No One Dies Forever

Welcome to Act III.

Bombs threaten Necrotopia, and perhaps Accelletrix.

Zane lives, and the Red Wolf is with him, which means "infections" will continue to happen. Also with him is Rony, and Rony has a plan for distributing voodoo dolls representing Zane's power through the Somosa network around the globe, so that the "infections" won't be "feral" anymore. He promises a world-wide Ravenside Miracle.

Prince is on his way to meet Zane, presumably to bring him back to the Homogenizer after being equipped by Astrid herself of Accelletrix.

And Katie has teamed up with Uncle to save Necrotopia from the bombs. She has made a daring escape from Accelletrix HQ, and is also on her way to meet both Zane and Prince.

The place where fates converge, is the financial district of downtown Manhattan, a few blocks away from Castle Clinton.

Post away, gentlemen.

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Trapturtle's picture

Zane Carter

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Yeah, I'm going to need to make a quick stop. It's personal, I have to go alone. I'll take the truck, if you don't mind.
{This is a bad idea, if Prince is really against me he deserves a chance to explain himself. If things don't go well, I might have to use the axe. I really hope it doesn't come to that.}

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Forge's picture

Jean-Baptiste Rony

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Stop the truck, Pablo.

[Rony nods to Zane, and refrains from asking questions, as Zane indicated it is a personal matter. Somehow Zane knows that Rony already knows much of what is going on. The Somosa men are quiet. They never seem relaxed in the presence of Zane -they act as if he is a mix between a stranger and an actual king, and let their true boss, Rony, deal with him...]

[The truck stops just a few blocks short of the meeting place. Everyone climbs off, and Zane is able to climb back in.]

We'll wait for you here, mon. And remember... if you need me, all you have to do is call my name. The Wolf will guide me to you.

[As he drives away, Zane can see the five Somosa men staring at him in the rear view mirror. The sun is starting to rise, finally, over the city, painting the sky with an ill-looking pinkish palor to the east. No one else is in these streets. They're as empty as OK Corral.]

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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[He reaches the spot where they first met her and he can't help but smile]

{You scared the hell out of me when you first appeared. Its a good thing I'm a pretty terrible shot.} [he laughs]

{I'm glad though... for you. I fit with you in a way. We're still both innocent, good, or trying to be. I don't know what I would have done without you.}

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Forge's picture

Angel

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I'm glad too. It's just... it's so confusing sometimes. Trying to do what is right. Malleus' teachings are very black and white -there's the good guys, and there's the bad guys, done, you know all you need to know. It's simple. It's... comforting, in a way. Makes you feel like things have a purpose and an order and everything good or bad that happens happens for a reason, and you can change things if you can just understand the system. Don't want bad things to happen to you? Then stop making bad choices. Simple. Difficult sometimes, maybe... but simple.

My Prince... my world is not simple at all anymore, since Lucas took over Father Barnabas. Without you I would be so lost. Nothing is black and white anymore -just a grey fog. And then those memories from the future...

[She looks up at the street corner Prince has just referred to, when they met the first time. She laughs.]

You shot me from the van! [her laughter sounds so pleasant, truly] But... I wasn't thinking right. I was a Primal then.... very ugly too, I remember. And naked! [from her tone of voice, she is truly embarrassed about it, too]. It worries me, my Prince. If part of me had accepted the aberration... at least in that horrible version of the future.. then maybe my Faith is not as strong as I'd like to think it is. It is you who keeps me anchored. You show me right from wrong. And when this is all over... there is so much of this world we will experience together. I promise you... we will fly over Rio de Janeiro, jumping off from the statue of El Cristo del Corcovado!

[She is really looking forward to that moment, Prince can tell that clearly through his spiritual connection. He also realizes, although she doesn't say it, that growing up as Barnabas's pupil/virtual daughter Angel was very much raised to need an authority figure telling her what to do, and what is right and what is wrong. She can show a lot of strength and initiative once set on a given path, but she needs someone at the beginning to show the path to her first. That job used to belong to the aged Beggar Father of Europe. Now it's Prince's.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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[Katie pauses for long moments staring between Necrotopia and the red truck.]

Grinner, you ever put that large mouth to good use? Wait. Dammit, supposedly I'm a taken woman, so nevermind. No. What I meant was-

Grinner. We can go home. And hide. And wait for the bombs to find us. Or. Or we can try and find Zane and see what Prince plans. But we really can't stop that. All we can do is watch.

[She looks back to him, then to the red truck gaining distance. Katie sighs and turns the wheel.]

Since there are no other vehicles on the road, time to follow that red truck that's dropping zombies.

