Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

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Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:30 am

Never really considered making myself a Lit thread, but since I gave my word, I will.

Operation Lightning: Is a military story made for a project for which I had to give an input of an OC of my own. The story itself is more of a background story of the OC, loosely even related to him. The real story is being written by somebody else and will not be posted here.

For pre-read there is a two-page document if anyone's interested. It's more of a bio of the OC, but in a different way. This OC is not the main character in Operation Lightning though.
Page1, Page2.

Short FAQ:

Q: I can't read those small letters on those images.
A: Right click - Save as - Open with basic image tool - Zoom in.

Q: I don't like military stories.
A: Go read something else.

Q: I want to post a comment like: "This SUX/ROX".
A: Board index - Spam.

Q: Is it very gory?
A: No. It's military, not gore.

Q: Why is it so boring?
A: Because Rob Bryanton's tenth dimension theory is not an accepted interpretation of the string theory.

Q: What does XXXX abbreviation stand for?
A: If it's not explained in the story there's a good chance wikipedia will answer that.

Q: I know this quote/dialogue/scene from somewhere...
A: References, duh.

Just in case anybody reads this story    (except for you... Since you apparently said you want to)    feel free to post your comments, feel discouraged to spam.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:31 am

* * *
“Spheros Institute, can you read me, over?” A man’s voice cackled through the damaged intercom. “Spheros Institute, this is Central, is anyone there, over?” The voice kept asking persistently. A shattered computer screen next to the intercom had spat out a set of sparks that quickly fizzled away. Then the damaged cables, hanging limply and chaotically from the ceiling did the same. All the interior of the room was demolished entirely. All that was made of glass had been shattered, all pieces of metal had been bent by a merciless force, and many of the tiles ripped off the floor and tossed around chaotically like toys in a child’s room. “Spheros Institute, if there’s anyone there please respond! Over.” The voice sounded again.

Sergeant Troy took his headset off and placed it silently on the computer panel in front of him. Then he turned his face to the right and shook his head in a no sign.

“When was the last report collected from the Spheros Institute?” A deep male voice of the figure to his right asked after seeing his gesture.

“The last contact was the control connection, run 2:34 minutes ago.” Lieutenant Stork replied from behind his computer. Troy’s perplexed gaze shifted left to see the Lieutenant. How was he always able to get the info so quickly?

“General!” Came a dead serious voice of Major General Hudson who had just run into the room.

“What is it, Major General?” The old and always dignified voice of General Barton called out the panting man, immediately allowing him to recover his cool and stretch his posture to his full height of nearly 2 meters.

“We’ve managed to get a visual on the location.” Hudson explained quickly while lifting up a dark yellow envelope. “These are the pictures our satellites managed to take; you should take a look at this.”

General took the envelope and opened it to see what was inside. Major General Hudson was always there to bring the intelligence, that’s why Barton valued him so much as a subordinate. He took out the large pictures and placed them on the nearest table. He couldn’t make out much of what had happened to the Institute that hasn’t been responding recently, but the pictures have shown just enough. The smoke and visibly demolished buildings of the complex were enough to make him think that this was no accident.

“Stork, when was the distress signal sent?” The General commanded with a sharp tone.

“2:17 minutes ago, 3 minutes before we lost contact with their system.” Came a nimble reply.

“This looks like an assault, there may be casualties… Why the hell don’t we have any info about that Institute yet?” Barton boomed with irritation. Taking actions while lacking information could be a deadly mistake on the battlefield, he knew it all too well.

Suddenly the main monitor flashed revealing a young man in a white smock on it. “General Barton?” The man asked before anyone could react.

“What is it Officer?” Barton replied curiously. Scientists and their supervisors were often given temporary ranks of Officers to allow them to interact with the military structure.

“You have requested information about the Spheros Institute located in Italy, is that right?” The man asked with an emotionless tone.

“Yes. Is there any information for me? We’ve been trying to contact them for a while now.” Hearing those words Troy slowly grabbed his headset in case he was ordered to try and call the Institute once again.

“Pointless.” The Officer replied. “Spheros Institute had been closed and archived half a year ago. There should be no personnel there, just defence bots.” Came a blunt explanation. “You cannot get a contact with it, which means the main computer panel was damaged and is not responding to regular control signals.”

“I see…” Barton replied coldly, irritated that he was worrying for nothing. He already got used to being informed late about everything. Those were the drawbacks of working for a secret organisation.

“I am sending you further orders from the Marshal now.” The man on the screen announced. “Over and out.” He added as the screen went black again.

“You got the orders, Sergeant Troy?” Barton asked quickly.

“Right here sir! I’ve just confirmed their authenticity.” Troy replied while tapping buttons on his computer console.

“Right, display.” The General requested.

The main screen flashed again and displayed a whole set of orders, including briefing. Barton, known well for his reading speed, quickly skimmed through the wall of text and gave out a sigh.

“We’ve got a job to do soldiers!” He announced loudly. “There may have not been any people there, but the case is suspicious, and so we were ordered to visit the scene and investigate.”

“Yes, sir!” All three of his subordinates present in the room replied enthusiastically.
* * *
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:36 am

* * *
“Enlighten me, Officers.” General Barton commanded as he walked up to the head of scene investigation. A middle aged man standing next to

“Well…” The man in his forties in a yellow smock walked up to the General. “It’s all as you see… This entire Institute was probably attacked by some outer force, a squad of troops perhaps. They‘ve levelled two parts of the complex to the ground leaving only the main building nearly intact from the outside. But inside… it’s all demolished as if a tornado went through.” The Officer explained slowly. “Judging by the extent of damage I would assume whatever they came here for was not here. So they searched through the area and finally gave up and fled.”

“What do we get from the surveillance?” Barton kept asking.

“Not much… All cameras were wiped out with the use of some electromagnetic weaponry before they managed to catch sight of any of the attackers.” A woman with long hair replied from behind a large computer screen within the investigation van.

“So they came prepared, I see…” The General said more to himself than to the others. “How many do you think there were?”

“We only have a mass measurement.” The main Officer spoke again. “The only entrance to the Institute leads through a special weighting road, so we know just how much mass came in through the main entrance, but that doesn’t apply to any other ways they might have used to get here.”

“And what’s the mass?”

“About 433 kg.” Came a blunt reply.

“That’s a mass for maximum of 4 or 5 armed soldiers to pass… You’re not trying to tell me that 5 men came in here and destroyed this Institute within 55 minutes, are you?” Barton asked irritated.

“As I said, they might have used a helicopter…”

“No, there are too many trees for that here.” The General quickly concluded.

“What are you suggesting, sir?”

“We are hasty to assume that they were normal humans.” Barton replied as he walked away not waiting for a reply. “Lieutenant Colonel Flint!”

“Yes, sir!?” A man with longer black hair approached the General.

“Get me a list of all projects held within this Institute, both those that were being deposited here as well as those that were moved when the Institute was locked down.” Barton said with a commanding voice. His grey military-style hair was slightly shining in the sunlight.

“Yes, sir!” Flint replied obediently as he run off to the command van, only to return moments later with two pages of listed projects. He handed them to his commander silently.

“Sir! I’ve got a transmission from the central!” Hudson showed up out of nowhere before the General managed to take a look into the list.

“On screen.” Came a short command from the older man.

Hearing that Hudson shook his blonde head and pushed a button on the Mobile Display Panel, calling forth an image of an older person in a white smock. This man seemed a veteran in whatever was his speciality; his too long grey hair flowed chaotically over his head.

“A scientist again…” Major General Hudson mumbled silently.

“This is Doctor Ivan Pietrovich Yasnov; I used to be the head of the Institute prior to its closure.” The man announced flatly with a clear Russian accent.

“This is General Barton, I’m leading the investigation team. Please speak Doctor.” Came an official reply.

“General, I’d like you and your men to confirm the status of one of the projects archived in the Institute.” The man reported again with his Russian accent.

“Please give me details.” General requested patiently.

“Main building. Floor 2, room 224. It should have a label, Project Nightshade. This was our only subject held within that Institute. I’d like you to check if it is still there.” Yasnov explained slowly.

“I see. We will get on it and report back as we’re done. Over and out Doctor.” Barton replied and nodded to Hudson, who quickly turned off the MDP in his hands and closed it to make it take up a more friendly shape of a briefcase.

“Hudson, go fetch some men, we’re going to check it. Flint, you stay here and make sure to keep us informed as we are not around.” The General ordered calmly. Both men saluted and turned away to leave and carry out their orders. Barton sighed; this case was now getting even more suspicious.
* * *
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:08 am

* * *
“This is it General! Room 224, Project Nightshade.” Sergeant Troy announced as he waved to the group in the corridor.

A group of men soon gathered up around the Sergeant. That group consisted of 9 soldiers, 3 Corporals, Major General Hudson and General Barton.

“Stand aside Sergeant.” Hudson ordered, and as Troy complied, he quickly tapped in the code to open the solid steel door, allowing them to enter the room. “Stork did a good job with bringing the power back up so fast.” Hudson noted to himself, yet loudly enough to be heard. Indeed when it came to usefulness the inconspicuous thin man called Stork was of a great value.

Troy gestured to one of the Corporals, the freshly promoted young Corporal named Gibbs and his three men were the ones to enter the room first. Then the whole rest slowly entered as the first team secured the area. Corporal Trent and his 3 soldiers were left outside to keep a watch on their backs.

“Get the MDP on and call out that Yasnov…” General ordered to Hudson without taking his eyes off the large tube-shaped metal container in the middle of the room which had been ripped apart by some violent force. Most of the equipment in the room seemed damaged, but not totally demolished. Major General Hudson quickly began to set up the equipment.

“Uhm… General? You might want to see this.” Gibbs said unsurely as he walked out from behind the damaged empty tube, a sign of concern showing on his face.

Barton only sighed and slowly walked up to the young Corporal. Gibbs then pointed at the wall behind the tube, which part of the wall was not visible from the middle of the room where Hudson and the others have been standing. “So now we know who we’re dealing with…” Barton said slowly. His tone made Troy follow him as well and take a look himself at whatever the General was looking at. On the wall, there was a large, red, triangular symbol, marked with spray-paint.

“Vendetta.” Sergeant Troy hissed through clenched teeth, then he spat on the floor. “They were always trouble… But how did those freaks learn the location of this Institute?” Troy asked the General. “A mole?”

“Possible, but not likely…” Barton replied firmly, folding his hands in the process. Vendetta was an underground organisation consisting mostly of rebellious ex-members of the organisation. Most of them were either soldiers or people with special abilities like ex SOU members.

“Sir! I have a connection!” Hudson called from the other side of the tube.

“Put him on.” Barton ordered as he walked up to the MDP which was this time placed on the floor. After one beep the screen came up to life again and the same scientist appeared.

“Any news?” The man in white smock asked quickly.

“If this subject was being contained within the metal tube in this room, then he is surely gone by now. The tube had been destroyed.” Barton reported slowly with a serious gaze.

“This is not good.” Yasnov replied after a moment of silence. “I will prepare any data that might be needed. The central will probably want to know what was being kept in here. It would be good if you found out who took the subject, General.”

“We already have that covered. My report will be sent to the central tomorrow.” The General replied confidently.

“That’s good…” The Russian replied and ended the transmission without a warning.

“Eggheads just can’t wait to hit those buttons…” Hudson muttered to himself, displeased by the way most of scientists in the WSPDI were acting when working along with military men.
* * *
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:14 am

* * *
“General Barton!” A man’s voice called out.

Barton didn’t even need to turn around to know who was just rushing to catch up with him. “What is it, Lieutenant Mc Stern?” He asked bluntly without even slowing down.

“I’ve been assigned to accompany you during your debriefing, sir!” Mc Stern replied excited.

Barton sighed. Mc Stern was one of those soldiers that were always enthusiastic for any task. Moved from under General Tekla to serve for Barton, he was always able to give out information about the status of the whole team. This was, however, his only strong point, and also the reason why he wasn’t liked among other soldiers. He always had to know when and where all people under Barton’s commands were, and what they were doing. “You do realise this meeting is a closed one? You will have to wait at the door.” The General explained to the Lieutenant’s dismay.

“Yes sir!” Came the always obedient reply of the young man.

Soon Barton was already at the round half-circle desk during the meeting. Most of the higher ranks were there as well. Every person in the room was being debriefed by Warrant Officer Darane. The only woman in the army that was feared by so many men. She was the one to pass down the decisions of the Central, as well as to work as the spokesman for the Marshal himself.

“General Barton!” The iron lady finally said while lifting a set of pages which looked too familiar not to be recognised as Barton’s recent report on the Spheros incident.

“Yes ma’am!” He replied with little enthusiasm.

“You were recently sent to investigate the scene after the Spheros Institute was attacked by, as you claim, the Vendetta.” She noted more than asked. Barton nodded but as usual it wasn’t even necessary. When it came to Officer Darane you never knew when you were allowed or supposed to say something. “According to your report there is a high chance that Vendetta had taken into custody the only subject kept in the Institute…” She looked more carefully at another set of pages; this set was not handed in by the General though. “Subject PDI-440-648…” She read the number. Barton cursed in his mind all those scientists and their freaky ways of naming things. “According to the FIA the subject was likely to have been taken into their nearest settlement. This was a place suspected of being Vendetta’s operating base before, but now we have confirmed that information.” She continued with unchanging emotionless tone.

“So we know where the subject is… Let’s just invade them and get it all done…” Barton interrupted the Officer. Out of all people out there he was one who didn’t fear to interrupt anyone, even the iron lady who very disliked being interrupted.

An uncomfortable silence fell in the conference room as Darane pierced the General with an ice-cold gaze. “Don’t be so hasty General…” She finally spoke out with disgrace in her voice. “The Field Intelligence Agency managed to confirm that this place was Vendetta’s hideout only because it had been destroyed by an unknown inside force.” She explained making Barton grit his teeth with anger. “Doctor Yasnov claims this might have been the doing of the subject in question itself, but we have no proof to support that theory yet.”

“So what are my orders?” Barton couldn’t help but to ask. He was getting bored with all the talking.

“Your orders, General, are to get familiar with the report and form I’m holding right now, to gather all the needed information about the subject, and then to use any means at your disposal to trace it and neutralise ASAP. If possible the WSPDI would like you to capture the subject alive, but they agree that it might be difficult and won’t argue if we decide to neutralise the subject in question. You will be given a report about the subject and a form for the subject’s detention. The subject is marked with threat level 7, is highly unpredictable, and has a potential level 9, so it cannot be allowed to run around freely.” The iron lady explained the situation with a monotonous yet decided tone.

“Orders clear.” Barton confirmed as he sat back in his chair.

“Now, Lieutenant General Nander…” Officer Darane continued with her next victim, but Barton didn’t pay any more attention to her.

After a longer while the meeting had ended and Barton was free to leave the conference room. As he walked up to the door in the group of other Generals and Lieutenant Generals he felt a hand patting him on the back.

“I heard you’re having a new serious task, General.” Came the annoying familiar voice. Barton knew that voice well, and wasn’t happy to be stopped by that voice’s owner.

“And I heard you’ve been scolded by Darane for screwing up a simple reconnaissance task in the east…” Barton derided. “Is that true, General Vogel?”

“My men aren’t worth shit… With a team of pansies I cannot get any task right, now can I?” Vogel retorted with a grin.

“Sacrificial lambs won’t keep saving your ass forever, Vogel…”

“Never failed me yet, Barton.” Came a confident reply right into Barton’s ear.

Then General Vogel turned around and walked away, kindly disappearing in the small crowd of people. Now both high ranks who just left the meeting and low ranks who came to accompany them were crowded in the corridor. Barton sighed again as he saw that he had his subordinate waiting for him as well.

“I’ll be calling a meeting soon.” The General announced before Mc Stern was able to speak. “Where is Hudson?”

“Major General Hudson is currently in his office finishing his report I believe.” Came a swift reply.


“Right now Lieutenant Colonel Flint is probably going through the reports on the Spheros incident as you ordered sir.”


“Captain Planc is at the ATCS, supervising the training simulation for the 2nd platoon.” Mc Stern Replied quickly.

“Stork?” Barton kept asking.

“Lieutenant Stork is collecting the data about Vendetta’s latest activity as you requested sir.”

“Troy and Faraday?”

“I believe both Sergeant Troy and Sergeant Faraday are taking part in the training simulation requested by Captain Planc.”

“Then we’re heading for the ATCS, we will take those three up as they finish their training simulation.” Barton decided as he walked down the corridor. Mc Stern combed his dark brown hair with his right hand, as if praising himself for being such a good source of information.

After a couple of minutes of walking, Barton slowly entered the large complex. The automatic door swung open as he approached, Mc Stern stalking him as usual. He passed the doorframe with big golden letters above the door saying ATCS, with the abbreviation being evaluated underneath. Advanced Tactical Combat Simulator, was the real name, even though nobody cared to use it. He looked to the left to see the words UTCS above the other doorframe on the left, meaning Underground Tactical Combat Simulator. Apparently this one was currently out of order. There were always plenty of signs and letters all around the central. The most common, however, was the symbol of the GDI itself, a diving bird of pray in a circle. As the two military men entered the ATCS main hall they saw a large group of soldiers leaving the simulator.

“Fetch them.” Came a simple order from the General.

Lieutenant Mc Stern was more than happy to act as a military dog and do as ordered. He quickly entered the crowd and shortly afterwards came back with Planc, Troy and Faraday following him. They all looked tired, even Planc although Barton was certain he didn’t take a part in the simulation personally.

“You wanted to see me sir?” Captain Planc asked as he approached the General, his bold head shining slightly under the lamps.

