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 The Shot Heard 'Round The World

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Corbael
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PostSubject: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:25 pm

Calamity smiled as warmly as a tired, depressed hologram could, ignoring the pain of her lower body being slowly wired into the system. The Gauntlet Recovery Center had officially deemed 3 people ready for release. She was proud of her work on the Gauntlet, and even prouder of her ability to plan ahead for the inevitable trauma it would cause.

From inside the Gauntlet Recovery Center, three individuals walked down the hallway that apparently only they could see and enter. They stood before a large metal door and watched it slide open to reveal a well lit room. Three soft, plushy chairs were set up in a row in front of a large screen. Some basic equipment, a blood bag, a human heart, and a banana were laid out on a low table in front of those chairs.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:31 pm

Hina looked around the room, her eyes adjusting to the bright light, and the temperature gradient. She smiled as she saw the banana.

"Best yellow." She quipped happily, striding forward.

Hina was curious about the screen before her, namely because she was still rather new to the concept. Chairs however, chairs she understood, and this one looked lovely.

She curled up on it with a satisfied chirp, and waited for whatever exciting thing would happen next, absentmindedly peeling her banana .

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:42 pm

Corey ran his hand over the fabric of the chair, admiring how soft it was. God damn he would have loved to play Dark Souls in THIS. Maybe the lumbar support would make up for the pain of continuous failure. He settled down with a satisfied sigh, follow by a short chuckle as he glanced over at Hina. Best yellow indeed. He thought. The heart on the table caught his eye and made his stomach drop. Augmented or not, it felt wrong to eat people.

"If you don't eat that, I will." Zu said, flopping down in her chair and gnawing on the plastic edge of the blood bag.
"Fuck that, I'm starving."

This statement was definitively true up until the point where he held the heart in his hand and felt it beat. Corey didn't have time to express his disgust before the screen flickered to life. Calamity's face appeared, still bearing that warm, slightly pained smile.

"Welcome to Hell, Soldiers. My name is Calamity, second in command to Maxwell Smiles and partial digital being." She began, sounding almost pre-recorded. "You've been through some rough training to get here and it's time to put it to use. You three will be investigating a disturbance in the Factory Spiral. Reports indicate an unusual death and an increase of abnormal beings in the area. Your job will be to investigate and report back with your findings. You can contact me at any time during your mission if you need help or additional supplies. Questions?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:48 pm

Hina's tongue flicked out, tasting the air. She looked bemusedly perplexed. "Ghost?" she asked.

Things that were see-through were one thing, but people that weren't there at all? that was something that Hina wasn't so sure about. She looked over at Corey, seeing his discomfort in the heat distribution of his body.

She leaned out of her chair, and gave him a friendly nudge with her head.

Having made a valiant, if brief, attempt to comfort her friend, she started paying attention to the not-there person again.

Investigation? Hey! Hina loved investigation, there were always so many new things!

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:58 pm

Corey wasn't sure what to say, somewhat distracted by the Hina headbutt, and Zu didn't seem to care at all, so Calamity just nodded slowly and coughed to break the silence.

"Great! Well, I've provided some gear to get you started so. Hang on tight!"
"Hang on tight?" Corey echoed, concern flashing in his eyes.
"Yeah, I forgot to add seatbelts and the transport system is still somewhat...buggy."
"Bugg-eeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE"

Three chairs and a table plummeted through infinite emptiness before landing, hard, in a break room on the 7th floor of the Factory Spiral. Three disgruntled worker ghouls sighed and shuffled out of the room looking somewhat defeated by the very concept of teleporting murderers invading their space.

-----

The space around them was dimly lit and looked as though it hadn't been cleaned in centuries. Broken cookware littered the counters and floors, the sink was full of wadded up cables and wires, and a thick haze of cigarette smoke and smog ghosted around the ceiling. The acrid stench of electric fire and the hollow clanging of metal tools drifted in through the open door.

Calamity's face appeared on a small, badly cracked television next to the sink.

"This is as close as I can get you at the moment. Spatial bullshit. Make your way down a floor or two and look for abnormalities. Good luck!"
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:06 pm

Corey's "EEEEEEEEEEEEEE..." did not end as they landed, but instead trailed off slowly, going from shriek, to whine, to the sort of noise a soprano mouse would make if it were trying to be very quiet.

Hina giggled and re-situated herself, having landed almost entirely upside-down.

"Christ!" Corey said, having finally ceased his noise. "More warning please! Like, ten seconds of warning minimum before we ride the tower of terror."

"Pale." Hina said happily, poking Corey's face.

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:18 pm

Zu's claws were deeply imbedded in the arm rests and she had swallowed the entire blood bag, bag included, on the way down. She wanted to make a snide and angry comment, but the smoke filling her nose reduced her joke to a high-pitched sneeze instead. Zu snatched up the bag of knives, powders, and vials from the table and rubbed her nose absently.

"Fuckin'...Really? Let's go and get this over with, this place smells gross."
"Hey!" A gruff voice called from the doorway. A lanky, half-rotten creature made of flesh and metal stood there glaring at the group. "Break is only 60 seconds. New or not, you should have known that. Now get your asses in gear."
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:26 pm

Corey blinked. "R-right, sorry about that." He said, with what he hoped was a confident smile. "We're on it. Come on then Hina, let's get back to work."

Hina blinked, and tilted her head.

Corey held out a hand, beckoning. "Let's follow the... um..." Corey glanced sheepishly at the ghoul in the doorway. "Let's go."