Uncle. My original thought was that when the planes are in the air, you can force them to release the bombs without aim over an underpopulated part of the city. Just anywhere that is no Necrotopia, and anywhere that won't give us a casualty list. As much as I want the poetic justice of those idiots bombing themselves, I just want to show Accellatrix we won't be easily wiped.

Can you drop them on a a vacated part of the city? Or do we have to detonate them in base before lift off?

Either way. You know what I want. I can only trust you at this point.

Here's to watching it all collapse in flames guys. Final destination. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Either we finish this now, and go live under the city, or we get to watch our bodies collapse in flames and the assholes win.

[Katie tries to quickly catch up to the red truck.]

Oh, I know. You ever been stoned, Grinner?

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Forge's picture

Ahead of him, Zane can see Angel standing in a corner, in the street. She looks beautiful with her black feathered wings folded down. He knows it's really Prince in there. Both, really.

And in his rear view mirror, he can see an Accelletrix van following him. Before he has time to get worried, he recognizes it is being driven by a woman so impossibly muscular that she couldn't be anyone else but Katie. It has to be her -no one else looks like that. He can even tell she seems to be wearing an XXXL 1UP Super Mario T-Shirt, and her copilot is a ghoul -similar body shape the Downtown Digger- but with an abnormal mouth filled with sharp pointy shark-like teeth, and armed with a cheesy plastic video-camera. He's filming him, from the distance.

The streets are empty. The chaos of Rockefeller Plaza was left behind. No more zombies. No more snipers from Big Sis, no more marines, nor tanks, nor humvees.

Just Prince waiting there in the corner, and Zane will be second to arrive followed by Katie. The spot where they met Angel, in a postapocalyptic world. Zane can see traces of it. In the distance, he can see the fires, and the stakes. The impaled corpses. The reign of Malleus Diabolis, that hasn't just yet come to pass.

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Forge's picture

Grinner gives Katie a smile out of the "I don't know what the fuck is going on" meme's. She realizes that despite his winning attitude, with a body like his and his problems with communication, Grinner is most likely still a virgin, and has absolutely no idea what Katie means the first time.

The second part he understands.

"Follow Zane. They said, at the Cathedral, Zane is the Great Beast. Supposed to fight with the priests to defend us. Says so in the big statue [Katie remembers the statue, inscribed with the quote from Revelations]. Follow him, Katie. Help him. Big job. He will need big help."

The science checks out. Grinner nods, glad, as Katie turns right and begins following the red pickup truck. He grabs his camera again, and resumes his duty as documentarian.

"I'm not a monster, Katie. [says UncleThing] Maybe I'll drop them in Central Park. There's really nowhere else in this island that isn't built upon. The fact remains that it's a coin toss. The bombs aren't armed until the aircraft is over the target zone, so it wouldn't do to mess up the air base -plus we don't want to build Accelletrix's story about Anonymous being cyberterrorists and Big Sis being bioterrorists. You should check the news some time -I realize you've been busy though. Suffice to say, FOX is having a field day whipping the country into a panic frenzy -and the same thing is happening all over the world. Even if all goes well today.. we're still looking at the largest change humanity has ever experienced in its history. Things are gonna get bumpy, and I was against it -remember at first I was the one fighting to keep Zane on a lid. Ahh well.. [his electronic "sigh" sounds like white noise...] I guess I'm getting soft, too. Plus, I figure the new world it's gonna be a freaky place to be, what with everyone sporting extra appendages, and I like freaky so-.."

"Ah, there you are. I can see it through the ghoul's camera. That's Prince standing there, and that's not even his final form. And that's Zane in the pickup truck. Hmm. He's riding alone. Interesting, I thought Rony would stick by him like dirt on nails. Okay girl, go save our Messiah from Judas. Don't be late and buy some milk on the way home."

(Free-play everyone. If things get rowdy, roll and wait -I'll come and rule as soon as possible. Otherwise, chat away among yourselves. You've come far)

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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[Katie turns with a hand to Grinner's chin, caressing him.]

Dear. Tell me. Can your gaia warriors who sniped the area around the Nintendo store do me a big favor? As stupid and silly as it sounds. Can they save Blackjack's life? He's taken a gutshot like I have. But I know damn well from a hundred Wild West movies that he'll be bleeding out for hours in pain.

Can you get one of our medics to stitch him up and send him safetly away from things? I'll owe whoever it takes for that favor. I want him alive and well, above all things.

[Katie laughs to the phone.]

Uncle. There's no way that you can defuse the bombs and let them harmlessly fall to Earth? Maybe I've got a plan. A terribly stupid plan. Let them drop as duds, then have Marieanna recover them. Film it. Film it all. Then we go hand the bombs to the US Government, not Accellatrix, and tell the US "They tried to blow us up. Here. Here's your private sector weapons of mass destruction." and send film of that all across the web. If we can't strike their knives into their own hearts, then at least we can make them look bad. If we can defuse their attack, then hand them back the weapon, we can spin that as superior.