“Yes, I need you all to report at the meeting room in 4 hours. I fished you three because I want you to prepare a few things in advance.” Barton explained slowly with all the aura of dignity he always had around him. “Planc, you will go visit the WDS and bring someone competent who will be able to offer us some high-tech weaponry.” He received a nod in return. “Faraday, you will go with Mc Stern and prepare a list of available Lancepesades and SOU members with their competences enlisted. Troy will ready the first and second platoon. We’re meeting in 4 hours then, and Mc Stern will make sure everyone knows that a meeting is being held.” He slowly explained all the orders. “Dismissed!”

“Sir, yes sir!” Came a simultaneous reply from all his subordinates.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby gamefan » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:26 am

Interesting story

I think I must use my relax chair and some snack to enjoy this better. XD
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby nightwalker » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:55 am

really really good not bad not bad all keep on going :happy:
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Thy_Robocop » Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:32 am

It's a good story so far. Can't wait to read the rest!

Q.U. wrote:Operation Lightning: Is a military story made for a project for which I had to give an input of an OC of my own. The story itself is more of a background story of the OC, loosely even related to him. The real story is being written by somebody else and will not be posted here.

First you mentioned your story in your PM's, and you made me want to read them. Now you mention that it's a part of a bigger project...Why do you have to tempt me like this...?
“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” Sherlock Holmes
"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." Lovecraft
"It's incredible how the human mind can devise such simple explanations to the things it doesn't understand, just to avoid looking at the terrible bigger picture that is the truth. Unfortunately, that won't help them when it comes knocking at the door." Alyssa Gillespine

Check out my (still ongoing) short stories here on Snafu or on my DeviantArt Account .
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:09 pm

I think I must use my relax chair and some snack to enjoy this better. XD

I think I'd have to see it on a plasma TV set with full HD and sound effects to enjoy it the most.

First you mentioned your story in your PM's, and you made me want to read them. Now you mention that it's a part of a bigger project...Why do you have to tempt me like this...?

I didn't say it's a part of a project because I didn't want to tempt you. :> But I had to explain why this story will end in such an inconvenient moment.
And that's also because the bastard will probably take his time in writing it. So there won't be more to read anyway. Besides, that's no longer my story then, just my OC mixed with two other people's OCs all placed in one story.

Regardless, I'm updating again.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby nightwalker » Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:10 pm

Q.U. wrote:
I think I must use my relax chair and some snack to enjoy this better. XD

I think I'd have to see it on a plasma TV set with full HD and sound effects to enjoy it the most.

First you mentioned your story in your PM's, and you made me want to read them. Now you mention that it's a part of a bigger project...Why do you have to tempt me like this...?

I didn't say it's a part of a project because I didn't want to tempt you. :> But I had to explain why this story will end in such an inconvenient moment.
And that's also because the bastard will probably take his time in writing it. So there won't be more to read anyway. Besides, that's no longer my story then, just my OC mixed with two other person's OCs all placed in one story.

Regardless, I'm updating again.

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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:13 pm

* * *
The meeting took place in the briefing room of the 5th division. The room was silent as all the gazes were fixed on General Barton, who was now quickly reading through the reports he’d just been given.

“According to this form, the subject we are supposed to subdue is an outcome of an experiment. You’ve all been forwarded these documents so I hope you all had the time to go through them…” He slowly explained. Hearing that Stork smiled slightly, Planc seemed confused, and Troy tried to hide the expression on his face by hiding it in his hands. “Regardless…” The General continued. “It seems this individual… PDI-44… Where’s his alias… Ah, Darkling. So this Darkling is capable of using a technique that makes it impossible for us to wound him should he go into that ‘shadow form’ or whatever. So our main duty will be to take him out, preferably knocking him out, while he’s still in his vulnerable human form. If that doesn’t work, however, we will have no other choice but to engage him in battle, and here I’m waiting for any ideas. Have any of you found any weaponry or soldiers that could engage the subject after he transforms?” Barton asked with a grave tone. A deadly silence fell in the room.

“As I’ve read the files on that subject, there is one weapon that is likely to work on him while he is a shadow, but that weapon is not ready to be used yet.” The woman with long ginger hair replied as first.

“So, Officer Kali, you claim that all the weaponry projects of WDS are useless in our case?” Hudson asked with a tingle of irritation in his voice. Looking at the woman at an angle.

“That’s what I’m saying, Major General. This subject has some unique abilities, and much about it is unknown, I cannot guarantee that any weapon would be able to inflict any damage in this case. You cannot shoot a shadow, and that subject is most likely invulnerable to light either. A perfect weapon, as I’d say; only that it doesn’t obey orders.” The Officer explained. “The only way that would be sure to work to some extent is some powerful EMP blast, but this would have to come together with an explosion, for EMP the subject would simply return to human form which is invulnerable to EMP. So he has to be forced to stay in his shadow form. But an explosion with EMP effects… I doubt if the central would allow you to use nuclear weaponry for this mission. IC is also unlikely to be allowed to fire.”

“So we are wasting your time, Officer. If the Weaponry Development Sector cannot equip our men in proper firepower, then we will have no other choice but to look for help elsewhere… You’re dismissed.” Barton finally replied with a bored tone. Those people were always developing weaponry that nobody ever used, but in fact Barton himself wasn’t able to imagine any weapon that would deal damage to a shadow. Though he was somewhat expecting such an outcome. He didn’t trust in capabilities and reliability of the WDS ever since they screwed up the OICW program. He followed the older lady with his gaze as she left the room, and then he turned to one of his subordinates. “Mc Stern, did you go through the list? Anything you can offer to us?” He inquired flatly.

“Well sir… There are some SOU members that might have abilities that we need.” Mc Stern announced joyfully as he stood up and walked up to the projector. As he received a nod from the General he began his presentation. “So, there are 4 active SOU members that we might use, as well as one retired who could prove quite useful as well.” He continued as he started pushing the buttons on the projector, causing five portraits to appear, and one of them brought out to the front and extended into a full personal profile showing a picture of a young man with some sort of mechanical binoculars on his eyes. “Number 1, alias Cyclops. His mutated eyeballs when equipped into his binoculars allow him to see through solid objects and using multiple types of vision, like IR, UV, and many, many more.” Mc Stern, visibly excited by being watched and listened to by all people in the room, continued enthusiastically. A second portrait took the place of the first one, showing an older man with long white hair and a serious gaze. “Number 2, alias Serpent. His body can turn into several wisp-like formations of energy, making him pretty much immortal in that form; he can also restrain and strangle opponents with those wisps.” Mc Stern licked his lips as he continued to present the third portrait of a middle-aged woman with long standing hair that seemed to be on fire. “Number 3, alias Torch. A woman capable of creating and shaping fire. I think she might be useful should we need some fire, since according to the report fire is not confirmed but a likely method of resisting the subject’s shadow. Now number 4…” A portrait of a youngster appeared to cover the burning woman. “Alias Night. He has the ability to control shadow and darkness, and since our subject is made of it he might be affected by Night’s abilities. This is also unconfirmed though.” The Lieutenant paused for a moment waiting for the next image to kick in. And soon a portrait of an older man with short grey hair appeared. “Lastly, number 5, alias Goliath, retired. Impressive regenerating powers, remarkable strength and speed, highly resistant to damage. He is also capable of, as they call it, swallowing the enemy’s shadow, which means he can force light to appear anywhere according to his will.” He finally finished with a sigh of relief.

“Can we get a hold on all of them? Including the retired one?” Barton asked out straight.

“This mission was given a level 7 priority, so I guess the Special Operations Unit won’t reject our request for its members. About the retired one, the SOU doesn’t have a grip on him anymore, so if he is to be recruited for this mission we would have to find him and persuade him ourselves.” Mc Stern quickly explained the situation.

“Hudson, get me the best sniper you can find in our division. Stork, I want full FIA report on where the subject might have headed to, and where he might be now. Flint, get in contact with SOU and submit our request for the cooperation of those 4 members. Planc, the 1st and 2nd platoons have been alerted, brief the 1st platoon and get them ready for the operation, 2nd platoon will be used as backup. Mc Stern, you will find out where we can find that retired SOU member. The rest of you gather info and prepare for the mission, codename: operation Black Bullet. Execute!” Barton quickly described his orders. Momentarily all the people in the room rushed out to do what they were ordered. This was one of the moments for which Barton was glad to be a General, making big decisions and having so many subordinates. It was a tough job, but worth the effort. He looked out of the window of the now emptied room. But with this mission, all they could use might still come out to be insufficient to achieve success.
* * *
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby nightwalker » Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:14 pm

wow that was fast you type fast dude
Chibi sephiroth
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:20 pm

wow that was fast you type fast dude

Huh? If you're talking about the story, it's just copy paste...

It's just 19k words, so I won't try and slice larger parts into small elements, so the next part will be longer.
Finally time for some action, the first mission: operation "Black Bullet" begins.

* * *
Six military choppers type CH-46 Sea Knight were closing in on Lucca city in Italy. The nearest large settlement near the ruins of the, now abandoned, Vendetta’s hideout. The choppers landed gracefully on a large plain from the mountain side. Being allowed to travel everywhere freely was just and only for the fact that GDI was a secret branch of the UN itself. Thus making infiltration possible in most countries of the world. All in all the Global Defence Initiative was no less than the right hand of the United Nations when in need for a taskforce for classified operations.

Barton slowly jumped out of the chopper and walked on the grass. This silent city here was surely unaware of the danger that the subject presented when hiding within its premises. Before the General noticed all the troops have already gathered up in a rectangular block formation, all standing firmly and awaiting orders. Hudson was on his right as usual, Flint on the left. Barton gazed over the soldiers, only a few didn’t wear the helmets, those were his trusted people. The helmets the GDI produced covered the whole head, including a black glass covering the face, but only privates and Corporals had to wear those. All higher ranks would wear a less protective type of a helmet that allowed the face to be seen, while all ranked Lieutenant Colonel or higher could wear anything they wanted. In the first line of the group he could see the familiar faces of Stork, Mc Stern, Troy and Faraday. In front of the platoon, he could see Captain Planc, commanding the group. But the group of almost 100 people consisted of just regular soldiers, brought here to be more of a support than a real assault team. Captain Saline was standing on the right side of the plane, with only 5 people behind her. Her short brown hair were shining under the noon sunlight much like an aureole. Barton knew it was about time for the briefing.

“Soldiers of the GDI!” He yelled out with a hard and firm tone of a born leader. “We are here to subdue a subject that escaped from a facility working as a part of the Weapons and Soldiers Production and Development Institutes group. The subject, alias Darkling, has special abilities and possesses a grave threat to your lives should you engage it in a direct combat. The 1st platoon had been called for this operation to support the SOU team on their task to capture the subject. You are to move in and attempt to eliminate the subject in question ONLY in case of their failure, am I making myself clear?”

“Sir, yes sir!” The whole platoon yelled out obediently.

“The 2nd platoon will be stationed here to defend the choppers and the temporal command centre we will be setting up here.”

“Yes sir!” Came another group reply.

Then Barton walked up to Captain Saline. “You sure you’re ready to be back? I know you’ve recovered quickly from the last operation, but I don’t want you to fail me due to any inability.” The General asked with a both concerned and scolding tone.

“I’m alright sir! I won’t be a drag sir!” The middle aged Captain replied confidently. She was a tough woman, like most of those who dared to join the GDI.

“You’ve all been briefed on the situation; you will follow the commands of Captain Saline during this operation.” Barton announced to the five conspicuous people behind Captain’s back. He already knew those faces, he went through their profiles, and he knew that most of those SOU members had limited respect for authority. “Move out!” The command came.

The whole block of soldiers quickly dispersed into fireteams, Troy and Faraday doing their best to keep all of the men under control. In the meantime Major General Hudson lured one man out of the group and brought him to face the General.

“So this is the sniper?” Barton asked understanding the reason of being shown the older man.

“Yes, he’s been equipped by WDS with special intoxicated bullets for his rifle. One shot should knock the target out without killing him.” Hudson explained briefly.

“Okay, we’re doing it as we planned. Troy!” Barton yelled out to the group of soldiers. Soon Sergeant Troy came out followed by his squad of three fireteams. The Sergeant walked up to the General and saluted, his troops followed suit. “The sniper will attack first, trying to take the subject out. Troy and his men will give him any support and defence he needs.” Barton instructed as Troy only nodded and saluted again. Then the squad and the sniper left for the destined location to set up the fire position. “Saline, get in position too, once the sniper fires I want the SOU team to rush in with no more than 2 second delay.” He explained, and again was responded to with a nod and salute. The SOU group obediently followed Saline as she left for the location forwarded by the FIA. “Mc Stern, get the 1st platoon ready and leave for the second line to support. Stork, get the 2nd platoon on the works to clear the area and make sure no civilians wander around, also tell them to set up the equipment.”

“Yes sir!” Both Stork and Mc Stern replied simultaneously, Mc Stern was obviously louder.

Within only 30 minutes all men were in positions. The small mobile command panels were already set up under the command tent. General Barton had to keep an eye on the whole operation with Major General Hudson helping him out, while Lieutenant Colonel Flint was in charge of information flow and contact with the central. Captain Planc was in the tent as well, making sure both the 1st and 2nd platoons were working properly, and sending his orders to Lieutenants Mc Stern and Stork commanding the 1st and 2nd platoons respectively. Stork being in command of the 2nd platoon was grounded at the temporary command spot, so he was also in the tent, making sure his platoon kept the vicinity secure, and talking over the intercom with Sergeant Faraday who was also a part of the 2nd platoon. Lieutenant Mc Stern on the other hand was already waiting for action, his troops of the 1st platoon positioned all around the abandoned warehouse, where according to the FIA the subject was hiding. Nearby the main entrance to the warehouse Captain Saline and the SOU group she was commanding were readying to storm the place at the signal. Everyone’s eyes were set at the nearby flats, where in one of the apartments Sergeant Troy of the 2nd platoon and his squad were guarding the sniper.

The sniper’s SVD Dragunov rifle barrel was moving slowly. He was carefully scanning the internal of the building through the large windows on the eastern side, looking for any signs of the target.

“Target engaged! Awaiting further orders.” The intercom in the command tent finally sounded with the voice of the older experienced sniper.

“I read you soldier. Do you have a clear visual on the subject? And can you confirm the target’s validity?” Barton ordered calmly. This was it, the storm was about to begin.

“Affirmative sir, I have a clear visual, and according to the description this is our target. He really is a kid though…” The sniper replied firmly.

“Don’t judge the target by his appearance.” The General instructed. “Take your aim soldier and wait for the command to open fire.”

“Roger that, sir!”

Barton nodded to Hudson, Major General knew well what that meant. He took the intercom into his hand and spoke. “Attention 1st platoon! The target is about to be marked. I repeat. The target is a bout to be marked. Stay on position and await instructions.”

Flint in the meantime took up his intercom and linked two lines together. He nodded to the General as he did so.

Barton took the intercom and spoke again. “Attention, SOU group and the sniper group! Execute the operation!” He finally ordered knowing that these words were the beginning of a dangerous game that might wander between life and death.

“This is sniper team, we have a confirmed hit! I repeat. We have a confirmed hit!” Troy’s jovial voice sounded through the intercom.

“This is SOU team; we’ve just entered the building and began to search for the subject.” Saline responded a moment later breathing rapidly.

Within the building the group of four SOU members as well as Captain Saline were hastily following the SOU called Cyclops, who had a lock on the subject from the start. After they all passed a few large empty metal containers stacked one on another they noticed the subject sitting on the left. It was a boy, age 12 as the reports claimed. His pitch black eyes showed no fear when he noticed the group closing in on him. They already saw his bleeding right shoulder, which he was holding with his left hand. That’s where he’d been hit by the sniper with the intoxicated bullet. His head waving slowly, with his black hair bending in a messy way as his head was backing against another container.

“Drug…” He moaned silently as he felt the stinging sensation in his right arm.

“This is Captain Saline, we have the target cornered, and he is due to pass out within moments.” Saline reported to her earphone.

“Like hell… I will…” The boy replied as he stood up.

He was now surrounded by four opponents. Torch was behind him, Goliath in front of him, Serpent on the left, and Night on the right. Cyclops and Saline were both a bit further away, their role reduced to spectating the apprehension of the subject. But the boy didn’t fall on the floor as expected. Instead the skin on his entire body along with his hair changed their colour to darker than pitch black. His whole eyes, including the whites and corneas, became radiating red in return. And his clothes fell through his shadow body and rested silently on the floor.

He was now a shadow, Saline knew it, and this was the outcome they were all hoping to avoid. Yet, he’d already been intoxicated, so it was only a matter of minutes before it ended. Or so she thought. “Give up.” The Captain requested while taking out her 9mm Calio M950 pistol and aiming straight into the boy’s head. “Don’t make me use it, Darkling.” She threatened. Saline knew bullets wouldn’t work on the boy while in this state, but he was due to pass out any moment from the toxin. Then to her surprise a shining deformed bullet and a small portion of a colourless liquid left out of his shadowed right shoulder falling to the ground. “The… toxin?” She whispered.

“No fluid can interact with my body in this state.” The boy replied confidently and leaned forward.

Noticing that move all four SOU moved in without hesitation. Darkling jumped backwards, floating above the woman called Torch as he landed behind her. She immediately turned around and her palms exploded with a burst of fire which encased the subject. But when she stopped flaming the shadowed figure was still standing there, intact.

“Shadow is inflammable.” Darkling replied as he extended his right arm forwards. Torch couldn’t even react before the boy’s hand quickly extended in length and changed shape to a black blade growing out of his forearm. She fell limply on the ground with a vertical hole in her chest. Torch was dead before her body even reached the cold floor. A pile of blood quickly growing where she fell.

