne while Katya supported her from the shadows of the Deshavi, and with the finished Patriot’s Arsenal being given to her, Katya was the most powerful woman on earth. The fate of entire people’s rested in her hands.

Amiya’s final secret was perhaps the most important. Nadiya and Shaska were still alive. Kalina personally facilitated their escape and safe haven before Skalda was invaded. However, their location was to stay between Amiya and Katya. No one else could know.