Now stay here. Both of you. Film if you have to, Grinner ready your rifle. But if Prince is planning to do what my Sherlockian brain suspects, I want you to film it all unless they slide to the Shadowside. Then, we drive to Necrotopia.

I'm going to do what I need to do.

[Katie pulls the van close enough to be within talking range of the two men. She scrounges around inside the van for anything that looks like a chair - foregoing that she'll pull rubble from the street, forgoing that she'll hop on the van roof. No matter what, Katie sits there, arms crossed, waiting.]

{Well, I don't know why the hell I'm even here right now. But I do know that I was meant to be here. To film this. This is Zane's game now. Not mine. Prince is convinced he knows what's right, and I'd rather let him see his mistakes and live with them than kill him. So fuck it. I wish I had popcorn.}

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Trapturtle's picture

Zane Carter

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It's good to see you guys, even under the circumstances. First I think we need to get some things out of the way. First of all, Prince, I know you're working with Accelltrix. It was the chopper in the background. The same one that was in the background when I was talking to Astrid.
Katie, since you're here, I assume you've already redirected the bombs.
Prince, I know you lied to get me here, but I'm going to give you a chance to side with us. Either you're with us or you're with the company that tried to bomb civilians and refused to try negotiating peace.

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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[he sighs] I'm here. I'm negotiating. I had to try. I don't want the world to change Zane. Look at this. Look around you. No one is negotiating for peace, but they tried when they could.

What side is "us" Zane? Is it the side that's trying to change everyone? The side that's all under your control? Free will for as long as you say so?

I'm a Free Agent. I never claimed to be less.

They didn't try to bomb civilians. They're trying to stop a war that they didn't start! People started changing because of you Zane! Because you're here! Because you're in the real world! Everyone changed, and they've been trying to protect people here! Sleeping is what's changing them Zane! The spirit inside of you opened up some sort of hole and now there's spirits rushing through here and taking people over!

I'm fighting to save people Zane. I'm trying to make sure that the world can go on and be a place for people to live how they want to live. What are you fighting for Zane? I was willing to die to save this world Zane. Without hesitating, I went up against that fucker!

So what are you fighting for? Are you just trying to save yourself? Or are you just trying to make sure that your side wins? No matter what that means?

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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[Katie stands slowly and spits. Then she slowly flexes her inhuman Alice like arms for effect. Stepping one step forwards, she stops and crosses her arms again.]

I guess I'll add my word in. We're the good, bad, and the ugly right now. I'll take bad if you want ugly.

[Katie whistles and looks up towards the sky, where the sun is readying itself for the sky.] I remember I met you in a van, doing shit jobs for those Americana kids, Prince. Tried to get you hooked up with that Anne girl in the cafe. Now look at you. Body of an angel. I think that Anne girl might be a splattermark somewhere.

And you. I met you right after me and Prince's leader Turtle got eaten. Scared lonely kid. We carried you through hell. Through hell, man. Saved your ass. Then you saved ours. Now you're some goddamned avatar, a walking god.

I'm a humongous brawny freak. Definition of a Bull Dyke. I just need horns. Whatever happened to those three young, stupid kids? You're both such good people... [Katie sighs, looking back and forth between them.]

Alright. Here's my stupid word in.

While you were babbling with Malleus, I was saving orphan prisoners. While you were pissing around with Rony and that end of the world stuff, I marched 200 civilians through enemy lines and got them to safety. Right now I'm working on saving a city from bombs.

[Katie points to the trickle coming out of her waist.] I just took a bullet trying to stop these bombs. I texted you that Blackjack could be dying in the street and you didn't spend a minute to save him. The man saved all three of us. Just went after Zane My people out there should be helping him right now.

But you two are correct. This is about the invasion. Not the petty deals, just the big picture. No single life over the whole. No minor bothers. Just the big deal. It was fucked up the wolf ripped a hole in reality and now we have hundreds dead or mutated facing rehabilitation. Zane's job would be to help the mutants and stop the spirit invasion. Save lives, help the hurt. You could maybe learn to seal the hole itself.

Instead we used bullets. Accellatrix. Somosa. Big Sis. The government. All those crazy death obsessed fucks. Napalm. Bunker bombs. Dead children. Blood everywhere. Not our fault, either, think about it - all that firepower and the emotions in them. They've been itching to do this for years. The wolf was an excuse for blood sacrifice.

You two can keep that. It's yours. End the world. I don't care what either of you do at this point. I'll have no part of this bloodshed nightmare.