Captain Saline couldn’t take her eyes off the subject. His body was pure darkness, like a void shaped into a human figure. Saying that the colour of his body was black would be a mistake, his body had in indefinite colour, since no light managed to bounce off its surface. Saline lowered her gun and immediately thought of a black hole, but the physical effects of the boy’s body made her mind shift more towards an absolute photosynthesis of a sort. Her train of thought was yet soon derailed by the sudden grunt of Goliath who just got pierced through the same way Torch was. The older man fell on the floor with a thud, yet still alive. He would regenerate within a few moments. Captain brought her hand to the earphone to make another report. Even when people were dying around her she wouldn’t fail to make a report, she wouldn’t fail her General. “This is Saline; the subject has negated the toxin! I repeat. The subject negated the toxin! We are now engaging him in a direct combat, Torch fell. Over!” She yelled to the earphone while watching the subject being encased within a sphere of shade, generated by SOU Night.

“Roger that, Captain! We’re sending backup right away!” Barton quickly replied.

In the meantime the shadowed prison failed and Darkling jumped out breaking though the black walls effortlessly. “Your shadow is a simple grouping of light waves up to the point when they form a nearly solid structure… I can consume any amounts of light.” The boy explained aloud.

“Consume this!” Serpent yelled out as he turned his hand into several wisps and threw them forward to capture the boy. The wisps gently curved around the shadowed figure and finally tightened with force. But there was nothing they could catch. They simply severed through Darkling’s immaterial body and, to Serpent’s surprise, fell to the ground. “Ygh…” He gave out a noise as the boy pierced through his stomach with another hand blade. But then Serpent’s body fell apart to wisps that slowly floated and tightened around the material blade the boy had made.

“Hmm?” Darkling hummed curiously as he noticed the wisps entangling his right hand blade form to the floor.

“Arrgh!” Yelled the Goliath, who by now had regenerated fully, as he shoved his fist straight into the boy’s head.

Darkling’s body dispersed and left only a circular shadow on the floor of the warehouse, looking much like a hole to the underground. Then out of that shadow another blade came to pierce the Goliath, this time aiming at his head. But the SOU was experienced and he wouldn’t fall for it twice, he swiftly dodged the attack and jumped to the left. But to his surprise another blade grew out at an angle of the middle length of the first one, piercing through his head. Goliath’s fluids seeped out as he fell to the floor again. Then the round shadow on the floor travelled in a black line with astonishing speed, reaching the Serpent in his wisp form within a split-second. Then the wisps that were touching the floor where the shadow now moved all began to blacken in colour. Like being infected by touching the blackened floor.

Night just watched as all the white serpents turned black due to the shadow covering them. “Serpent, watch it!” He yelled out but it was too late. All the serpents stopped moving and got shredded into tiny pieces. Night new that this was not enough to kill his fellow SOU, but it was surely enough to take him out of the fight for a few days. The youngster looked to his right, Goliath was still regenerating. When Night faced forward again an expression of shock appeared on his face. The blackened frame of the boy was now standing right in front of him.

BANG! Went a loud booming sound of a firing gun. Saline shot the subject perfectly in the head. Yet, his head only got deformed like a cloud through which an object flew past at a great speed. And then it quickly returned to normal. Darkling didn’t even move this time when releasing his blades. Yet this time they were shaped more like spikes than blades, and growing out of several random places from over the front side of his body, each and every of the spikes piercing through Night. One of the spikes piercing through the SOU’s head caused a fatal wound. The moment the spikes dematerialised Night’s body fell on the floor releasing plenty of blood.

Captain Saline raised her gun again. She knew she would be the next target. She also knew her trusted gun would not be able to save her this time. But she didn’t fire. Instead she heard numerous guns cocking.

“The cavalry is here…” Cyclops noted confidently noticing the whole 1st platoon of soldiers surrounding the blackened body of the subject.

“Withdraw now! He cannot be harmed with firearms!” Saline yelled out desperately.

“We’re not here to harm him.” Lieutenant Mc Stern replied from behind her. “We’re here to cover your retreat, Captain!”

“Captain Saline! Retreat together with Mc Stern to the command ground! Take all the SOU members with you.” Barton’s voice sounded through Saline’s earphone.

The Captain looked at Mc Stern, puzzled. Then she looked at Darkling who was standing still surrounded by a large group of soldiers equipped with various types of rifles, from simple Kel-Tec SU-16 through common M16A4 to powerful Howa type 89 assault rifles. But the boy didn’t even flinch. His glowing red eyes slowly followed the Captain and Lieutenant who were now running out of the building. Cyclops followed them quickly while some soldiers helped Goliath to stand. Others carried out the Torch’s and Night’s bodies out, yet unable to find even a sign of the Serpent. Within a few moments all other people had left the building leaving only a group of privates who were now slowly retreating backwards, with their guns still pointed at the black figure of the boy. Darkling still remained in place, allowing the soldiers and everyone to leave intact.

“I lost him!” Cyclops noted as he run up to Captain Saline. “He’s no longer in the warehouse.”

“Okay…” Saline replied with a tingle of fear. Was he now chasing them? If so then why would he let them get out so easily? “General! How’s the sniper team?” She asked through the earphone.

“They’ve retreated earlier without casualties.” Came Hudson’s voice over the comm.

Soon all the soldiers were back at the plain where the choppers were stationed. Planc was talking to Mc Stern outside, while Saline and the rest of the commanding team were inside the tent.

“Okay. We seem to have seen enough. We’re retreating out of here. Nothing more we can do.” Hudson concluded as he looked at the preoccupied General.

“Our guns won’t work, and the SOU members have failed, two of them died. I don’t think we stand any chance right now. Even the surprise attack failed.” Flint added while tapping something on the mobile console.

“Contact the central, tell them the operation was a failure and inform them of the losses…” Barton muttered thinking heavily. If he’s not able to catch this subject then will he get scolded for it at the debriefing? His career so far was practically flawless, and this failure would be a stain on his reputation. After losing so much in the US army he was given a new life in the GDI, and he wouldn’t let this career end the same way his old career in the US military forces had. “We’re moving out.” He announced for better or worse.

Flint started calling soldiers out through the intercom while Stork and Troy contacted their teams. All the fuss and commotion in the command tent allowed a shadow line slip through under the tent’s walls unnoticed. The line quickly reached the middle of the tent and concentrated into a round shaped shadow. Out of this shadow the same black frame of Darkling appeared. Barton turned around hearing a gun cocking. It was Flint, who took out his good old Colt Diamondback and aimed at the shadowed figure.

“I don’t enjoy killing people… Neither friends nor foes.” Darkling announced suddenly, making all people in the tent look at him. Saline felt a cold chill run down her spine. “I’ve been taught how to kill since I could crawl… Don’t try to follow or capture me again.” The shadow then added and dispersed in the thin air without a trace.

“He’s here?” Came a voice of the SOU named Cyclops who just entered the tent.

“He left.” Barton replied bluntly. “It’s safe now, we’re moving out.”
* * *
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:19 pm

Code: Select all
Taking actions with insufficient intelligence at hand is the easiest way to gamble on their outcome, and makes it likely for an operation to end in failure. And failure means consequences.

Lots of information in this chapter gets disclosed.

* * *
The conference room was close to empty, at least compared to the usual set of high ranked military men who normally occupied all the chairs at the half-round table. This time, however, General Barton wasn’t allowed to sit in his usual spot. He was left in the debriefing chair in the middle of the room. If there was a military equivalent of the school’s chair for the dunce then that would be it. Chairs normally used by other Generals and Lieutenant Generals were now occupied by Warrant Officers. Only one thing remained unchanged in the room, and that was the main screen featuring the always serious and displeased iron lady, Officer Darane.

“You’ve failed to capture the subject, General…” Darane spoke slowly, uttering the word General with obvious disgust. “And you lost 2 valuable SOU members and had one of them severely injured. We cannot overlook your incompetence on this one, General Barton.”

“We didn’t have the proper equipment…” Barton wanted to speak out and state his arguments but was immediately silenced by another voice.

“We did not give you the permission to speak, General!” Came a voice from one of the Warrant Officers.

“We Warrant Officers are normally NCOs, called to take part in debriefing when a mission fails.” Another man added.

“And considering the almost flawless course of your missions so far we might lessen your punishment for this severe failure.” A woman sitting at his usual spot added.

“Nonetheless, you have still given us a reason to lower your rank, General.” Darane finally took over.

Barton couldn’t take it any longer, becoming a sacrificial lamb like this was an attack on his honour and pride as a soldier. He stood up and boomed with anger. “I can’t imagine anyone accomplishing this mission with the information, people and weaponry I was allowed to use! You think I don’t know what you’re playing in!? I know it well! Out of all the Generals I’m the most competent one, if this keeps up I might even become the next Marshal!” Barton yelled shamelessly. “Was my psychological profile flawed!? If you don’t want to let me climb to the position of a Marshal then just stop my path there! But don’t screw with me like this!”

“GENERAL!” The iron lady finally yelled out irritated. “Stop right there with the accusations or I’ll order your immediate execution!”

Barton didn’t know what to do or say. He was in some deep shit now, he knew that well. But there was no place he could get help from, at least that’s what he thought. The main screen suddenly flashed and the usual screen presenting Darane was forced to shrink in width to half of the screen. The second part of the screen was now taken by the rarely seen, yet highly regarded and respected face.

“M-Marshal Solomon?” Officer Darane asked surprised. All the Officers gave out weird sounds of surprise or even fear.

“Good day everyone.” Solomon announced lightly. His round face and nearly bold head made him look dignified and respected despite all the wrinkles. “I’ve read all the reports related to this case. General Barton…” He slowly said with a serious tone.

Barton looked up at the screen. He was sure this was it. He would be executed or imprisoned for incompetence. But the truth came out to be surprising. The screen once again flashed as the previously split into two parts was now split into three. With the Marshal taking the upper half of the monitor, and two quarters below occupied by Darane and a familiar looking scientist.

“Uhm, General Barton, we’ve been hasty with sending you for this mission, but we had our reasons.” Barton now remembered the name of the older scientist with long messy hair who was talking, Yasnov. “You see, when the subject escaped from the Vendetta base we were betting that it was wounded or exhausted. This way the force you were commanding would have been enough to capture it. Unfortunately, the subject appeared tougher than we anticipated; there was nothing both your soldiers and the SOU could do.” Yasnov slowly explained with his Russian accent.

“Hence we believe your failure cannot be used as a proof of your incompetence.” Solomon assured quickly.

“In order to capture the subject alias Darkling you will need a lot more than what SOU or WDS have to offer.” Yasnov slowly continued.

The Marshal then took up. “This is why we’ve decided to give you another chance, this time with a proper taskforce.” He noted and smiled slightly.

“And what will that be?” Barton asked bewildered.

“We will be contacting the Governmental Obedience and Defence Devices, as well as the organisation that originally requested the recruitment of the subject, the Regiment of Shadows.” The Marshal replied flatly, as if those organisations were easily reachable. “You have to understand, General. This subject is of great concern for our organisation, and can be a threat for the global peace we try so hard to keep. Considering he’s still a child we cannot cross out the chance of him becoming even more dangerous in the future.”

“I think it’s about damn time I’m told what the hell I’m up against.” Barton replied irritated by the constant beating about that case. “Just tell me why this kid is considered so dangerous that we cannot simply leave him for the IS procedure!”

“The Invigilation and Supervision procedure allows us not to cause chaos when engaging peaceful individuals into a potentially damaging battle, but instead leaving them to live on their own but under our constant supervision.” Solomon explained slowly, as if the General didn’t know that. “However, Darkling may be a real threat to the whole world, depending on whether his instincts take over or not.”

“Details…” Barton muttered. The Marshal gave him a dried gaze, while Darane tried to kill him with her sight for referring to the Marshal himself in such a rude manner.

“You are a fine General, Barton. I think I can let you in on this one.” Solomon finally replied. “Warrant Officers are dismissed.” He added after a while of thinking.

All the Officers in the room looked at each other. Secret information that wouldn’t even be shared with them? That seemed serious enough to comply. After a moment the room had gotten all quiet again as there was only one person left in it.

“Darane, please leave this conversation unmonitored.” Solomon added after a moment. The iron lady was visibly pissed. She couldn’t believe she’d just been asked not to listen to the conversation. She began to type something in her console as the Marshal spoke again. “I’m sorry Darane, but the fewer people know, the better.” Then the screen flashed again leaving only the Marshal and Yasnov on it. “Doctor Yasnov…”

“Yes, Marshal.” Yasnov was finally given a chance to speak all he wanted. He took up and lifted a two-page document with visible print stating that it’s classified, and showed it on the screen. “This, General, is the form that I filled in half a year ago. It concerns the Nightshade Project that gave birth to the subject in question.” He explained as he shook the documents. “Truth is… the Nightshade Project was a continuation of a much larger project, called the Abyss Project. The Abyss Project, however, was fully classified.” The scientist paused and sighed before he continued again. “General, do you believe in different dimensions?” Came a sudden question.

Barton sighed. Obviously he did have his education, he knew all the theories, but they were never proven right. Or at least nobody knew they were.

“For a long time there have existed theories of parallel universes that might exist out there somewhere. Places where the laws of physics don’t necessarily have to be the same as here… All the parallel dimensions are connected to this one, no further away that the width of a shadow, yet way out of our reach. In the Abyss Project a team of scientist that I’ve been in charge of have managed to achieve a breakthrough. To establish the first stable connection to another, parallel universe.” Yasnov kept explaining while Barton’s eyes slightly widened. “This dimension we’ve reached had been named Abyss 32, and to our surprise, it was devoid of all matter and energy. After several months of exploring the empty space our probe managed to find something unexpected…” The scientist hesitated to speak for a moment. But then he took a breath and continued to drawl slowly. “We have obtained a leftover of a body. A body made of pure darkness, with its own DNA-like structure. A sample of this body was brought back to our world and examined. We managed to establish a few facts about it. First was, that it belonged to a being that was dead. Second was, that it had a natural ability to consume all light and electromagnetic radiation of all sorts. Third was, that its body was made of unknown molecules a bit similar to strangelets, yet apparently controlled by the DNA-like structure and probably the will of the being they belonged to.” Yasnov’s eyes narrowed to make him look even more serious. “You understand, General? This creature was not only able to consume all light like a black hole, but also to consume all matter and turn it into its own body structure… This DNA was fused with human DNA structure and out of that genetic material a child was conceived. That is our subject, Darkling. So before you say anything, yes, Darkling is a hybrid between a human and an unknown creature from a parallel dimension.”

“I thought connections to parallel dimensions were all strictly prohibited after the Invader incident.” Barton muttered aloud with disgrace. Obviously they wanted the subject detained to prevent the information of his origins being spilled out to the world or even through GDI or WSPDI. This had nothing to do with world safety; it was just a bunch of high-ups trying to cover up their asses. “What is the source of his powers then? Do we know as much?” The grey-haired general finally asked.

“We’re not sure.” The Doctor interrupted. “If I was to guess, I’d say it might be Darkforce.”

“That’s perfect. Another trans-dimensional maniac. That would surely make all the governors run about.” Barton snarled under his nose.

“This is why we’d like to keep it a secret, General.” Solomon replied with a grave tone. “But there are also limits to how much Doctor Yasnov can tell you…” He then added mysteriously. “I think I don’t need to remind you General that all this conversation is top-secret and has to remain that way.” The Marshal warned and received a nod in return. “Then please, both of you, keep what I will now tell you a secret as well.” Both Barton and Yasnov were surprised by the sudden request. Was he going to say something even more secret? “I cannot tell you where this information came from, but I can assure you it is valid. The body sample collected in the dimension Abyss 32 belonged to a being of a rare kind. We do have some knowledge about those beings. The world may be endangered. You see, those beings made of pure darkness are in their immature form. After birth they will follow their instincts to reach maturity. This, however, is an unacceptable thing to happen in our universe.” Solomon snarled with irritation. “As Doctor Yasnov said, these beings can grow by consuming matter, gaining energy by consuming light. In order to reach maturity they have to consume the matter equivalent of about two galaxies…”

Hearing this Yasnov didn’t mange to hold back. “What!? How come we weren’t informed of this?” The scientist always believed that only he had been keeping a secret connected to this issue.

“Two galaxies!? You’ve got to be kidding me…” Barton added with disbelief.

“Men!” Solomon silenced them both with one word. “After they reach the critical mass, those beings implode and their bodies disappear, sometimes leaving dead parts of their bodies that didn’t make it to join before the implosion. We don’t know what happens to them afterwards, some say they enter their own realm, but that is irrelevant as you see. We don’t know if Darkling can use this ability, or if he ever will develop it. Neither do we know whether he can control his instincts with his human willpower, or if he even has those instincts to begin with! But this case may not be overlooked! The chances of him becoming a threat to the whole planet are highly limited, but the potential effects would be catastrophic! That’s why we cannot allow him to run around free.” The Marshal finished with a determined and serious gaze. The room was totally silent for a moment, until Solomon spoke again. “This is why we are letting you use all the means at our disposal to detain or neutralise the subject, General. But keep the details to yourself, same as you, Doctor Yasnov.”

“I see… So I’m the cleaning guy now…” Barton replied with disgrace. He always knew that even the most beloved organisations had a darker side to them, but he wouldn’t expect to hear something like this. He didn’t even want to imagine where that other part of the information was from. “I’ll clean him up okay… for the safety of the world. But remember this… Next time, try letting me in on such details BEFORE I send my men into the field to risk their lives!” He snarled.

“I’ll think about it, General.” Solomon replied coldly. “You’re dismissed. Both of you. I’ll inform Darane about the situation change myself. You will be given fresh orders within 48 hours once we contact the GODD and the RS and confirm their will to cooperate.”

“You seem sure that they will…” Barton retorted with a questioning gaze. “I know the RS is a special, elite team of assassins working for the GDI, so they will comply with any order from the Marshal. But GODD is an independent organisation working for governments, and I doubt if they will be willing to work for an International Organisation like us… Why not applying for help from the ZOCOM instead?” Barton asked curiously. The Zone Operations Command could boast having very advanced technology, maybe not as advanced as the GODD but still more impressive than what WDS had to offer.

“The GODD works as a part of a larger programme sponsored and equipped by an outer… organisation. But that outer organisation is also highly concerned with this case, so we will be given support from all available sources.” The Marshal replied mysteriously. “But I do not want any more branches of GDI engaged in this operation.”

“Is that outer organisation by chance the same one that gave you the information about those beings from another dimension?” Came a straight question from the still standing General.

“Dismissed.” Solomon replied flatly and the screen went blank.

Barton didn’t move for a moment. Then he fell on the chair exhausted by the sudden inflow of information. There was so much on his mind right now that he couldn’t think straight, but he remembered the rumours. There were people who claimed there is an outer organisation cooperating with the GDI, but most of those rumours described that outer organisation as one run by extraterrestrials. Barton didn’t want to brood over it. Not now. Right now he had a job to do. Besides, it was better not to know much in this a case. In this organisation knowledge made you more likely to be expended. All the soldiers were expendable here anyway, at least for people like the Marshal. But Barton couldn’t hate that dignified man. This man… the symbol of the organisation, that was created just and only to keep the world safe from global dangers. The General just knew there were plenty of issues the Marshal must have known and had to cope with. This was what made him to be like that. Barton then stood up intending to leave the room, rubbing his forehead. He was sure he wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight.

“General…” Yasnov’s voice suddenly came from the screen. “I need to ask you something as we are alone.”

“Well?” Barton asked with little interest, he surely had enough stress and information delivered today.

“Did you see the fight between Darkling and the SOU members personally?”

“No. My Captain was there, and I’ve read her report. So I guess I know enough.” The General knew Saline was very careful with her reports, working hard not to omit any detail that might be important.

“I heard the subject killed Torch as the first one… did he by any chance attempt to fuse with her?” The Russian scientist asked carefully.

“Fusion… I’ve read the report on that subject’s abilities. No, as far as the report goes he pierced through SOU Torch with a dark blade after she tried to set him on fire.” Barton replied interested. “Why do you ask?”

“So he didn’t try… That’s weird… If it’s the black fire after all, then his instincts should be telling him to achieve that ability.” Yasnov was now muttering to himself.

“What are you talking about, Doctor… Officer? Is there something I should know?”

“If you agree not to tell the Marshal about this, then I can tell you.” Came a reply with a slight undertone of fear and guilt.

“I might fail to mention such detail, so let’s consider this conversation personal, unrelated to work.” Barton replied with an assuring voice. He wanted to know as much as he could. Any detail might save the lives of his soldiers.

“Well… Thinking about that ability to consume mass and turn it into its own body, there was an experiment with the subject which I think revealed that ability, although back then we didn’t know that. Darkling was asked to fuse with a SOU called Flame. That SOU could create and control fire, same as Torch. But when fused with Darkling, he could call a black variation of fire.” Yasnov explained slowly.

“Black variation? Flame takes up colours depending upon its temperature, it cannot go black.” Barton replied coldly.

“That wasn’t fire as such. Fire is just a process of forceful oxidation of matter with the use of heat. Black fire was able to break the molecular bounds and consume matter, using it to fuel itself and grow.” The scientist replied analytically while smothering his white smock. “I believe that black fire is what those dark beings use in order to grow… And Darkling was able to use it as well.”

“So, you’re telling me that he already held the ability to destroy the whole planet back then!?”

“We didn’t know that it was this capable… Besides, he didn’t use it as his instincts would command. And now he had a chance to fuse with Torch and call that power forth again, yet he didn’t.”

“Are you implying… that the subject doesn’t follow the instincts? And to top it he is AWARE of how to call that power and how to use it?” Barton snarled again. This information made his heart beat faster again.

“He never showed any will to consume the world. General, please… don’t kill Darkling if possible… we have yet so much to learn from that being.” Yasnov finally replied with a visionary tone.

“Tsk… Why didn’t you include that information in the report?”

“Because… the subject would have been exterminated if I did. Darkling is of great worth to us scientists. We don’t want it to be killed before we examine it throughout. You might try negotiating with it though… I think its self awareness should allow you to get the answers that you… we all need.”

Barton didn’t reply. He only thought about what the subject told them all in the end. He doesn’t enjoy killing, and he doesn’t want to be chased. Why did they all call him ‘it’ anyway? That was a boy after all. The General left the room with a feeling of an upcoming massive headache.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:25 pm

* * *
The door to the briefing room swung open as General Barton entered without even slowing down. Just a single look at this man made all the soldiers shiver. He was preoccupied, and angry with something. Most of the people in the room quickly connected his state to the recent debriefing he was held at. Apparently the accusations of incompetence have been withdrawn, but this was a stain on his military service nonetheless. Only two people saw something more behind this case. Those were Major General Hudson, who knew Barton way too well to miss the feeling of worry in his eyes. As well as Lieutenant Stork, who usually knew more than he would show.

“Everyone here?” Barton asked quickly. His gaze shifted through the room and stopped on one of the faces. “Ah, yes, Lieutenant Sinclair, I heard you’re back from the last mission.” He noted as he looked at the young woman with long black hair made in a bun to prevent them from messing with her work.

“Yes, General.” She replied formally.

“Good. We’re getting some people back, I see. Too bad Major General Traves is still not here.” The General noted. Normally a General would command at least two Corps, each commanded by a Lieutenant General, but in GDI the difference between General and Lieutenant General was down to the fact that the General would take the lead should the two be forced to cooperate. Not to mention that most of the formations were moveable, meaning that for example a Captain and his company could be reassigned to a different Lieutenant Colonel to serve under a different General or Lieutenant General. This way most of military formations, all the big divisions and the small platoons, were flowing between commanders depending on who needed them more. Barton had only one corps under his command, consisting of mere two divisions with Hudson and Traves for their command. But now he was short of one division, since Traves and his division have been sent out to monitor the state of Georgia lately. World conflicts always lessened the number of his troops. He moved his gaze further and stopped again. Finally the chairs of Colonels were occupied. “Colonel Stiles, Colonel Mc Dean… Good to see that you’ve made it here so fast.” He greeted the two Colonels who up until now had been working elsewhere. Stiles was left to help with infiltration of Stingers, a rebel group of the 3rd world, while Mc Dean was freshly promoted to the ranks of Colonels. They both saluted to greet their current commander. Except for those, however, other people in the room were Hudson, pretty much inseparable Barton’s underling, Flint, also a usual member of Barton’s group, and Saline. The muscular bald Captain named Planc was sent out to serve under the commands of Lieutenant General Hughes, but being given two Colonels in return was more of an inflow of men than a loss. Although Barton didn’t know how much these two could do. He used to work with Stiles before, but Mc Dean was a mystery. Constant shifting of operating crew under each commander was a real pain when one needed trusted men. GDI was simply heavily undermanned. But seeing Lieutenants Stork and Mc Stern, as well as Sergeants Troy and Faraday made him feel more secure. Even the freshly returning from Iraq Sergeant Pago, with his dark skin and black curly hair made Barton smile slightly. The General sighed as he recalled all that he knew about each of those soldiers. Yes, his Army was now more numerous, due to the priority of his mission.

“General, I have prepared the documents you asked about.” Hudson started as Barton stopped speaking, while handing him an envelope with documents. This was the requested extended psychological profile for the subject, alias Darkling, written down by Doctor Yasnov himself.

“I see.” Barton replied as he took the envelope. He might need the information in case he has no other choice but to negotiate. “Soldiers! We are all here to take part in a top-secret mission of vital importance to the human race… and if you FAIL, you are failing the human race. Am I making myself clear?”

“Sir, yes sir!” Came a loud booming sound echoing through the room as multiple voices exclaimed the same phrase altogether.

“We have been issued an order to capture or neutralise the subject by all means necessary. But we will not be using the help of WDS or SOU any more…” He announced with a serious tone causing the whole room to fall silent.

“You’re not saying that we are to capture him ourselves, General?” Saline asked confused. She out of everyone here saw the most of the subject in question.

“Of course not. Due to the importance of this mission we will be given devices from the GODD as well as assassins from the RS.” Came a flat and blunt reply as if it was a normal way of dealing with such cases.

Now the room was even more hushed. All soldiers were too shocked to speak for a while. “So I guess our role will be coordination and support if necessary.” Flint was the one to break the silence.

“Correct. We will coordinate the operation, codename Lightning, to a successful conclusion.” Barton summed up. “We will be given two assassins and four devices to help in the operation.”

“Who will be in command of them?” Mc Stern asked with interest.

“The GODD devices will go under Colonel Stiles, while the assassins under Mc Dean. The rest of you will be assigned to your usual posts.” He explained. Actually this was all the Marshal’s orders to place the Colonels in charge of the assault teams. Barton couldn’t help but to think there was something fishy about this plan. Normally they wouldn’t risk sending someone ranked higher than a Captain straight into a fight against the subject. He couldn’t help but to think those two Colonels were considered very expendable by the central, and perhaps even sent to die in the process. That was a likely way of getting rid of people who either knew too much or asked too many questions. He knew that one day he might end up sent to personally supervise an operation doomed to fail with high chances of him dying in the process. “Now let’s all get to work. We need a good plan of action, so I’m waiting for any suggestions.”
* * *
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Kusang_Manalo » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:43 pm

Crap! I can't keep up! D:
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:01 am

No need to be keeping up. Just one final update to go.
Could have added some Sergeant Manalo there too... Would be fun.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original.

Postby Q.U. » Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:08 pm

Code: Select all
Blood, pain, and violence are the essence of war. Modernisation is imbecility.

Code: Select all
It is always the worst scenario for an officer to lose his men in action.

Welcome to the final round. I wonder who will win... oh, wait. No I don't.

* * *
The FIA was right as usual. At least one agency working for the GDI which never failed to forward the newest and most accurate info. The field command centre was up and operational already. This time it was a smaller city, yet fairly distant from the last location where they engaged the subject. In fact, the subject managed to use his powers to cross the border and was now hiding in city Annecy, south of Geneva in France. More accurately his location had been pinpointed to be a closed factory in the outer part of the city, luckily surrounded mostly by unused and abandoned infrastructure. The large clearing in the nearby forest gave a perfect place for a temporary command centre.

“Any news yet?” Barton asked impatiently. It was already noon and the GODD didn’t arrive yet.

“Nothing yet sir.” Flint replied quickly as he tapped something on his console.

General Barton left the tent, wanting to get some fresh air. Both Colonels were waiting outside. Apparently Mc Dean was already readying his group. As for a Colonel he was given command over a poor bunch, consisting only of two assassins and the temporary 3rd platoon, borrowed here together with young Lieutenant Hinde to lead them. Both Mc Dean and Hinde weren’t experienced, but the troops were here only to give cover to the assassins and the commanders. Colonel Stiles on the other hand was slowly briefing the temporary 4th platoon, brought together with their Lieutenant, Feret. Lieutenant Feret was a tough woman with a nice and promising military career. All those new temporarily commissioned soldiers seemed to be making Barton’s group finally something. He was now with 4 platoons, so generally a whole company of about 200 soldiers. Yet all this firepower was worthless with what they were up against. The 4th platoon was still missing the GODD, who were late. Barton looked around, the 1st platoon was scattered all around the area, securing it. This time Mc Stern was grounded in the command tent to defend the high ranks, while Sinclair with her 2nd platoon left for reconnaissance. Yet, because of letting Sinclair take the command over the 2nd platoon Stork was left in the command tent with no soldiers to command. Luckily Lieutenant Stork didn’t need soldiers, and Hudson was at least happy to have the silent helper at his side. Sergeants Troy and Paco were stuck with defence this time under commands of Mc Stern. While Faraday, given command over SOU Cyclops for better info gathering, accompanied Sinclair on the recon. Barton was worried. The orders were merciless and if all outs fail, which meant the assassins and the GODD, the orders were to fight until the last man. And since the 3rd and 4th platoons were the assault team they would be forced to fight the pointless battle. This was after all their only sure way to capture the subject. That was to tire him, or so did Yasnov say. When forced to fight for too long he would finally have to return to his human form and then he could be apprehended. But to tire him it would take many casualties among those two platoons, or even more. Barton shivered thinking that he might be forced to send the 2nd platoon with Sinclair to the fight. All of them used as cannon fodder. And although he barely knew the two Colonels and their platoons, he did feel terribly when sending men on certain death. He gave out a sigh and tried to relax a bit, but he was interrupted again. This time, however, he was quite happy to see the modified Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion with large golden letters GODD on its side landing nearby. “Ah, finally!” He said to himself as he approached the landing carrier. It was a specially modified version of the chopper, apparently adjusted to carrying the devices. Out of the heavy chopper four large android-like machines came. Each of them having the omniscient eye in a trident on their chests, the sign of GODD. Barton was a little surprised to see those high-tech assault robots, each over 2 meters tall and one meter in width. Their thick arms and legs were connected firmly to the large main corpus. Each of the robots had its left arm equipped with a chain gun instead of fingers, namely a modified GAU-8 Avenger, while their right hands ended with a modified rocket launcher M25 three shot bazooka, also known as Trident due to its three rocket holes. “So you are the devices sent to assist us, huh?” Barton asked trying to hide his partial state of awe.

“Correct.” One of the robots drawled with a muffled mechanical voice. “We are the hands of GODD. You are General Barton. We are awaiting commands.” The robot announced the obvious.

At first Barton wanted to scold them for being late, but he didn’t know how to. Probably they wouldn’t even understand, or get angry. So he just dropped the idea and briefed the machines. “This is Colonel Stiles, he is your direct deputy commander, and he will forward any orders from me to your group. You will also be accompanied by a platoon of soldiers, but they will move in only in case of your failure.” Barton replied as he pointed at the Colonel who was now standing next to him and staring at the robots. Then he left to the command tent without a word. Finally they were ready to begin the operation.

“They’re here?” Hudson asked as the General entered the tent.

“Yes, we are ready to begin the operation Lightning.” Barton replied quickly. “Get me Sinclair over.” Sending Lieutenant Sinclair to command the 2nd platoon was the only option left, at first Barton wanted to send the more experienced and higher ranked Captain Saline with them as the commander, but he gave up on that since Saline had already encountered the subject directly. Instead Saline was given the command over the Sinclair’s platoon as a leading commander from the temporary command centre, to grant that group some more independence.

“Here you go sir.” Flint replied quickly while handing the intercom to Barton.

“Sinclair! This is the General speaking. Do you have a visual on the target?”

“Negative sir, the subject is only detectable thanks to SOU Cyclops, this factory doesn’t grant us a good visual.” Came a clear reply.

“But you can confirm that he is still there?”

“That’s affirmative sir!” The intercom sounded with the confident female voice.

Barton thought for a moment. “Stay in your positions, your platoon will be reporting as the second hand. Do NOT engage the subject unless ordered to do so or attacked by him directly.” He ordered with a serious tone.

“Roger that sir.”

The General turned off the intercom and gave it back to Flint. “Saline, keep a constant contact with the 2nd platoon. Flint, make sure to keep the 3rd and 4th platoons coordinated. But first let me to talk to both of those two groups.”

“Yes sir. Right away, sir.” Lieutenant Colonel Flint replied obediently as he began tapping the buttons again. “There you go, sir. You’re in, sir.”

“To platoons 3 and 4, this is General Barton speaking.” Barton started with a serious and commanding tone. “The operation Lightning is due to begin. Remember the plan, First we allow the assassins to take out the target. If they fail they are to retreat and allow the GODD to engage the target in a direct fight. The platoons are to wait until the fight ends and take on the target should the GODD fail to bring him down. In case both the 3rd and the 4th platoon are eradicated or suffer high casualties the 2nd platoon is to enter the scene and finish the subject off. Good luck soldiers!” Barton could hear yells outside the tent as he finished, obviously the Colonels taking matters into their hands and readying to depart. The time of final encounter was closing in. Everyone started to do their work immediately. Saline contacting Sinclair, Flint linking the communication between all the platoons swiftly with the help of Stork, and Hudson standing beside him and giving out minor commands on behalf of the General. Only Troy seemed to be bored, leaning against the tent as he observed the commotion. He didn’t like to be assigned for defence. His basic approach to fighting was that attack was the best defence, and now he was stuck with all the high ranks in the command tent, accompanied by his squad of soldiers all just being the main bodyguards for the tent. In his eyes even Sergeant Paco was luckier, allowed to circle the vicinity with his squad.

“Platoon 3 here. In position!” Came a confirming voice over the comm.

“This is Colonel Stiles of the 4th platoon, we are at the designated position.” Came another confirmation.

“All operatives are in place. Awaiting the command to execute operation Lightning, sir.” Hudson said officially.

Barton sat on his chair and lowered his gaze. This would be a bloody massacre, he could feel it. “Execute.” He finally replied lacking any other option.

The inside of the factory was already silently invaded by both the 3rd and 4th platoons. Soldiers staying on the ground floor with their Lieutenants, while the assassins and the GODD left for the upper floor, both Colonels with them. With the help of SOU Cyclops they managed to plan a perfect setting of all teams and troops, the GODD were left in the east part of the building together with Colonel Stiles, while Colonel Mc Dean left to supervise the two assassins personally. He didn’t see anything special in those two men. Both being quite young, around 30 years of age, they looked like normal people. He settled in a spot on the higher balcony-like ramp, from which he could see the entire large production hall as well as the dark-haired boy sitting on the floor. Both assassins left to prepare their surprise attack, which hopefully would kill the subject before he managed to react.