If Zane would just turn us all into mutants, we could just get back to our dayjobs and go on with life, or it'd be invasive hell. If Zane sacrificed himself this might all be over. Or Uncle's theory is bullshit and hell would break loose. If that's what you're here to do, Prince, keep in mind we have no idea what will actually happen. Either way would be something.

But this...[Katie grimaces]...this BULLSHIT indecisiveness hurts people. Do something right, or just don't do it.

We're filming, let the world know your choices. Then I'm going to film when they drop the bombs. Then I'll make sure they don't go off or if they do explode, they don't kill anyone. Then I'm going beneath this island to help console a million lost souls. Then I want rid of this bloodshed society.

[Katie steps back, sits down.] So do what you want. Yell at me, call me an idiot. Kill each other. Slide into the Shadowside. What you do, I have no control over. After that, if there's still a world left, I'm going to check in on Blackjack and then I'm going to go help Mara console the mutants. [Katie glares at the spot between the two men.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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{Blood sacrifice....blood sacrifice...} [Katie snaps, suddenly. Patterns align. That slow motion Sherlock voice rises over her memories.]

{Oh dear god. The patterns align. Everything fits. Blood sacrifice. We've been played. We've all been played. Turtle, Zane, everything. To her honor.}

{Turtle, you were the start. The first sacrifice to the blood god of war. Blood for the blood god, skulls for the skull throne. When Turtle was sacrificed, it was enticement to lure the wolf to us. Then we had the wolf. All the deaths were given up in it's name. Those Somosa. The mutants around Papa.}

{The wolf woke up. Got stronger. More powerful. More sentient. We thought nothing of it. Oh dear goddess. We fed it.}

{Everything went big. More deaths. More blood. Hundreds rolled down by bullets. It got bigger, that wolf. Thousands infected. Bigger bombs. Bigger death. Oh dear. Then. Then names. It ate who we considered important. Prince? Rony? Blackjack? How many I don't even know about it? Consumed in sacrifice to the wolf?}

[Her eyes flash over to Zane, almost as if she's hallucinating the wolf form around him. Her brain is fuzzy now, kick back from the LSD and Shrooms and Hash earlier this year. Sight of the dead, sight of the souls. She's been tripping for years. Only, tripping is nothing more than seeing through the veil to the Shadowside. Who is saying that? Me? You? Katie, or-]

{This was a god born in blood. And blood is not just a matter, not just particles. It's the essence of the soul. It's propagation of DNA. To own the blood in sacrifice is to own the soul. Those zombies...the Red Wolf owns their sacrifice.}

[Katie whispers to herself.] Oh my god oh my god-

{This god is older than you, Katie. It's older than time. It's the meaning of the beginning and the end. The point of creation and the return to destruction. One of the Alpha or Omega, one half of the neverending AURYN, Ouroboros eating itself, Jörmungandr risen through Ragnarok- oh shit. Jörmungandr would disguise itself as a colossal cat, or maybe a wolf? But Jörmungandr is venomous, and anyone who fights it will die. Thor will kill it, walk nine paces, and fall dead from the venom.} [Katie holds her swirling head.]

{Am I Thor, is Prince? Is Zane? Will Prince pull Zane away and kill him? Will Zane kill the wolf and then drop dead? Oh no no no. It's the snake consuming itself, the yin and yang, good and evil. Flowing into one another endlessly. Life, death, this side and the shadowside. What point were you Katie, and what point were you the wolf's servant, and are they any different? How do you know I haven't been with you from the start, little girl? I need to stop thinking on this track or I'll go crazy. But aren't you already? Goddammit, I know who I am, and th-}

-ere are no voices in my head! [Katie wobbles, holding her gunshot, and looks at Zane.] We fucked up. We all fucked up. Oh god. Oh god no.

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Forge's picture

Krasnyy Volk

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Shock. Pain.

Then resignation. Resolve. Rebirth.

[Zane can see Prince standing before him, in Angel's body. But superimposed, he can see the winged banshee creature they found here instead, the harpy with claws, standing before him.]

[In the building in front of him, Zane can somehow feel the presence of Primals. They are new Primals. They are waking up for the first time. Their names are Anthony and Linda Chao. Anthony works for Citibank as a junior business analyst, not too far in Greenwich Street. Linda helps her cousin with a laundromat. They refused to leave their home -because they fought for it for many years, so they didn't evacuate when the call came. They hid in their closet while the National Guard swept the streets, dragging all the infected to Castle Clinton. They were not infected then. They were taking precautions, having survived the Avian Flu in Asia. This morning, they wake up in each other's arms, as every morning. Anthony has fur, fangs and claws. Linda has grown extra arms and legs. They scream! It's the hardest wake-up they've ever had in their lives. It's a nightmare! They brace themselves to be killed by each other. But neither attacks. After a few minutes... he mutters "Linda?" and she replies... "Tony?". And they realize their minds were not taken. They start to cry. Eventually, they hug. They feel their whole world has been stolen from them. But they still have each other. And they didn't die. They resolve to start over. But they don't know where.]