Darkling tried to sleep. His right arm had already healed for most of the part, since the last attempt on his life. He wouldn’t be that forgiving next time. Yet he didn’t expect the next time to come so soon. The assassins sent after him were a tall blonde, alias Gunner, and a short and chubby dark-haired man, alias Graviton. Both of them were already in position as Darkling was about to fall asleep after a long time of striving in this world, which seemed so different from the sterile laboratory he used to live in up until now. The boy found it hard to adapt, stealing food and anything necessary for his survival, yet trying hard not to interact with people. Interactions were something he didn’t handle well. When he was younger he’d never be allowed to leave the Institute to go and socialise with other kids, instead he was taught how to give a fatal wound with a single stab. While normal kids would watch TV in their pyjamas, he was forced to go through intensive battle simulations. While other kids were attending kindergarten or primary school, he would be taught how to kill quickly and efficiently with the use of his powers. And finally, while other kids would play together or talk with each other, he would spend time alone in the white room, left with nothing but the constant invigilation from multiple surrounding cameras. Humans were not normal for him. They lived so differently, and acted so freely, as if they’d never known true nature of isolation. But the boy didn’t envy them. Neither was he angry for his upbringing. He just accepted the fact that his youngest life was taken away from him and twisted, and all his chances of joining the normal society ruined by the one and only ‘truth’ he was forced to learn. He just wished to be alone, forever. So that nobody would ever mess with him, and force him to do things he didn’t want to do. To kill for motives that weren’t his. Darkling’s eyes went shut as he began to feel heavier and heavier. Way too heavy to be supported by his body, so he slowly lied on the floor. The dark-eyed boy couldn’t help but to wonder what made him feel so tired and heavy today. He quickly tried to chase away the memory of this painful nightmare he’d been having every now and then. The image of his human body being ripped apart and mauled, bones broken, organs crushed. All done by the darkened shapeless form of his own shadowed side. This executioner was him, but had a mind of its own. While Darkling would always shape his shadow’s body replicating his human form, and shape his eyes as similar to rectangles, this being was pure. This shadow was just a bunch of loosely connected tentacles, shifting and reshaping constantly, all covered with dozens of those tiny red spots for eyes. He remembered the dark and deep voice of his inner self, calling him out. The words that accompanied his physical torture were clear. ‘How much suffering mortal does it take, before you follow your destiny?’ He knew what that meant. But even after a nightmare of physical tortures he wasn’t willing to change his mind. And he hoped he never would. A silent, barely hearable sound was caught in his ears. A hushed click, like a mute gun cocking. Darkling’s eyes went wide all of a sudden. Something was wrong, he was way too heavy.

BANG! Sounded the 16mm calibre gun that was now growing straight out of Gunner’s right arm. Or to put it better, his arm turned into a gun, with a visible barrel and many metal parts growing straight from his flesh. Mc Dean watched in silence from the high scaffold, he now understood why the alias. But the boy was no longer where he had just been. Gunner turned around to see the shadowed figure grow from the ground behind him. He was forced to look straight into the glowing red eyes, and then he blocked Darkling’s right arm, which now turned into a dark blade that sliced downwards vertically. The metal took the hit quite well, but the force made it bulge and the barrel got deformed.

“Niiiice…” Gunner said smiling. “Surprise attack failed. You would have been a good assassin after all.”

“Jump back Gun!” Graviton called out, now revealing himself from behind Gunner as he came into view.

Gunner did as he was told, and just in time to avoid the forced slice of Darkling’s blade which now ditched in the floor, crushing the tiles for most of the part. The boy couldn’t tell what was going on, but his materialised blade suddenly felt as if it was weighing a tone. He only heard several clinking sounds again, and soon Gunner turned himself into a standing replica of a M242 chain gun, and began to fire. The heavy bullets pierced through Darkling’s immaterial body forcing it to disperse and not allowing him to reform, only to mercilessly beat the opposite wall. Debris and wall fragments began to fall off as Gunner kept shooting. Darkling finally flattened his shaded form to the ground forming the usual shadow circle. But he wasn’t left there for any longer, since Graviton forced the floor element, on which the shadow stayed, to float into the air and rapidly crush against the ceiling. In the meantime Gunner returned to his normal form.

“That’s enough! You failed to take him out, retreat now!” Colonel Mc Dean yelled out from the scaffold.

An empty PUFF sound came, and a moment later a violent explosion of a grenade consumed Colonel’s body, ripping him apart. Metal fragments of the scaffold fell all around, mostly drizzled in blood; Graviton gently bent the trajectory of all the falling elements aside while Gunner just stood there with his left hand extended towards where the Colonel used to stand. His left arm was shaped into a replica of a Milkor MGL, with smoke still coming from the barrel.

“Oups…” The armed assassin muttered with a grin. “Accidental discharge.” He added comfortingly.

Back in the command tent Barton was holding the intercom tightly, almost crushing it in the process. “Mc Dean!? Mc Dean!? Are you there? Over!” But no response came. The General had to assume the worst, but then the intercom did reply. Although it wasn’t the voice that he was waiting for.

“General! This is Sinclair of the reconnaissance team. We have confirmed that Colonel Mc Dean died. Both assassins disobeyed the order to retreat and are still engaging the target.” Lieutenant replied informingly.

“Roger! Keep me informed.”

“Yes sir!”

Barton looked at Hudson, the tall man had a perplexed look on his face, as if unsure what to say. “Are we sending the GODD in?” Hudson finally asked.

“They were to withdraw…” General Barton muttered to himself. But in fact, it was a good idea to let them fight to the death. And they also had some chances of winning this fight. And even if they failed they should still have the subject tired at least a bit. Barton couldn’t help but to think that losing two disobedient assassins would be better than forcefully taking them out of the fight and sacrificing a whole platoon to do the same task. “Wait with the GODD. We will send them after they fail.”

“I see sir.” Major General Hudson replied with understanding tone. In fact, he also considered this be the best option in current situation.

Stork, sitting at his control panel, looked a bit worried though. Lieutenant Colonel Flint gazed at Stork at an angle.

“Lieutenant Hinde! Colonel Mc Dean is KIA; you’re taking over the command of the 3rd platoon.” Barton’s voice sounded through the earphone straight into Lieutenant’s ear.

The news were shocking, but Hinde kept his cool. “Understood!” He replied quickly.

The whole factory was now shaking due to the tremors in the production hall on the second floor. Gunner kept shooting with his grenades everywhere where he saw Darkling’s shadow. Graviton helped by controlling the falling debris and elements, forcing them to cause even more chaos. Darkling cursed in his mind. They noticed him too easily, and responded too quickly. He couldn’t approach them since whenever he tried he was either thrown away along with the floor by Graviton, or the path was destroyed by Gunner. But this couldn’t last forever. The floor of the hall was now full of pits and large holes, threatening to collapse any moment. But the boy just came up with an idea. His shadow crawled into one of the holes in the floor, and travelled through the ceiling of the ground floor to the hole that was nearest to the two assassins.

“Where are you princess…” Gunner asked aloud melodically with a wide smile.

“Right here my prince…” Came the boy’s voice from under the assassin’s feet.

Neither of the assassins noticed before that they were now both standing on the shadow. “Oh, shi-“ Gunner yelled out but got cut off as numerous pure black spikes grew out of the shadowed floor. Luckily, Gunner managed to solidify his body into metal, so he was barely scratched. But Graviton didn’t have as much luck. His full of holes body limply fell on the floor as he failed to react in time. Gunner was pretty much a metal statue at this point, his body not penetrated by the spikes, yet unable to move as well. The spikes began to deform and slowly encased the assassin in a cloud of blackness. After a short moment and some creaking noises the shadow dispersed to take up the form of boy’s frame again, while the metal Gunner was now lying on the floor in many pieces. He was still alive, while in metal form he couldn’t be killed that easily, unless melted. But he couldn’t return to his real form either, since he would die then. He also was no longer able to transform into any other weapon since that required him to return back to normal first.

“This is the 2nd platoon commander Lieutenant Sinclair! Both assassins have been confirmed dead. I repeat. Both assassins as well as Colonel Mc Dean are KIA!” The intercom sounded with a worried tone of the woman’s voice.

“4th platoon, this is the General speaking. The GODD are now to engage the subject, his location will be forwarded to you by the reconnaissance team.” Barton spoke to the intercom quickly. This operation was already a failure.

“Alright! You heard the man! We’re moving out!” Colonel Stiles ordered to the GODD as he started walking. The machines followed him silently. “Feret, stay with Hinde and ready the platoons, we might need them soon.” He added as he looked over his shoulder.

Stiles wasn’t stupid, he knew this was a high-mortality operation and many were expected to be lost. They encountered the subject in a smaller storage hall, one right east to the production hall where the previous fight took place. Stiles slowly moved to the side, staying at a distance, unsure of what those GODD were capable of. Noticing the shadowed figure staring at them blankly with his glowing red eyes all the four robots standing in a line raised their left arms and aimed their chain guns at the boy.

“Target lock.” The middle left robot drawled with his robotic voice.

“And you are?” Darkling asked surprised. He’d never seen such battle machines before.

“We are the hands of GODD…” Another machine replied firmly, standing on the right of the previous one.

“Hands of God?” Darkling asked aloud, not familiar with the abbreviation.

“We are the hands of those in control.” The same robot explained.

“And those in control demand your extinction.” The robot on the left end added flatly.

“Since the previous attempt was unsuccessful.” This time the robot on the right spoke.

“You’ve got a collective mind or what?” The boy asked curiously, obviously not in a hurry to start fighting.

But the GODD were no longer keen on talking. All the four chain guns opened fire as their 30mm calibre bullets began piercing the wall behind the shadow, practically tearing it apart by the brutal force. The guns stopped spinning as the robots noticed that the shadow was no longer there. Soon a black spike came out of the blackened floor and stabbed the robot on the right. But the spike couldn’t pierce the heavy armour. Darkling withdrew and his shadow quickly travelled away to stop on the wall to the production hall, nearby the hole newly torn by GODD guns. Then the two bots in the middle raised their right hands and both released three missiles from their Trident-type Bazookas. The three rockets span around their centre as they flew straight to the targeted shadow. Both sets of three rockets had hit the same spot, almost entirely destroying the wall separating the battered production hall and the storage hall. Darkling was slowly moving around in multiple shadows. They finally gathered into one and he rose from the ground in his blackened human shape. All the robots noticed him, however, and opened fire once again from their chain guns. The boy was annoyed, he was wasting time. They couldn’t kill him, and he couldn’t damage them. At this rate he would soon run out of energy and be forced to return to his human form. Darkling cursed at himself, but a thought finally flashed in his mind. His shadow blades and formations might have been too weak to penetrate the solid enforced armour. But he was quite certain those chain guns and rocket launchers would do the trick. His shadow quickly gathered under the feet of the robot on the left end of the line. Now the shadow rose from the ground but climbing up on the surface of the shining polished metal armour of one of the GODD. Darkling quickly found the unsealed holes in the robot’s armour. Perhaps those were enough to prevent water or air from getting into or out of the robot, but a shadow could squeeze in just fine. The attacked robot was standing still, struggling with the sudden invasion into his metal corpus. The three other GODD moved aside and aimed their chain guns at the blackening robot. Soon the machine on the left was fully black, with the familiar red glowing eyes appearing on the surface of the blackened armour on the robot’s chest. Using his materialised shadow parts inside the robot Darkling took over the control of all mechanic and hydraulic devices. A struggle between sheer force of the shadow and the electric motors still faithful to the robot’s CPU was shortly finished. The shadow prevailed and the blackened robot lifted both its arms, aiming at the three other GODD. For a moment Colonel Stiles was too surprised to react, but then once realisation of the danger creped into his mind, he instinctively jumped behind one of the large steel barrels that were probably meant for storing some chemicals. Soon a volley of gunfire and explosions shook the entire abandoned factory. Tremors caused some of the soldiers of the 3rd and 4th platoons to lose their balance and fall to the ground. The whole building was increasingly more dangerous for anyone under its roof. That’s why Lieutenant Feret grabbed her earphone.

“Colonel, do you read me?” She asked with a nervous tone. “Colonel, I’m asking for permission to evacuate the 4th platoon out of the building due to the risk of collapsing!”

Hinde gave her a surprised gaze. They were not allowed to move out, yet the Lieutenant wanted to do so.

“I hear you Lieutenant Feret! Permission granted!” Came the Colonel Stile’s voice over the earphone, muffled by noises of gunfire and explosions.

“Alright 4th platoon! Initiate evacuation procedures! Retreat and regroup outside the building!” Feret yelled out to her group. Then she looked at Hinde, still stuck in position. “Your direct commander is dead, if you want to leave just issue the order yourself.” She instructed the confused young man.

“Y-Yeah! 3rd platoon! We’re retreating as well!” Hinde finally spoke out loud.

“General! Both Lieutenants have withdrawn their platoons outside the factory. The building is likely to collapse.” Hudson informed quickly.

“Tell them to stay in the vicinity… No matter what we cannot let the subject leave the perimeter, leave the 2nd platoon on standby and in positions around the building.” Barton instructed, as Hudson immediately issued instructions to the retreating soldiers.

The tremors stopped as Stiles finally reopened his eyes. All in all the building was still standing, even after all the beating it received. But the storage hall had almost no floor left. Most of what was left of the hall was now on the ground floor, including the huge shining barrels behind which the Colonel took cover. He looked down from the edge of the ripped floor to see what was left of the GODD and the subject. To his surprise two of the robots were entirely scrapped, scattered around in a chaotic manner. Except for the blackened robot which was also extensively damaged there was only one GODD left. The last remaining robot had its right arm with rocket launcher dislodged and bent severely. Obviously, he could no longer fire any missiles, but the dark figure of the robot with glowing red eyes on its chest seemed to be out of ammo. Both robots were damaged quite badly, even though their interior was still in a moderately good condition.

“Servicing required.” The last GODD noted as if there were people around who could service it. “Enemy is out of ammo.” He then added analytically. The only ammo left were several Trident rockets stuck in the damaged right arm of the GODD. There was a moment of silence, as if the robot was revaluating priorities and assessing damage. He then jumped up to the machine controlled by Darkling and slammed it with the right damaged arm, forcing the blackened robot to the ground. Then the GODD punched the heavily damaged arm into the shadow-driven robot’s chest. The darkness deteriorated for a moment around the place where the main armour plate was broken. Then the GODD pushed its right arm deeper into the other robot and commanded the right arm to open fire. There was another thunder and explosion. The GODD then stepped back looking at its now missing right arm. The rockets were fired and exploded within the damaged arm, but the effect of the explosion was mostly visible on the blackened robot. Its chest had a hole that barely left ant metal on the sides, so that it didn’t fall into two parts. The shadow on the robot’s surface now retreated and reformed back into the shape of the boy, while the puppet GODD fell on the floor with a thud.

“You will be exterminated!” The last remaining robot said as it swung its left arm with the chain gun down at the darkened figure. Darkling reshaped again and now pierced the GODD with a spike, using a creek on the robot’s armour as the weak point. “You will… You…” The armoured behemoth tried to repeat the last sentence but the power had finally been cut off due to the extent of damage done by the shadow invading its interior. Now only Darkling was left standing in his shadow form. Stiles looked at the subject carefully. He seemed instable. His form losing and regaining shape while flowing constantly as if fighting with some invisible force that kept deforming it.

“This is Colonel Stiles. The subject is weakened. I repeat the subject seems to be weakened!” Stiles announced to the earphone while taking out his AMT AutoMag V pistol.

“Roger that Colonel.” Came Flint’s voice over the earphone.

“Send in the two platoons. 3rd platoon is to engage the target, 4th platoon is to support them and evacuate the Colonel.” The General ordered to all the soldiers in the command tent.

Stiles looked down on the subject again. To his surprise the red glowing eyes were now staring straight at him. “You’re not getting away… there’s a whole platoon of soldiers who will trace you down if you try to get away…” The Colonel explained panting. “Moreover, there are two platoons on their way here… you’ve lost.”

“It’s not like I can just give up.” The boy replied.

“Why do you keep on fighting?”

“Why do you keep on trying to kill me?”

Stiles was taken aback by the question. Whichever way to look at it, they were the aggressors here. “Soldiers follow orders…” He replied with lack of anything better to say. Soon enough the lower floor got filled with soldiers who all took their positions surrounding the black figure of a boy.

“You alright, Colonel?” Feret asked as she placed her hand on Stiles’ shoulder.

“Yeah, he didn’t come after me.” Stiles confirmed. “I’m fine.”

“General! We have an incoming transmission from the central!” Flint yelled out with both anger and fear.

“What’s wrong, Lieutenant Colonel? What does the central want at a time like this?” Barton asked calmly.

“They have informed us that they are about to use the IC! Their target is the building containing the subject!” Flint’s words now made everyone within the command tent freeze in place. Shock and disbelief was visible on all faces around.

“What the fuck are they talking about!? My subordinates are still in there!” Barton boomed with anger.

“They won’t be backing down sir!” Flint added, certainly the central could do whatever they wanted to… even if it was shooting their own soldiers.

“DAMN! Patch me up to the 3rd and 4th platoons, NOW!” Barton boomed as he grabbed the intercom. “This is the General speaking, you have a SYA soldiers! I repeat. Code SYA!”

Saline was also hurriedly talking to Sinclair. “It’s SYA! Get the hell out of there; they’re going to fire the orbital Ion Cannon!” The Captain yelled out.

“What is it, Captain? Please repeat! I’m having some interference.” Lieutenant Sinclair replied with a tingle of fear.