[All this, Zane can see, from the building in front of him.]

Some fare better than others. Not everyone likes change. But some need it badly.

[Somosa does. Rony said they welcome a forced re-start. A brutal shake-up where everyone has to wake up like Tony and Linda, having lost everything they considered solid except each other and the will to rebuild.]

Some would rather die, or kill. But the World will not End.

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Forge's picture

Turtle Jim

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Sometimes.... when I would have to wait for a mission, say, just sit and wait for night or something while watching the door of some rich fuck's house.... Uncle and I would talk. Sometimes... he would tell me there is much more out there in the Shadowside than what I've ever seen. He would speak of Gods, Katie.

He would speak of Gods like those you're saying -I don't know shit about mythology- but he would say they are the ultimate winners regardless of who lands on top in all our petty games down here in the real world. He laughed one time when I said if they're so strong howcome they're trapped in the Shadowwside while we lowly peons get to enjoy the real world. He said... "maybe the real world is the Shadowside, and earth is just a bugged zone where the feature to materialize your thoughts is nerfed out." Maybe... it's like a bank, in Monopoly. And they're playing Monopoly out there, beings so powerful we can't even imagine... and we're just the bank giving them coin. I mean, blood or faith, is the same thing, right? All these people all over the world... what are they supposed to believe when they see loved ones turn into monsters? Who are they supposed to put their faith in? Accelletrix is atheist, so... Malleus's Yahweh?

Oh shit, Katie. [Turtle looks at Grinner with the camera] We're about to tell them, aren't we? We're about to tell the world who they're supposed to send those giga-fucking-huge faith checks. It's gonna be the Great Beast, isn't it? The Messiah. The statue in the Plaza of Necrotopia. That video, .... is going to be much more powerful than the bombs no matter what the bombs hit. This video is going to be a bomb. Once it plays all over the world... and tells people what's up with the largest crisis humanity has ever experienced.....

Holy shit, Katie...

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Forge's picture

Angel

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Accelletrix is always painted like the bad guy. Greedy corporation, all it cares about is profit, yadda yadda. I was there in the Clock Tower with Father when the call came. In... the future. I don't know if this played out exactly the same way with Gallardo in this version of the world. But what I heard, was not a greedy corporation looking to make a buck.

They wanted to pay us. They wanted to throw money at us, and give us machines and technology, basically anything and everything we could possibly need to save the people from the beasts. They didn't sound greedy -they sounded desperate. Barnabas said "will you believe in the Lord if we do this?" they said yes. "Will you use your resources to spread the Word of God through the entire world if we save you from this unholy plague?" The answer was "If you can cure the somamorphic rabies, we'll all bow down to any God you want -just save the people."

Save the people. That's all they wanted. We didn't take their money -not more than was needed for basic sustenance and transportation. They gave us armors and weapons. We painted Crosses in them. We won their war, in that future, my Prince. No one... no one hunts beasts like Malleus does. None. This is not false pride, it's a fact. And with the weapons and armor... the monsters didn't stand a chance. We won. But... it was too late to save the people... because everyone simply kept on turning. It never stopped.

Save a group of 10 uninfected people one day... the next morning one of them wakes up feral. Then another, and another, until they all do, until no one's left. Eventually you realize you didn't really save anyone at all.

We never found the "source" in that world.... which is why Barnabas was so excited to see Zane, back in Barcelona... we have to stop this, my Prince.

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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Zane [there's tears in his eyes] I don't... want this. But you know that with you on this side, it just keeps happening. There's no end to it with you here. You were ready to die once before if it meant saving the world.

I don't think dying will save it. But maybe we can try. You just... I need you to trust me.

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Trapturtle's picture

Zane Carter

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I'm just trying to stop this. I tried negotiating with Accelltrix and they shot me down. The problem is if I turn myself in, all the primals I helped go back to being feral. After that Accelltrix and Malleus hunt them down and Big Sis with them. I've found a way to spread my influence. With the Somosas help, I can help everyone who transforms.

Katie is right. We can't just stand around here talking. I'm going to Necrotopia to help the people there. You can come with me or not.

Prince, you can give a message to Accelltrix. If they call off Malleus and allow the Sisterhood to rehabilitate the primals, I'll turn myself in. I'd like to believe it's still not too late to stop this.

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Markus "Prince" Crown

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Then don't walk away! Stay here!