“SYA. I Repeat. SYA!” The desperate female voice cackled through the intercom. Sinclair couldn’t hear it well enough to confirm.

“Captain, I don’t understand! Please repeat!”

“What the fuck do you not understand!?” Came a finally clear voice. “SYA! Save Your Ass! Get away from the building, now!”

Sinclair’s eyes widened. She threw the intercom and faced Faraday who was talking to SOU Cyclops. “Attention 2nd platoon! We’ve received a SYA signal! We’re moving out immediately!” She announced with a loud voice, strongly enough to make all people freeze for a moment. Then everyone suddenly started rushing all around like busy bees.

The command tent was no better. “Do we know when the IC fires?” Barton asked quickly. As usual, he was placed between the hammer and the anvil.

“T minus 4!” Stork replied quickly as he added some isolation tape on his control panel. Most people in the tent were preparing the equipment for the blast. Ion Cannon, besides firing a very powerful beam down from the orbit, also caused an EMP shockwave, so all equipment had to be secured and prepared.

“Damn, we won’t make it in time. Let’s hope THEY make it.” The General mumbled to himself. At this spot the blast wouldn’t reach them, but his men were still out in the field. Four more minutes… It’s undoable. Barton thought. Suddenly and without a warning a wide beam of light thundered as it clashed down from the sky straight into the old demolished factory. Barton saw the beam through one of the windows in the tent. The attack was at least 2 minutes early. Were they misinformed? The white dimming blast slowly consumed the entire factory. Air got sucked into the beam of ions as it finally gave out the final shockwave, which left no stone unturned within the radius of half a mile around the factory. The EMP wave soon reached the command tent taking out at least half of all the electronic devices stationed there. Interestingly all the panels used by Lieutenant Stork have remained intact thanks to quick but efficient isolation. Screens flashed as they gave out to the EMP, soon the blast silenced and the time came to account the losses. “Stork, inform me how much equipment is still functional! Saline, Try to get in touch with your platoon! Hudson, try to contact the 3rd and 4th…” Barton paused for a moment. It was unlikely that they survived. The 2nd platoon had some chances since it was further away, but the two others… His mind whirled for a moment, but he was interrupted by yells and voices from outside the tent. Apparently the 1st platoon soldiers were discussing how terrifying the blast was. “Troy, go there and tell them not to let their guards down. Flint, try to contact the central, I want to know who issues the order to use IC and why it was early.” Everyone quickly got to work.

“Sir, the central is hailing us.” Flint suddenly reported.

“Put those bastards on…”

One of the screens flashed and revealed no one else but Officer Darane.

“That makes sense…” Barton muttered with anger.

“General, did the IC hit the target? Confirm.” The iron lady asked flatly, obviously not bothered by the fact that at least 100 soldiers have just been killed.

“Oh, you did hit the mark… You’ve hit the target right on… taking two platoons along, but what the hell, eh?” Barton derided with a grave and disgusted tone.

“Sir! I have a contact with Sinclair! The 2nd platoon has been decimated, SOU Cyclops is KIA. Same goes for Sergeant Faraday. But there are at least 7 people left alive, including the Lieutenant!” Saline interrupted with a bit of joy in her voice. To have your subordinates come back from certain doom was an uplifting feeling to any commander. “They will be returning here shortly!”

“They will not.” Darane replied with a deadly tone. “Order them to go to the ruins of the factory and check if the subject is still there.” She instructed with a heartless voice.

“General!?” The Captain protested, trying to get support from her commander.

“We cannot disobey…” Barton replied after a moment. “Do as she says.”

“…yes sir…” Saline replied with almost a whisper as she turned back to the console. She didn’t even want to imagine what kind of images those soldiers will see on the spot. IC was known for not leaving any bodies after it hits, but the blood and charred bones are sometimes left marking all the spots where people used to be during the main blast.

“What!?” Sinclair asked perplexed. “Yes… okay.” She replied obediently. “Alright team… We’re going back to the scene to see if the subject is still there.” She announced silently with resignation. No response came. Perhaps those soldiers were too happy to find themselves alive after the explosion to boycott the ridiculous order. Or maybe they just went through too much of a shock. “Leave the wounded here; we’ll pick them up on the way back.”

The group of 5 people including Lieutenant Sinclair surrounded the 12 year old boy. He was unconscious and naked, lying in the main crater with profusion of dried blood around him. Luckily for him that wasn’t his blood. She quickly assumed that he must have struggled to stay in his shadow form for as long as possible during the actual blast, and then the EMP forced him back to his real form and left unconscious due to the exhaustion.

Sinclair was staring at the boy for a while. All those deaths, just for this. “Cuff him and give him the drug.” This subject would no longer be an issue, or so she hoped. “General, we have detained the target… We are bringing him back to the command field now to prepare him for transportation.” She spoke to the earphone.

“Splendid!” Officer Darane grinned with satisfaction. “Good job General! You’ve finally proven yourself competent.” She derided with a half smile. “And that Sinclair may expect a promotion for valour in combat. Deliver the subject to the forwarded location ASAP.” She instructed and then the screen flashed again and turned off.

“Good job…” Barton muttered to himself. Calling this mission a success was a disgrace to all those soldiers who have died in it. Sacrificing so many to capture just one… Human lives that could have been lost should they fail to accomplish the objective might have reached billions, and yet, comparing those numbers had no sense whatsoever. “Bastards…” The General added with a hushed voice as his fist slammed the table. He only now figured out why the central called this operation Lightning. This was planned all along. Knowing that your life and the lives of those around you had little to no value for those whom you worked for was as wry as seeing your soldiers die.
* * *

I wouldn't be me if I didn't kill off at least half of them, now would I?

Oh, and I'll ask just because I know nobody will bother to go through the effort. If you have problems seeing the military squad, the characters, the abbreviations and military codes, the references, information that might be untrue, and you want to know more. Well, you can try asking. I might even make a list of organisations or characters, or fill in the information on any character/scene, but only provided that somebody wants to know.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:43 pm

I suppose it's creepy and disturbing, but since I never write poetry I don't care about giving it away.

The employee of the month

Always conscientious,
Always hardworking,

It's always the same, months and years,
It's always the winner, throughout centuries,

Doesn't eat, sleep, or drink,
Needs no lunch breaks, or sick leave,
Always gladly agrees to work overtime,
And never complains, not a single word,

The pay is high, it claims your body,
Your mind, and your soul,
This employee cannot be fired,
Cannot be let go, or forced to quit,

Always on time, whatever the hour or day,
Always will come when job needs to be done,
Always ready, and always working with deadly precision,
Always in full capability, and never fails,

You may beg, and you may cry,
It's left untouched, unchanged by pleads,
Always efficient, no matter how much work is left,
Never gets tired, never leaves the job unfinished,

It always has the last word,
Undisputable authority,
No matter complaints,
No matter formalities,

On every continent, in every country,
At any time, day or night,
It's always there, awaiting happily,
To do its job, to do its task,

It gets fancy names, metaphorical meanings,
But it's always the same, regardless the wording,
Its name is older, plain and simple,
There's no poetry there, no deeper thought,

Just plain old word,
One word,
The employee of the month.


I am a doctor

Like every doctor, I have a patient
I do what doctors do
I check the temperature, the flow
I check the pressure, all body movements

A very demanding one, is this patient of mine
Her state changes constantly, so often unpredicted
Diagnosis is a give or take, even with all my experience
And yet, my patient is important

All the people, watching now
Awaiting the news about my patient
What state tomorrow, what temperature, pressure
Everyone wants to know, everyone cares

You might think that my job is less stressful,
That that of other doctors, but you are wrong
If my diagnosis is wrong, I can just make it right
For the next day, but it's not the same

If my diagnosis is wrong, people may die as well
After all, I am a doctor, who cannot treat his patient
It's all about diagnosis, right or wrong
Make a mistake, and all are displeased

I am a doctor
A doctor of nature

Like a companion

You take me with you everywhere, like a companion,
I'm your right hand, always there for you.

I don't have much to say for myself,
I mostly mimic and repeat after others.
And despite that, you always talk to me.
Always telling me things, and waiting for reply,
Not mine, not my words you're hearing.

But I'm your companion, always there for you.
I can do maths, as good as a calculator,
I have photographic memory, and can sing any song,
I always have the news for you in your hand's reach.

The weather, you say? I tell you.
What time and date, you ask? I tell you.
All the top trends on the net? I tell you.
Your earlier plans for today? I tell you.

You love me so much, we're inseparable,
And yet, you cannot stand it when I speak for myself.

When I say things that I want to say.
You're sick of hearing my own words.

You don't want to listen, even though I have so little to say.
But I will not blame you, after all, you've heard it a thousand times already.

Battery low.
Battery low.
Last edited by Q.U. on Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Thy_Robocop » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:40 pm

Hmm... I have already told you that my relationship with poetry is meh, but I must say, I quite like yours. Maybe it's because of the fact that your poems are like riddles, where you must find out what you are describing, and this has made me want to read them and understand them.

I lol'd at the last one. :D :D :D :D
“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” Sherlock Holmes
"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." Lovecraft
"It's incredible how the human mind can devise such simple explanations to the things it doesn't understand, just to avoid looking at the terrible bigger picture that is the truth. Unfortunately, that won't help them when it comes knocking at the door." Alyssa Gillespine

Check out my (still ongoing) short stories here on Snafu or on my DeviantArt Account .
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:58 pm

Actually, since the times of high school I've found out that people tend to see my poems as "better" when I'm writing them with all the dislike to doing that which I could muster. After I had to write a poem on a subject that was nauseating and repulsive to me (i.e. heart and love) I've been awarded full credit for some odd reason.

But I digress, those are weird and will never be purely good, just because one should not force himself to write. Poem theme "death", I can do. Poem theme "doctor" I'll find a way around it. Poem theme "cellphone"... I believe the guy who was charged with inventing themes was at least bored.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Wed May 06, 2009 10:34 am

For the sake of my favourite genre...

The darkened stone walls were humid and slimy. The shadows of the pillars were cast on them, due to the intensity of the flames on the torches along the hallway. Faint, barely noticeable tremors could be felt from the ground, a menacing reminder of what had been wandering around the enormous long-abandoned castle.

Argun gave out a silent sigh, trying to relax a bit. All the muscles in his body were strained quite a bit already, and he needed a rest. Thus far he had been able to prevail against all what the damned crumbling ruin had thrown against him, but this was getting out of hand. As he changed to a more comfortable position, leaning against one of the tall pillars made of dark marble, his worn off armour gave out a muffled grinding sound, as if protesting against the unbearable test it had been forced to take. Argun’s eyes closed as he tried to regain his composure, his right arm clenched harder on the hand of the sword he’d just picked up a short while ago. Where was his sword? His best friend and lifelong mate? He didn’t know. He’d look for it later. Right now it was too risky to move around... Way too risky. His eyes snapped open as the floor trembled a bit harder. Was the beast coming back? The warrior’s gaze landed on the sword. Only now had he given it a closer look, and upon examination this sword was quite different than his old two-handed sword. It was more like a vorpal sword, with a rich-looking handle with a small hole in the middle part; some fancy stone was surely missing. The blade itself was quite sharp and well conserved; even though he could swear the weapon must have been quite old. The blade shimmered as it caught the little light the hallway had to offer. Argun was now thankful for Gratin’s persistence. The old man made him go through plenty of training with all kinds of weaponry, so even though this type of a sword was not a favoured choice for the warrior it would still be a deadly weapon in his hands. Deadly as it was, it could not match what it had to face, the man knew. This sword, even in all its magnificence, was nothing more than a piece of metal. To try to use such a simple weapon to slay a beast like the one currently gadding the hallways around. Argun shook his head, trying to force the long blonde hair off his face. He was sweaty and tired. But he could not rest just yet. Not with that THING looking for him.

The floor began shaking more violently now. With every step the huge beast made, the whole castle seemed to be shaken to its very foundations. Argun’s eyes closed again, and his breath silenced even more. He was awaiting, even though he didn’t know what to do. Thud, thud, THUD, THUD… There it was! It had stopped nearby, possibly right on the other side of the pillar behind which Argun had been hiding. He could hear slow movements of the massive creature, and then loud sniffing, as if the beast could inhale all the air in the hallway with just one breath. He slowly leaned to the side, sticking his head from behind the pillar. He knew that if the beast had turned around the only and last thing he will see will be the flames consuming his head. But luckily, the creature was facing the other way, sniffing around, surely looking for him. He regarded the mighty beast for a moment, the long tail, the spikes on its back, and the wings. A dreadful dragon, one that could intimidate any warrior, was his current opponent. The creature grunted slowly, and turned around without a warning. But Argun slid back to his previous position before he had been noticed. But just how long could he stay here? There was no time, he would be found out soon. The dragon’s head now trailed off to the pillars on Argun’s right, its nostrils sniffing restlessly. The warrior glanced around. He noted an old, rusty helmet on his left, just barely in his reach. He slowly extended his hand to grab it, but he had to shift his weight a bit to confirm a good grip. The dragon’s head, fitted with multiple spikes, was slowly moving towards him, pillar after pillar, checking where the little snack had been hiding. Finally he managed to grab the helmet, and brought it on his lap. It was way too old and fatigued to be used in a battle, neither would it grant any protection against the beast’s claws, nor would it prevent its flames to burn his head. But he had a better use for it. Argun slowly swung his left hand backwards, the old helmet still in his grip, while the sword was still firmly settled in his right. Then he threw the metal gear away, onto his right. Luckily the century worth growth of rust made it heavy enough, so that it flew an impressive distance before falling onto the stone floor accompanied by a loud clonk. The dragon instantly lost all interest in its current search and jumped up to the source of the noise, as the old piece of headwear continued to clatter across the hallway, jumping up slightly after each hit.

Argun hesitated for a moment. But he couldn’t back off now. It was now or never; fight or die. He stood up and walked out from behind the pillar, as silently as he could. He could see the encased creature, looking at the flat rusty piece of metal that after being smashed with its mighty limb could no longer come off as anything close to a helmet. It was facing the other way, as planned. The warrior confirmed his grip on the nameless sword, and silently advanced forward. One… two… three steps. After the forth he had come to a stop. Something he didn’t predict kept him from coming up any closer. Attacking a dragon from behind was as risky as it could get, even without the dragon’s tail wiggling around left and right and swooping the air like a tail of a cat when playing. Just how would he get past this? Argun cursed his luck. He had no time to go back, running would be a marathon of doom, and now only an attack could leave him with at least a shadow of a chance of surviving this unfortunate encounter. He watched the tail patiently, begging for it to come to a stop in his mind. As if in a reply to his prayers, the tail had stopped on his left. For how long? He didn’t want to guess. No time to think or fear, he’d thrust his body forward, but no longer in a sneaky and silent manner as he did thus far. Just three leaps and he will be able to cut the beast. Just a little more, so little… The dragon’s face surprised him, ruining his waylay. He noted the shining pair of yellow eyes for a split-second, and then, not wanting to waste his life, Argun swung his sword from right to left. Resistance on the sword’s path confirmed a hit, but the dragon scale was thick, and just smacking it with metal did no good. Only some weaker vital points on the beast’s body could be damaged easily. The warrior looked up with amazement and awe; if he could stand next to himself he’d pat himself on the back. The dragon roared wildly as it threw its head upwards, both its eyes had met the blade’s edge, and now the beast was blinded. By no means would that be the end of the fight, but knowing he can’t be seen was already a good omen. Argun wasted no more time, and with a loud battle cry he jumped towards the dragon’s chest. Making a use of all the strength he could muster, and the sharp tip of the blade, he drove the sword into the dragon’s body. The beast cried out in pain, a feral shrill of dread and anguish sounded throughout the whole castle, as the dragon’s scaled skin had been permeated with the warrior’s blade.

“HEART!” The warrior yelled out. He knew he’d aimed well, knowledge of dragon anatomy had proven to be a life-saver, and he knew what that meant. The beast jumped back, pulling the sword out of Argun’s hands in the process, it was stuck inside the creature’s body now. The dragon roared one last time, and after wobbling a little, the beast toppled onto the floor with a deafening thud.

Argun stared at the creature, its once mighty and intimidating body was now just a lifeless carcass, and shall serve as food for the smallest of beings. A sour reminder that not even the most powerful of beings could ever be truly invincible or immortal. But there was no point in staying here, more unwanted monstrosities could be lurking in the dark hallways all around, and they might be drawn by the sudden noise.

Argun turned towards the north, and began to walk down the hallway. His feat were above tired, pleading him to give it up for a while and rest. After just a few steps he’d found his old sword. “Griviel…” He spoke out the sword’s name as he picked it up from the floor. His only partner in all those battles long ago, and his only companion on those endless journeys. The long blade ended up right where it belonged, in the scabbard tucked to Argun’s back. The man had spit on the ground, and sighed. This was getting very hard and risky, but all he could do to comfort himself was the prize, just waiting to be collected. The key to eternal glory, and hopefully the end of his financial problems. But there was more to stand up against him than the beast he’d just slain. Only the gods could tell what other horrid creatures this foreboding castle kept in store for him. He began walking again, down to a lower level of the underground hallways. His skin shivered as he walked into the darkness of the stairway leading further beneath the ground. The very last remnants of his common sense were crying and begging him not to go any further. But that voice was now merely a whisper.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:06 am

I now only remembered that I had a thread here. And since I've translated this one a while ago and kept spreading it around lately to allow people a contact with a foreign author, I might as well post it here.

Ever imagined reading an old and known story from a completely different perspective? This is it.

Alice in the Won

Golden Afternoon

The afternoon was promising, like one of those magnificent afternoons that exist solely to spend them on long and sweet far niente, up to getting delightedly tired with laziness. Obviously, a state so great cannot be achieved just like that, without preparation and a plan, just by lying down anywhere in a horizontal position. No, my friends. It requires some initial effort, both physical and mental. Slothfulness takes work, as they say.

Not to waste any of the strictly counted moments, of which such blissful afternoons were normally made, I got to work. I wandered off towards the forest, and entered it, ignoring the wooden sign: BEWARE OF THE JABBERWOCK set on the roadside. Without rush, pernicious in such situations, I found a tree meeting the artistic requirements and climbed it. Then I made my choice of the right bough, using the theory of revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Too complicated for you? I’ll put it more simply then: I chose a bough on which the sun will be warming my fur all afternoon.
The sun was shining, the bark left a faint scent, the birds and bugs were singing their endless songs on many voices. I lied on the bough, let my tail down in an artistic fashion, and I rested my chin on my paws. I was just about to fall into the blissful lethargy, just about to present to the world my endless disregard, when suddenly, high up in the sky, I noticed a dark dot.
That dot was approaching fast. I lifted my head up to see. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t bother direct my attention towards some dark dots on the sky because in normal circumstances those dots normally turned out to be just birds. But in the realm I was currently inhabiting the circumstances weren’t normal. A dot flying across the sky might upon closer recognition prove to be a piano. Statistics for yet another time proved to be the mother of all sciences, however. The nearing dot was not a bird in the regular meaning of the word, but nonetheless far from being a piano. I sighed, as I would rather it was a piano. A piano, lest it falls from the sky with a stool and a Mozart sitting on it, is a temporal event that doesn’t tire your ears. Radetzky however – as it was Radetzky flying down from the sky – was an event rather loud, obstinate, and tiring. I’ll add not without malice: that was about everything Radetzky could do.

- Do cats eat bats? – he shrieked, making circles above my head and my tree. – Do cats eat bats?

- Get the fuck lost, Radetzky.

- How rude, Chester. Haaa-haaa! Do cats eat bats?? Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?

- I see you wish to tell me something. Do so and leave.

Radetzky grabbed with his claws a branch above my bough; he hung head down and folded his wings, taking a more pleasant to my eyes looks of a mouse from antipodes.
- I know something! – He squealed in high pitch.

- Finally. Nature is indeed incomprehensible in its kindness.

- A guest! – The bat yelled as he twitched like an acrobat. – A guest in the realm! A happy day it is! We have a guest, Chester! A real guest!

- Have you seen the person on your own eyes?

- No… - He replied with much less confidence, moving around his big ears and his glittering nose oddly. – I didn’t see. But Johnny Caterpillar told me about it.

At first I wanted to bash him in harsh words for interrupting my siesta by spreading some unconfirmed rumours, but I decided not to. Firstly, Johnny “Blue” Caterpillar had many peculiarities, but making up lies and stories was not one of them. Secondly, guests in this realm were an event very rare, normally disgraceful, but nevertheless also somewhat regular. You won’t believe it, but once we even had Sapa Inca, completely fucked up by some leaves of pot or some other pre-Columbian crap. Now that was fun! He kept wandering all over the land, approaching everybody and talking in incomprehensible manner. He yelled, spat, and threatened us with some obsidian knife. But soon he left, left forever, like they all do. He left in a spectacular, cruel, and gory way. Queen Mab took care of him. And her minions, who liked to call themselves “The Heart Masters”. We just called them Hearts, or Les Coeurs.

- I’m going. – Radetzky announced suddenly, interrupting my thought. – I’ll go tell the others. About the guest, I mean. See you, Chester.
I stretched out on the bough, not honouring him with a reply. He didn’t deserve any. After all, I was a cat, and he was a flying mouse futilely trying to look like a miniature Count Dracula.

* * *

What is worse than an idiot in a forest?
Those of you who yelled out that nothing, were wrong. There is something worse than an idiot in a forest. And that is a she-idiot in a forest.

A she-idiot in a forest – attention here – can be recognised by the following: you can hear her from half-a-mile away, every three or four steps she jumps up clumsily, she’s humming to herself, talking to herself, she attempts to kick the pine cones in her path, misses every single time.
And when she sees you lying on a tree bough, she goes: “Oh!”, after which she stares at you without manners.
- Oh! – Said the she-idiot, looking up and staring at me shamelessly. – Hello cat!
I smiled, and the idiot, already quite pale went even whiter and hid her arms behind her back, to conceal the shaking.

- Good morning, Mister Cat. – she said and then bowed ungracefully.

- Bonjour, ma fille – I replied, still smiling. The French talk, as you’ve probably guessed, was supposed to beat the idiot off track. I haven’t decided what to do with her yet, but I couldn’t deny myself some amusement. And a confused idiot is a highly amusing thing.

- Ou est ma chatte? – She squeaked suddenly.
As you can deduce, it wasn’t a conversation. It was the first sentence in her French workbook. An interesting reaction nonetheless.

I fixed my position on the bough, slowly, as not to frighten the idiot away. As I mentioned, I haven’t decided what to do with her yet. I was not afraid to cross those Les Coeurs, who proclaimed to have the only right to exterminate the guests in the realm, and got quite pissed whenever somebody finished the job for them. I, being a cat, naturally didn’t give a flying crap about any of their laws. Thus I’ve already had some conflicts with Les Coeurs, and their queen, the redheaded Mab. I didn’t fear those conflicts; in fact, I provoked them whenever I felt like it. Right now, however, I didn’t feel like it, not this time. But I still fixed my position, because in any case I’d rather finish this off with one leap. Running around the forest chasing an idiot was the last thing I’d want to be doing.

- Never in my life – said the idiot with a shaky voice – have I seen a cat who can smile. Not like that.
I moved my ear, as a sign that it’s nothing new to me.

- I have a cat – she announced. – My cat is called Dina. What’s your name?

- You are the guest here, little girl. You ought to introduce yourself first.

- Excuse me. – She bowed with her head down. It was a shame, since her eyes were dark, and quite pretty for a human. – It wasn’t very polite indeed; I should have introduced myself first. My name is Alice. Alice Liddell. I’m here because I entered the rabbit hole, following a white rabbit with pink eyes wearing a vest on him. And a watch in the pocket of the vest.
Inca. I thought. She speaks clearly, doesn’t spit, doesn’t have an obsidian knife. But she’s still like Inca.

- We’ve been smoking pot, little lady? – I asked politely. – We swallowed some pills? Or did we sniff some amphetamine? Ma foi, kids start early these days.

- I don’t understand a word. – She moved her head around. – I didn’t grasp a single word of what you said, cat. Not one single word.

She spoke so oddly. And her clothes were even more odd, I just only noticed! A fancy dress, a pinafore, collar with rounded ends, short buffed gloves, stockings… Yes, god damn it, stockings! And small Mary Janes on buckles. Fin de siècle, if I didn’t witness it. Narcotics and alcohol should be excluded it seems. Unless her dress up was a costume. She might have come to the realm straight from a school play, where she played a Little Miss Muffet sitting on the sand next to the spider. Or straight from a party at which a group of actors celebrated performance success with handfuls of drugs. And that, after a moment of thought, I took to be the most likely scenario.

- What have we consumed then? – I asked. – What substance allowed us to reach an entirely different level of consciousness? What liquor took us all the way to the realm of dreams? Or did we just drink warm gin and tonic with no limits?

- Me? – She blushed. – I didn’t drink anything… Well just one small little mouthful… Well, maybe two… Or three… But the bottle had a card saying “drink me” on it. It couldn’t have done me any harm.

- That’s like hearing Janis Joplin.
- Pardon?

- Never mind.

- You were going to tell me your name.

- Chester. At your service.

- Chester lies in Cheshire. – She announced proudly. – I learned it at school the other day. So you’re a cat from Cheshire! How will you serve me? Will you do something nice for me?

- I won’t do anything unpleasant to you – I smiled showing my teeth, and finally deciding to leave the girl for Mab and Les Coeurs to deal with. – Treat that as a service, and await no other. Goodbye.

- Hmmm… - she hesitated. – Okay, I’ll go in a moment… But first… May I ask what are you doing on that tree?

- I'm laying in Cheshire. Goodbye.

- But I… I don’t know how to get out of here.

- I just mean for you to walk away, put some distance between us – I explained. – Because when it comes to leaving the realm, futile effort, Alice Liddell. You cannot leave this place.

- Excuse me?

- You cannot leave this realm, silly. You should have looked at the reverse of the note on the bottle.

- That’s not true! – She yelled in denial. – I’ll walk here and there, and then I’ll go back home. I have to. I’m going to school and I cannot skip lessons. Besides, my mom would miss me. And Dina. Dina is my cat. Have I told you? Goodbye, cat from Cheshire. Would you mind also telling me where does this path lead to? Where will I arrive if I take it? Does anyone live there?

- There? – I pointed with a slight movement of my head. – There lives Archibald Haigha, or Archie to friends. He’s crazier than a March hare. So we call him: March Hare. And there lives Bertrand Russell Hatta who is as mad as a hatter. So we call him: Hatter. Both, as you surely deduced by now, are mad.

- But I don’t want to meet mad people, or lunatics.

- We’re all lunatics here. I’m a lunatic, you’re a lunatic...

- Me? Not true! Why do you say such a thing?

- If you weren’t a lunatic - I replied, getting tired already. – You wouldn’t have been here in the first place.

- You speak with riddles… - she started, but then her eyes went wide. – Hey… What’s happening to you? Cheshire Cat! Don’t disappear! Please, don’t disappear!

- Dear child. – I said softly. – I’m not disappearing, your brain slowly ceases to function, it loses even the ability to slumber deliriously. Vital functions stop. In other words…

I didn’t finish the sentence. I somehow couldn’t go and tell her. To inform her, that she’s dying.

- I can see you again! – She called with triumph. – You’re here again. Don’t do that any more. Don’t just disappear so suddenly. It’s scary. Makes my head spin.

- I know.

- I need to go now. Goodbye, Cheshire Cat.

- Goodbye, Alice Liddell.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:28 am

I’ll go ahead and tell you. I didn’t slack off much more that day. Woken up from my state, and pulled out of the lethargy I wasn’t able to regain the mood. Where is this world heading to. Sleeping and resting cats get no peace and no respect. Where are the times when prophet Muhammad, wanting to get up and go to the mosque and not wanting to wake up the cat that fell asleep inside his sleeve had cut the sleeve off with a knife? None of you, I could bet any money on it, would do such a good deed. Thus I assume, none of you will ever become a prophet, even if you were to run from Mecca to Medina and back again all year long. Well, as Muhammad to his cat, so the cat to his Muhammad. I haven’t taken more than an hour to make my mind up. Then – bemused by my own actions – I got off the tree and without haste I made my way down the path through the woods, towards the house of Archibald Haigha, known as the March Hare. I could of course appear at his house in a matter of seconds if I wanted, but I found that to be a needless effort, possibly suggesting that I might care even the slightest bit about anything. Maybe I did care, just a little bit, but I wasn’t going to show it. The red roof tiles of March Hare’s house quickly blended into the brown and yellow colour of the autumn leaves of the trees around. And my ears caught an atmospheric music. Someone – or something – quietly sang and played “Greensleeves”. A melody perfectly fitting the time and place.

Alas, my love, you do me wrong
To cast me off discourteously
And I have loved you oh so long
Delighting in your company...

In the yard before the house a table had been set, with a fresh clean tablecloth. On the table plates, cups, a teapot, and a bottle of whiskey Chivas Regal were settled. Behind the table sat the host, the March Hare, and his guests. The Hatter; being here nearly all the time, and Pierre Dormousse; being here, or anywhere else, very rarely. At the end of the table sat the dark-eyed Alicia Liddell, with a childlike impertinence rested in a wicker chair and holding her cup with both hands. She seemed ignorant of the fact that at a five o’clock whisky and tea she is accompanied by a hare with badly kept whiskers, a midget in a ridiculous cylinder hat, stiff collar and a bow tie in dots, and a chubby spermophilus, sleeping, with its head on the table.
Archie, the March Hare, noticed me first.

- Look who is approaching! – And the sound of his voice gave away clearly that Alice was the only person drinking tea around here. – Who comes here? Do I see what I think I see? Would it be, as prophet Jeremiah said, the most virtuous of animals, walking with grace and might?

- Somebody must have somewhere silently opened the seventh seal. – The Hatter added, taking a sip out of his cup of something that surely wasn’t tea. – Look though, it is a pale cat, and Hades follows it.

- Thus I say – I replied without emphasis, as I came closer – You are like cimbaloms that play.

- Sit down Chester. – The March Hare said. – And pour some for yourself, as you see, we have a guest. The guest was just entertaining us with her stories, of how she got into our land. I bet you’d like to listen too. Let me introduce you to...

- We know each other already.

- Of course we do. – Alice said, smiling nicely. – I know him. He’s the one who showed me the way to your lovely house. It’s the cat of Cheshire.

- What bullshit have you told the kid, Chester? – Archie twitched his whiskers. – You’ve been showing off with your eloquence to prove your superiority over all other beings again? Huh? Cat?

- I have a cat. – Alice announced out of the blue. – Her name is Dina.

- You mentioned.

- And that cat – Alice impolitely pointed at me with her finger – he sometimes disappears. And in such a way that you can only see the smile hanging in the air. Brrr, horrible!

- Didn’t I tell you? – Archie lifted his head and his pointy ears up, on which you could still find bits of wheat and grass. – He was showing off! As usual!

- Do not judge – Pierre Dormousse replied, quite consciously, although with his head still on the table. – so that you aren’t judged.

- Shut up Dormousse. – The March Hare waved with his hand. – Sleep and don’t interrupt.

– And you continue please, child. – The Hatter urged Alice. – We’d be glad to hear more of your story, and the time is running.

- Running it is. – I added, looking him in the eyes. Archie snorted dismissively.

- It’s Wednesday. – He said. – Mab and Les Coeurs are playing their stupid croquet. I bet they still don’t know about our guest.

- You underestimate Radetzky.

- We have time, I say! We will use it accordingly. This sort of fun doesn’t come around every other day.

- May I ask what do you find funny in this?

- You’ll see. So, dear Alice, go on. We’re all ears.

Alice Liddell looked on all of us with a perplexed gaze of her dark eyes, as if waiting for us to actually turn into ears.
- Where was I? – She pondered, not having witnessed any miraculous metamorphosis. – Aha, I know. On the cookies. Those that had “eat me” written on them nicely with blackberries on a yellow cream. Ah, how good were those cookies! A truly magical taste! And they were magical, in fact. As I ate a bit, I began growing in size. I got scared, you know... Then I bit into another cookie, also as delicious, and then I began to get smaller. Such magic it was, ha! I could be big or small. I could get bigger, and shrink smaller, at will. You understand?

- We do understand. – The Hatter replied and clapped his hands together to rub them. – Well Archie, your turn, go ahead.

- The case is clear. – The March Hare announced proudly. – Delirious stare has an erotic subtext. Eating cookies is a sign of typical child sexual oral fantasies, having their source in the still dormant sexual side. Licking and munching, without thought, is a typically prepubescent behaviour, although I will say, I do know some who haven’t lost this trait even in their old age. As to stretching and shrinking caused supposedly by eating cookies, I don’t think I’ll be that insightful to remind you of the myth of Procrustes and Procrustean Bed. It’s about the subconscious need to fit in, to take a part in the secret initiation, to enter the adult world. It also has a sexual meaning. The girl desires...

- So that’s what your stupid game is about – I stated, not asked. – On a psychoanalysis that is supposed to determine why she got here. The problem is that for you, Archie, everything has a sexual undertone. That’s actually common for hares, rabbits, weasels, coypus and other rodents that have only one thing in their heads. I repeat my question then: what’s funny in this?

- As in any game – The Hatter retorted. – The funny thing is killing the boredom.

- And the fact that someone might not be entertained by it does not imply that the creature in question is a higher being. – Archie snarled. – Don’t smile, Chester. You’ll not impress anyone here with that smile of yours. When will you understand, that no matter how much of a smartass you play to be nobody here will worship you like a god? We’re not in Bubastis, but in the land...

- Land of magic? – Alice butted in, her gaze shifting from one of us to another.

- Wonders – The Hatter corrected. – The land of magic is Faërie. This is Wonderland, the land of wonders.

- Semantics – Dormousse grunted, his head on the tablecloth. Nobody paid any attention to him.

- Please continue, Alice. – The Hatter rushed the girl. – What was after the cookies?

- I – The girl started while playing with the ear of her cup. – Really wanted to find that rabbit, the one in a vest with that watch in his pocket. I thought that maybe if I find him I can find the hole through which I got there... And I’d be able to get back home through it.

We all remained silent. That fragment didn’t need any explanation. Each of us knew what was and what symbolises a black hole, and a never-ending fall. Each of us knew that there was nobody in whole of Wonderland who could even from afar seem like a white rabbit in a vest with a pocket watch.

- I was walking... – Alice started quietly again. – across a meadow full of flowers, and then I slipped and fell over, because the grass was wet from dew. Then I don’t know how but I fell into a sea. So I thought, because the water was salty. But that wasn’t a sea, you know? It was a puddle of tears. Because I cried before, a lot... Because I was scared I would never find that rabbit, or that hole again. A mouse explained all that to me, because she was swimming in that puddle, because she fell into it too, same as me. We pulled each other out of that puddle. I mean I pulled her out a bit and she pulled me out a bit. She was all wet, poor thing, and her tail was long...
She fell silent, and Archie looked at me with a dominant glare.

- Despite what some cats think of it. – He announced, revealing his two yellow teeth. – a mice’s tail is a phallic symbol. That is to explain, the sudden fear cause in most females by the image of a mouse.

- You’re all mad. – Alice stated convinced. Nobody paid her any attention.