[he calls up astrid]

Astrid! I've found an option! HE'll come peacefully IF you let the Sisterhood take care of the people that have changed! They're one of the best resources to deal with this sort of issue! And he'll come peacefully! And call of Malleus so they don't use lethal force. We need to get the primals out of occupied areas, but not to kill them. Agreed? [he has the phone on speaker]

Astrid! Do you agree?! I can get him there right away if you agree!

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Astrid

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The Sisterhood... [comes the voice from the speaker -Astrid's voice] is currently pounding at our Headquarters -I thought you may have noticed -then again it was an easy detail to miss wasn't it [her sigh is audible despite the background noise of the helicopter engine]... and here I thought you would not go soft, like Blackjack...

[there is a long pause...]

Merde [she mutters under her breath]. Even if I agree, Prince, right now you are... how-do-you-say, saluant avec quelqu'un d'autre chapeau -making bows with a borrowed hat? You understand? You should not speak for Big Sis anymore than I should speak for Malleus. You have to understand: it's not like they are delivering a pizza. Knights and Deacons have arrived from all over the world, and are being briefed at Mitchel Air Force as we speak -that's where I'm headed. We're not even going to fly them in, they're going TSR -that's how bad the situation is. But forget all that: what matters is the DoD! They have real fucking power, unlike the little backyard conspiracy games that bit players like Somosa or Big Sis like to play, as if the entire world revolved only around their petty historical grievances. You think it's me who wants a bomb in Manhattan? It's the United fucking States Army who's going to do it because they are convinced that's where the "bioterrorists" live. If Zane had gone into the Homogenizer I could have turned around and said to the Joint Chiefs, hey, there's no need for bombs anymore -the source of the somamorphic rabies has been dealt with, so take it easy and, say, subcontract mop-up operations to more specialized players, such as Malleus, who can operate more discreetly using our equipment and with less collateral damage. But that option is no longer on the table, now is there? It was taken off the table the moment stupid Blackjack let Zane go, and the "bioterrorists" started shooting at american soldiers in the heart of midtown Manhattan -do you understand? Merde I hope his gut never heals and he stays in pain in the medical unit forever shitting through a colostomy bag. Well, not really, but merde! I cannot stand wimpy men who go limp right when it counts.

So back to you, Free Agent. You can wipe your tears like the big boy slash girl you are, and do what you know needs to be done, or you can drag this out some more. You want me to agree to put my neck on the line with the DoD and beg them to cancel the bunker buster, while the clawed freaks whose home I'm saving are busy trying to break mine? Want me to be the bigger person? Well guess what: fine! You wanted a yes, you got it BUT I need to hear that promise from the lips of Marianna, not from your lips. And Marianna of course will not give you that unless Malleus is out of the equation, and I don't see how anything short of Yahweh himself appearing in a burning bush before Lucas Gallardo can hit the brakes on that train, now. You have to understand: Malleus doesn't report to Accelletrix. I don't give them orders -they didn't even want payment! They're doing what they're doing because of their bullshit mythological beliefs, which I don't mind at all as long as they clean up my city and save all the people from the silly creepy beasts. So good luck convincing them to disregard their entire body of prophecy, shrug and just go home.

Lastly, you need to do all this before 30 minutes or so; the airplanes will be airborne anytime. And no, don't worry about UncleThing. We know he's in our system and we're working to flush him out. Failing that, we have experts coming in to exorcise annoying ghosts-in-the-machine.

Now take me off speaker, because there's something I want to say to your ears only, Prince.

[Assuming Prince does take Astrid off speaker -unlike with Blackjack, she can tell if he does- Astrid says the following to Prince]. Prince, the TSR you're carrying works both ways. I could have a squadron magically blink at your location right now, -right this second- and do the dirty work that you don't have the heart to do. Not balls, heart. I get it. Listen, I get it: it's hard to hit a friend, and you just don't want to be the one who takes Zane down. It's hard. So let us do it for you, then. Let us be the bad guys instead of you, eh? My men will even beat you if you want, to make you look like you tried. Or make you feel like you tried -which is the more important part, am I wrong? Don't answer. Don't answer.... just hang up the phone... and I will understand. You did your part finding Zane -let us take it from here. You can save the whole world right now, Prince, the whole world, you can end the Plague right now if you just press your thumb on the little red button and hang up the phone. The burden is heavy on your shoulders. Think of your family in Hawaii. How long until one of them comes with the Fever? Please... let us take it from here... rest... and then we rebuild the world together, yes?

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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[Kate turns back to Grinner.] Can you call off all Big Sis attacks? Tell Mariranna Accell will back off if we back off, and only if they hear it from Marieanne's lips.

Except Malleus is off the hook like a rabid dog.

[She turns back to Prince.] If they'll let Zane rehabilitate and clean up this mess we'll pull all forces back towards Necrotopia.

[Katie pulls her seat up and steps towards the van.]

Well that's what I needed to know. Blackjack's safe. You two are going to kill each other. UncleThing won't stop the bombs, so we need another plan. Nice seeing you two. Enjoy spilling blood for the blood god, and let me know how it all turns out. Sucking Accell's cock or sucking the Red Wolf's cock. Well you two love birds, I'm off to try and save Necrotopia again. I'll be busy sucking Marieanne's cock.

[Katie checks on Grinner and the Uncle phone.]

(The fact you picked that picture for Astrid made me chortle. Chortle damn you!)

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Jack of Spades's picture

I beleive! I've got the bp for this and a lot of agility!
Rolled 2d20. Result: 8, 18 = 26.

Markus "Prince" Crown

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[he hangs up the phone without saying more to Astrid. And he tries to knock out zane with the Tazer weapon they gave him. He has to move, he has to do what's best. And he can't just... let them do it for him. He knows what's right.]

I'm sorry. The needs of the many... outweigh the needs of the few.

(Boost that 8. Boost it! Prince is trying his damnedest to take him down! I think if he has 13 and I have 11, that I should need a 13 to hit him. So that's 5 BP. I'll spend as needed to get that hit, if possible. Hell, I'll hit him with a margin of 2 to make it an even 15 rolled. So that's 7BP minimum I'll spend. I don't know if I can add to damage, but I will if it will take him down.)

[he lunges, thrusting the weapon with all the speed and faith he has. He doesn't believe in God, but he believes in right. He believes in himself. In humanity. And he doesn't want to see it vanish from this earth.]

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Katie Hensmith

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[Katie leans into the van and talks to the phone.]

Uncle, Grinner. Can our people stream this? Here's what I want you to do. Feed this sequence of what Prince is doing.. stream it to every Somosa you can reach. I know we're not...friends with them exactly. But I think they might like to see what Prince is doing to Rony's mighty god walker.

{I wonder what happened to Rony. Did the wolf eat him in the Shadowside? Zane hasn't mentioned him, but I know the Somosa seemed to welcome him. Hmmm.}

After you feed this to the Somosa, ready to start streaming everything we've captured since the Nintendo store. If Accell's gonna slap our hands out of the Stop-the-Bombs Cookie Jar, we'll take a shit in their bed.

[Katie turns and carefully watches what Prince is doing, and Zane's reaction.]

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Forge's picture

"Katie, I'm sensing a disturbance in the force and-"

UncleThing doesn't have time to finish his sentence: suddenly an arc of electricity bursts out of something Prince was carrying in his pocket and creates a blue-glowing goddamned portal that looks as if it came out of Nikola Tesla's wet dreams. Through the Portal Katie sees a room filled with green glowing vats -but more importantly out burst six Accelletrix agents wielding rifles similar to the KrV-800 design she remembered and loved, and they all start shouting "EVERYBODY DOWN! EVERYBODY DOWN!" and wielding their weapons and gaining ground exactly as if they were bank robbers.

Exactly at the same time, one of the doors of the building behind Zane bursts open too, and out of a sick-looking miasma of dark shadows, black leaves and swirling ivy suddenly emerges Rony, and his five Somosa men wielding AK-47s -having just used their Fe Nwa Bo skill to travel through the Shadowside with the pin-point accuracy only Rony has, -which he proved before appearing in the middle of the Library of Ravenside Manor to steal Papa's Axe.

"Shoot the pigs" commands Rony, and the Somosa -not the Accelletrix agents- are the first to open fire.

While this is happening, Katie sees Angel suddenly try to strike Zane with some small device in his hand... does it hit?

(The Math here is amazing, just bear with me: it's a DEX v DEX call, and both Prince and Zane happen to have the same DEX of 12 -Prince is a 4 + 8 and Zane is a 5 + 7. Even chances, which means the roll needed is 11 or more. I'd consider both a 10 and an 11 as "draw", and I would only rule Prince losing on rolls of 9 or less, and winning on rolls of 12 or more. An 8 was rolled, so Prince is 4 points under "win" condition. If he uses his BP, it's only fair for Zane to use his BP also, isn't it? Both are players, and unlike NPCs, the PCs are the only ones who have the privilege of using BPs. So Zane could counter Prince's 4 BPs with 4 BPs of his own, couldn't he? Well, in that case Prince could always use more than 4 BPs -just like in a bidding war. He has 19 to spare and is probably willing to spend them all. Well, guess what? Zane has 15 to spare and is probably willing to spend them all too. You see this?? Prince starts at a minus 4, and adds 19 to it, ending up at 15. Zane starts at 0 and adds 15 to it, ending up at frigging 15 ALSO. LOL! In other words, if both Prince and Zane spend every single point they have, the roll it's still an 11, and I still rule it a draw. Holy Mackerel, dice are taking us on a ride, here, gentlemen. It's what usually happens when we've respected them all along. This is how the dice gods reward us. So let's do this instead: )

Zane is able to catch Prince's hand with his own, and sees the miniature device Prince was trying to touch his skin with. It's a Mini-Zapper -Zane saw some of the orderlies using these at the Zapper way back then. It's not a weapon that hurts people, nor causes damage. It simply knocks people out, instantly, and on contact. If the pointy end of the device even grazes his skin, Zane will go limp like a sack of potatoes.