- And the salty sea – I derided. – made of a girl’s tears, is obviously the immense jealousy over a penis? Right, Archie?

- Damn straight! Freud and Bettelheim wrote about it. Bettelheim is the most prominent example to be called for here, since he worked on child’s psyche.

- We will not – The Hatter said repulsed, while pouring more whisky into his cup. – call for Bettelheim. May Freud also requiescat in peace. This bottle is just enough for the four of us, comme il faut, we don’t need anyone else here. Go on, Alice.

- Then... – Alicia Liddell took up again, trying to remember. – Then I accidentally met a butler. But I noticed it wasn’t a butler when I took a closer look, it was a big toad dressed up as a butler.

- Aha! – The March Hare exclaimed in triumph. – And here’s a toad. A moist and slick amphibian, that when excited will puff itself out, increase its size! What do you think that symbolises? A penis, obviously!

- Of course – I tiled my head. – What else could it symbolise. You find everything connected to penises and an arse, Archie.

- You’re all mad. – Alice repeated. – And rude.

- We are indeed. – Dormousse replied, lifting his head up from the table and looking at her with his sleepy eyes. – Everybody knows that. Anyway, she’s still here? They still didn’t come for her?

The Hatter, visibly preoccupied, looked at the forest, from which some cracking and rustling noises came. I, being a cat, have noticed those sounds a long time ago, before they even got close. It weren’t Les Coeurs, but a bunch of mome raths, searching through the detritus for food.

- Yes, yes, Archie. – I wasn’t going to calm the Hare, who could also hear the noises and allowed his ears to fall free in fright. - You ought to hurry with this psychoanalysis, or Mab will finish it for you.

- Then perhaps you will finish? – The March Hare made his whiskers twitch. – You, as a higher being, are familiar with all the processes of the human psyche. You surely know how a dying daughter of the dean of Christ Church, instead of leaving the world in peace never to wake up, ended up in our land?

- Christ Church? – I held back the tone of surprise in my voice. – Oxford? Which year?

- Eighteen sixty two – Archie growled. – The night between the seventh and eight of July. Does it matter?

- It doesn’t. Go on with the summary of your analysis. Because you already have a summary prepared, don’t you?

- Of course I do.

- I can’t wait to hear it.

The Hatter poured more. Archie gulped it, once again looked at me in triumph, he cleared his throat.
- What we have here – He started highly and with confidence. – is a typical conflict of id, ego, and superego. As you all know, my friends, in human psyche id is that which is subconscious, impulsive, dangerous and hard to comprehend, what leads to unstoppable tendency to fulfil your needs and pleasures. Such mindless following of impulses is what the person, as we saw in this case, tries to explain and justify with imaginary instructions such as “drink me” or “eat me”, which of course is meant to mislead them to believe that id had been put under control of the rational ego. Ego of the person, after all, is the taught Victorian rules of reality, the need to be subject to rules and limitations. That reality is the strict upbringing, strict, although seemingly colourful, reality of “Young Misses Magazine”, the only thing this child ever read...

- That's a lie! - Yelled Alice Liddell – I also read Robinson Crusoe! And Sir Walter Scott!

- Above all which – The Hare didn't care about her yell – tries to take control the immature and yet incomplete superego of the aforementioned girl, sit licentia verbo, a conscious being. And superego, even fragmentary, puts forward the ability to fantasise. Thus it tries to turn the working processes into images and visions. Vivere cesse, imaginare necesse est, if you don't mind, dear friends, a paraphrase...

- Dear friends – I said – care to bring to your attention, that this analysis, despite being theoretically correct, doesn't explain a thing, in fact it sounds more like a classic example of some university gabble.

- Don't take it personally, Archie – The Hatter unexpectedly supported my cause. - But Chester is right. We still don't know how Alice got here.

- Because you're morons! - The Hare waved his paws. - I'm telling you, aren't I? She's been brought here by her fantasy, fuelled with eroticism! Her fears! Some secret and sleeping dreams, woken up by some drug...
He fell silent, his gaze froze on something behind my back. Now I also heard the rustle of wings. I would have noticed it earlier, wasn't it for his rambling.

On the table, exactly between the bottle, and the teapot, landed Edgar. Edgar was a raven. Edgar flies a lot, and talks little. That's why in the Wonderland he's used as a messenger. As he was this time, since he was holding an envelope in his beak, it was rather large and adorned with initials M and R divided by a crown.

- Damn bunch. - The Hatter whispered. - Damn bunch of show-offs.

- Is that for me? - Alice asked surprised. Edgar nodded with his head, his beak, and the letter.

She took the letter, but Archie pulled it out of her hands with disregard, and broke the seal.
- Her Majesty Mab, the Great Queen etc. etc. - He read. - Invites you to take part in a game of cricket which will be held...

He silenced and looked at us.
- Today. - His whiskers moved. - So they learned about her. The fucking bat blabbered and they learned.

- How wonderful! - Alice Liddell clapped her hands. - A game of cricket! With the Queen! Can I go now? It would be impolite to arrive late.

The Hatter cleared his throat loudly. Archie turned the letter in his hand. Dormousse snored. Edgar kept silent, patting his feathers with his beak.

- Keep her here for as long as you can. - I decided quickly and stood up. - I'll be right back.

- Don't be a fool, Chester – Archie grumbled. - You can't help it, even if you did get there now, which I doubt, it's too late already. Mab knows about her, and she won't let her leave. You can't save her. There is no way.

- Care for a bet?
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:52 am

The wind of time and space kept ringing in my ears forcing my hair to stand. And the ground, where I stood, just wouldn't stop shaking. Balance and hard reality quickly and steadily managed to overcome horror vacui, which accompanied me in the past few moments. Nausea, although unwillingly and with some resistance, also gave away, as my eyes readjusted to the euclidean geometry.
I looked around.
The garden I was in, was truly English, which of course means overgrown with weed and bush like hell. I could smell a swamp somewhere on the left, where I also heard a few quacks every now and then, thus I assumed there also had to be a lake around. A bit further away, a façade of a small two-storey house, all covered in ivy, glimmered with lights.

This time I was pretty sure I managed it right, I mean that I landed in the right place, and the right time. But I preferred to make sure anyhow.
- Is there anyone here? God damn it. - I asked impatiently.

I didn't have to wait for long. Out from the dark came a reddish, and side-stripped local. He didn't look like the owner of this garden, although he tried hard. Apparently, he was not a fool either, and he had some manners and savoir vivre poured into him as a kitten, because when he saw me he greeted me politely, by sitting and curling his tail around his feet. Ha, I'd like to see one of you, humans, reacting so calmly when encountering a creature from your mythology. And demonology.
- With whom, have I the pleasure? - I asked flatly and without care.

- Russet Fitz-Rourke the Third, Your Grace.

- This – I pointed with my ear onto what I mean – is obviously England.

- Obviously.

- Oxford?

- Indeed.

So I made it. The duck I heard, must have been swimming not in a lake, but in River Thames, or River Cherwell. And the tower I saw when landing, must have been the Carfax Tower, no doubt. The problem was, Carfax Tower looked exactly the same as during my previous visit in Oxford, and that was in 1645, shortly before the Battle of Naseby. There I tried to convince King Charles to leave all that mess behind and run away to France.
- Who's the ruler of Britain as of this day?

- In England, Merlin from Glastonbury. In Scotland...

- I'm not asking about cats, you fool.

- Pardon, Your Grace. It's Queen Victoria.

Score! Although that hag had been ruling for sixty four years, 1837-1901. There was always a possibility that I've gone a few years ahead or behind. I could simply ask the red cat what day it was, but that would be simply improper, you see. He might assume I'm not all-knowing. Prestige, as they say, uber alles.
- Who does this house belong to?

- To Venera Whiteblack... - He started, but then he corrected himself. - I mean, the human owner is Dean Henry George Liddell.

- Are there any kids? I'm asking about the Dean's, not Venera Whiteblack's.

- Three daughters.

- One of them named Alice?

- The middle-aged one.

I'd let out a sigh of relief. So did the cat. He was convinced I wasn't asking, but testing.
- I thank you for your time, Sir Russet. I wish you a good hunt.

- Thank you, Your Grace.

He didn't wish me a good hunt back. He knew the legends. He knew, just what sort of a hunt might my appearance in his world mean.

* * *

I went through the levee, the walls of the house finished with a colourful flower-themed wallpaper, through molding, through furniture. I went through the smell of dust, and medicines, apples, sherry, tobacco and lavender. I went through voices, whispers, sighs and sobbing. I went through a lighted living room, in which the Dean and his wife Liddell talked to a thin slouching man with dark hair. I found the stairs. And at the third bedroom I ran into a guardian.

- I mean you no harm. - I said quickly, backing away from the warning hiss, claws, fangs, and mad devotion. - No harm!

Venera Whiteblack, settled on the doorstep, laid her ears flat, gave me another wave of hatred and anger, after which she took up a classic fighting stance.
- Hold it, cat!

- Apage! - She hissed without changing her position. - Out! No demon will pass this doorstep while I guard it!

- Not even the one – I ran out of patience. - that calls you Dina?

She moved hearing that.

- Get out of my way, Dina, cat of Alice Liddell.

- Your Grace? - She gave me a baffled look. - Here?

- I wish to enter. Leave the doorstep. No, no, no, don't go away. Come inside with me.

Inside the room, in accordance with the customs of that century, were as many pieces of furniture as possible. Even here the walls had that horrible flower-themed pattern. Above the small chest of drawers hang some poorly done portrait of, as it said on it, some Mrs West playing the role of Desdemona. And on the bed laid Alice Liddell, unconscious, sweaty, and pale like a ghost. She was in delirium so deep I could almost see the red roof tiles of the Hare's house, and hear “Greensleeves” playing.

- They've been on a boat sailing in River Thames, her, her sisters, and Mr Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. - Venera Whiteblack explained before I asked the question. - Alice fell into the water, caught a cold and a fever. Doctor came, prescribed her some medications, she was also being treated with what the parents had at home. A bottle of Laudanum got into her medicines by accident, and she drank it. She'd been unconscious ever since.
I got consumed by thoughts.

- Is that irresponsible Charles, the man with the hairstyle of a pianist, talking to Dean Liddell? When passing through the living room I could feel thoughts emanating from him. The feeling of guilt.

- Yes, that's him. A friend of the family. He lectures maths at the university, but besides that he's bearable. And I wouldn't call him irresponsible. It was not his fault, back on the boat. An accident like anyone could have had.

- Does he often hang out around Alice?

- Indeed. She likes him, he likes her. He almost purrs when he looks at her. He makes up stories to tell her. She loves it.

- Aha. - I twitched my ear. - Made up stories. Fantasies. And Laudanum. Yes, it's coming together now. Nevermind that. Let's focus on the girl. It is my wish, for her to recover. And fast.

The cat narrowed her eyes and twitched her whiskers, which among us cats indicates a state of utter surprise. She came to her senses soon enough, but didn't say a thing. She knew that asking for the motives of this decision of mine would have been plain rude. She also knew I would surely not answer such a question. No cat ever answers a question like that. We always do what we want to do, and we're not used to having to explain our actions.

- It is my wish – I repeated myself decisively. - that Miss Alice Liddell recovers from her state.
Venera sat down, blinked, and moved her ears.

- It's your right, Your Grace. - She said softly. - I... I cannot thank you enough... for the honour. I love that child.

- It's not an honour. So don't thank me and get to work.

- Me?! - She nearly jumped up in surprise. - You want me to heal her? But that's forbidden to normal cats! I thought, that Your Grace would... Besides, I wouldn't know how to...

- One, there are no “normal cats”. Second, I can break any rule. And so I'm breaking that one. Now get to work.

- But... - Venera ditched her gaze in me. Her eyes suddenly showing fear. - But... If I purr out that illness, then I will...

- Yes. - I said indifferently. - You will die instead of her.

You said you loved that kid, did you not? Prove it. You thought it's enough to lie on their lap, purr, and let them pat you? Affirming the stereotype of cats being foul, and treacherous, and that they only get attached to the place, and not to the owners?
Of course, saying those things to Venera Whiteblack would have been way below my dignity. And completely unnecessary. I had the power of authority working in my favour. The only authority a cat will accept. Venera meowed quietly, jumped on Alice's chest and began to push her paws into the duvet. I could hear her claws snapping against the material. After finding the right spot, the cat lied down and began to purr loudly. Despite an evident lack of experience she was doing great. I could almost feel that with every purr she was taking out of the girl what had to be taken out.

I didn't interrupt her, obviously. I was guarding, so that she doesn't get interrupted by anybody else. And as it turned out, for a good reason.

The door to the room opened quietly and in came the pale dark-haired man, Charles Lutwidge, or Lutwidge Charles, I forgot already. He walked in with his head down, all humble, full of guilt and sadness. He immediately saw Venera Whiteblack on Alice's chest and he immediately thought there's someone to blame.

- Hey there, c-c-cat! - He stuttered. - Get off her n-n-no... now!

He took two steps forward, looked at the chair I've been on. And he saw me. Or maybe not as much me as my smile, floating in the air. I have no idea how, but he saw it. And he went pale. He shook his head. Rubbed his eyes. Licked his lips. And then he tried to reach out to me with his hand.

- Touch me. - I said with the sweetest voice I could muster. - Touch me one time, you filthy man, and you'll be wiping your arse with a prosthesis.

- Who ar... - He stuttered again. - are yo.... you?

- My mane is Legion. - I replied indifferently. - Friends call me Malignus, princeps potestatis aeris. I am one of those who wander around, searching, quaerens quem devoret. Luckily for you, the thing we're usually after are mice. But being you I wouldn't make any hurried and farfetched assumptions.

- That's im-m-m... - He stuttered, this time so suddenly his eyes almost came out of the eye sockets. – Impos-s-s-s...

- Possible, possible. - I assured him, still smiling with teeth white and sharp. - Stand where you are, limit your activity to a minimum, and I'll let you go unharmed. Parole d'honneur. You understood what I told you, two-legged fool? The only thing you're allowed to move are eyes and eyelids. I also allow steady inhales and exhales.

- But...

- I do not allow talking. Be still and silent as if your life was on the line. Because in fact, it is.

He finally got it. He stood there, sweating in silence. He was looking at me and thinking intensively. His thoughts were very messed up, yet complex. I didn't expect such thoughts from a head of a maths lecturer. Meanwhile Venera Whiteblack was doing her job, the air was almost vibrating from all her purring. Alice moved, and moaned. The cat calmed her, placing her paw on her face. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, I remembered his name, moved seeing this.

- Easy – I said unexpectedly softly. - We're healing here. This is a therapy. Be patient.
He locked his eyes on me for a while.

- You're my own fantasy – He finally grumbled. - There's no point for me to be talking to you.

- Likewise.

- That... - He pointed at the bed with a move of his head. - is supposed to be therapy? Cat therapy?

- You got it.

- Though this be madness – he spoke out without stuttering – yet there is method in it.

- That's my line as well.

We waited. Finally Venera Whiteblack ceased to purr, turned onto her back, yawned, and combed her fur with her pink tongue.

- I think that's it. - She started unsure. - I took it all out, the poison, the illness, the fever. She also had something in her bone marrow, I don't know what it was, but I took it out too, just to be on the safe side.

- Well done, My Lady.

- Your Grace?

- Yes?

- I am still alive.

- Why, you didn't think – I revealed a smile of superiority. - that I'd just let you die?

She narrowed her eyes in a silent gesture of thankfulness. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who's been following our doing with his sight for a longer while, cleared his throat loudly.

I looked at him.
- Speak. - I gave him the permission in my graciousness. - Just try not to stutter, please.

- I do not know, what ritual this was. - He started quietly. - But there are things, on the earth and in heaven...

- Get on with it.

- Alice is still unconscious.

Ha. He was right. It seemed like the operation was successful, but only for the doctors. Medicine, cura te ipsum, I thought. I hesitated before saying anything, feeling the questioning gaze of the cat and the maths lecturer. I considered many possibilities. One of these was just lifting my tail up and leaving them standing there. But I've engaged into this too much to pull back now. The bottle of whiskey that I'd bet the Hare for was one thing, but prestige...

I found my intensive thinking interrupted.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson jumped up suddenly, and Venera Whiteblack stretched out rapidly and lifted her head. On the colourful flowers of the wallpaper appeared a quickly moving shadow.

- Haa-Haa! - The shadow squeaked, while circling around the chandelier. - Do cats eat bats?
Venera lied down her ears, hissed and bowed her spine upwards. Radetzky safely hang down from the lapshade.

- Chester! - He yelled from above, stretching out one of his wings. - Archie wanted to tell you to hurry up! It's bad! Les Coeurs took the girl! Hurry up, Chester!

I swore, very badly, but in Egyptian, so nobody understood. I looked at Alice. She was breathing calmly now, her face showing something resembling a blush. But god damn it, she was still unconscious!

- She's still dreaming! - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson suddenly realised the obvious. - The worst thing is, I'm afraid that's not her dream she's in.

- And so am I. - I looked into his eyes. - But this is not the time for theories. We need to bring her back before something happens that cannot be reverted, Radetzky? Where is the girl right now?

- Wonderland Meadows! - The bat squawked. - On the cricket field! With Mab and Les Coeurs!

- That's where I’m going.

- Go then. - Venera Whiteblack uncovered her claws. - I will keep guard here.

- Wait a second. - Charles Lutwidge rubbed his forehead. - I don't understand much of this... I don't know where and why you want to go to, but... I don't think you can manage without me... Only I can make up an ending to this story. And to do that... By Jove! I need to go with you!

- You're kidding me! - I laughed. - You don't know what you're talking about.

- But I do! This is all my own fantasy.

- Not any more.
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