It is not the only weapon Zane has ever heard of that doesn't need to overcome physical resistance to be effective. The other weapon that can do that... the other weapon that "wins" just by merely "touching" the opponent... is the one Zane has in his other hand. The Axe of Herod.

(And that's how I ruled it, gentlemen. It was a toughie. After a lot of consideration, my decision is to take only 3 BPs from Prince, instead of taking every single BP from both Prince and Zane, and ruling it a draw. Zane, it's your turn to act in this round. And from now on, we're instituting a new rule: No BPs can be used on a PvP. Only the cold, cold dice, will decide our fate in direct PvPs, that is, in situation when either of the two players could roll and none should be penalized for initiative nor lack thereof).

(Zane, if you decide to hit Prince, it'll be the same roll on your end. 10 or 11 for a draw, 9 or less for losing, 12 or more for winning. If you win and use the Axe of Herod, no STR roll is required -it automatically wins and Prince is disconnected from Angel. If you lose, Prince automatically hits you with the the mini zapper and you fall limp to the ground. Also next round will determine how does the Accelletrix vs Somosa fight ends up... likely after Rony acts... now go forth, gentlemen!)

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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[Katie leaps into the van and makes sure Grinner is filming, keeping low, and not aiming his rifle. She starts the engine.]

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Forge's picture

Grinner has his cellphone out since Katie had asked him originally to contact Marianna, to help Blackjack, and to stream the fight to Somosa. He's feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but he adores Katie -she has that effect in people, and noticed it with Thomas the Mantis, too, and the orphan children, and Mateo. "I can call her? [he offers] ask to get Blackjack out? What is 'streaming'?"

But apparently Somosa already knows what it needed to know -or at least Rony and his men did, in the short term.

"As I was saying... [continues UncleThing] there is a disturbance in the force. I'm sniffing multiple TSR blips by Accelletrix happening.... shit, happening all over the city. I don't know what this is, Katie. It's a big mobilization. Suddenly they're covering the map..."

Katie starts the van -Grinner is still filming. It will be a KICKASS Vice documentary.

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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You didn't hear what I heard Uncle. Malleus is being portalled in all around the city. Tell Marieanna to pull back NOW. We have agents of god ALL OVER THE FUCKING CITY. Here to clean us off the map. Those bombs are the LEAST of our problems now. Uncle, can you tell them to leak all footage and stream what we've got now?

Grinner. Blackjack got saved by Accell. Call Marieanna and tell her three things: Tell her Malleus is all over the city now. Tell her that Astrid will stop the bombs if we pull back but ONLY if Marieanne calls herself. And Prince/Angel has declared war against anything not human, and can be considered an enemy of Big Sis until further notice. I'm relying on you Grinner. You're my best man until HQ reclaims you. Do your best job.

Uncle, you still like loud annoying music? I know I love loud annoying music. First sing of chases and danger in the city, blare some Bonnie Tayler I Need a Hero. Ok?

For now we drive.

[Katie is waiting, engine ready, for whatever happens next.]

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Jack of Spades's picture

Presto the hell out of that axe! I assume I'll need a reaction roll to replace the axe with air. I'll spend my BP to see it through.
Rolled 2d20. Result: 3, 3 = 6.

Markus "Prince" Crown

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{Shit! The axe!}

{Think think think! HE doesn't have that axe! It's gone!}

[He focuses, remembering how he can make things move. HE needs to get that axe away from Zane, and leave him with nothing.]

(Presto time! I'm spending my BP to presto that axe next! I assume that I'll need a reaction roll to do do that, and I'll spend a pile of BP to do that if I have to. And then I'll spend it to use Presto. I'm planning a retreat at the next opportunity.)

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Trapturtle's picture

Roll to Attack
Rolled 1d20. Result: 11 = 11.

Zane Carter

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Sorry, but you leave me with no choice.
{Zane puts 5 points into primal, and swings at Prince with the axe.}

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DarkMoonINC's picture

(Edge of my seat guys. I love you both. And this shit is pure GOLD.)

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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(also, full defense. I'm not trying to counter attack from Zane's Attack. That should give me more defense for this.)

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