Hina nodded, and tugged herself up using his entire upper body as ballast. Corey, in a moment of deserved pride, did not fall down this time, and instead, only wobbled.

Now adequately upright, the two strode past the ghoul, Corey giving a little half-salute, and Hina depositing a banana peel on the ghoul's head.

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:37 pm

Zu followed close behind the other two, removing the banana peel from the ghoul's head mere moments after Hina let go of it. She shook her head ad gave a snortof laughter, tossing it over her shoulder carelessly. It landed on the ghoul's head.

The hallway outside was full of tangled wires and scraps of metal. Whirring, hissing, buzzing machines formed row after row of unpredictable tunnels beneath the canopy of cables. It was obvious the ceiling was insanely high, judging by the literal waterfalls of the things. The skeletons of machines and discarded robots hung forlornly from electrical nooses. Everything smelled of steel, burning, and death.

At the far end of the hall, an elevator arrived. What stepped out was more machine than man, and glowed a deep red as if he had a furnace inside of him. The ghoul, having just stormed out of the break room to curse at Hina and Zu specifically, screamed and darted into the forest of dead metal.

"What's his problem?" Zu asked, picking at the piece of plastic stuck in her teeth,
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:43 pm

Corey glanced at the newcomer. "Well that screams mini-boss right out of the gate." He said with a sigh.

Hina had a look on her face somewhere between amazement and desire. "Warm." She told Corey excitedly.

Corey looked at Hina's expression, somewhat perplexed. "Uh, well it does look like it has fire or something in it yeah."

"Taking it." Hina said beginning to stride towards it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:53 pm

"Yeah it kinda does, doesn't it?" Zu nodded, walking casually after Hina in case the thing retaliated. "Jess used to play a lot of video games. If it glows red it's probably explosive or some shit so we should probably be-"
"Don't..." The creature groaned, digging its metal fingers into the white-hot spot on it's chest. "It stung...bit...whatever...I need..."

With one last pained wail, the thing exploded into bits of gore and hot shrapnel.
[Hina makes a more than clean dodge, Zu fails and takes 17 damage, Corey is out of range and safe.]

Zu tried to shield her face, yelping as shard lodged itself into her arm. She ripped the piece from her flesh, teeth clenched in pain and, when she saw that it had almost instantly cauterized itself, anger.

"If you're gonna fucking die, don't make me suffer for it!"
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:58 pm

"Well shit, so much for the mini-boss theory, it's freaking bomb-bastards." Corey said, picking a fleck of...he chose not to think about it, out of his hair. "Hina, you okay?"

Hina was standing in the pile of gore that had previously been a creature, looking extremely irritable. "Goop" She fumed. "Angry."

We'll uh....find you something else warm Hina, it's all good." Corey said, gently tugging her out of the middle of the pile.

Hina sighed, but allowed herself to be led.

"So, now we have a path forward... and an ominously verbal bomb... This is exactly how consipiracy theorists get their roots you know that? Shit like this."

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:06 pm

The elevator screeched violently. Then, it crumpled and was pushed out of the way by a large, eyeless, vaguely reptilian head. It sniffed the air for a moment before swinging around to face them. It's mouth opened to reveal a toothless hole containing little more than a black tongue.

"Well that's pretty anti-climactic." Zu sighed, somewhat disappointed with the lack fo threat the creature appeared to present.

A slimy black spear slid out over the tongue, taking aim at the nearest body - Hina.

"Oh fuck!" Zu scrabbled back instinctively.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:27 pm

As Hina dashed forward, Corey tried desperately to grab her and stop her from charging directly into the mouth of danger, it was like trying to catch the wind.

Within the span of a moment, Hina was upon the monster, her eyes rippling with reptilian aggression. The monster snapped it's jaws, attempting to bite her, but Hina's hand smashed into the roof of the beast's mouth, stunning it for an instant. It was all that she needed.

With a sound like frying eggs, the creature's entire internal structure was frozen in place. Hina  smiled, her fangs fully extended. Then, she ripped the stinger from the monster's throat, her skin rippling and burning with heat. She didn't seem to notice. "Warm." She said. Then with a sigh, "Too warm."

"Jesus Christ no kidding Corey said, dashing forwards, "Put it down!"

Hina tilted her head, but dropped the stinger.

Corey grasped Hina's charred limb gingerly. "Why did you even...oh, right, that's still creepy." He finished, as new muscle and skin rippled up Hina's arm.

"Fine" Hina said, patting Corey on the head.

"...yeah, I guess you are." He said, glancing down at the stinger. "Can you like...wrap that up or something so it doesn't kill us?"

Hina nodded, and the stinger was quickly encased in a layer of what looked like red marble.

"Right, I guess I have to put that in my inventory now huh..." He asked, giving Hina a look that suggested he would really rather not.

She nodded happily.

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:47 pm

The creature tried to clamp down on Hina's arm, clearly startled by the sudden violation of it's internal organs. Despite its best efforts, it instead was filled with horrible cement blood and died with a pitiful gurgle. It slumped back down the elevator shaft with a loud series of echoing metallic clinks and clanks.

Zu was, admittedly, impressed. She leaned over the edge and watched the corpse slink down out of sight.

"Jesus how far down does that go...?"
"All the way." A ghoul sighed, emerging from its hiding place. "Hope you don't need to go anywhere, that's not getting fixed for a while. Damn Furnaces."
"That's not a very creative name."
"Hey, you breathe pure smog until you have to replace your brain with malfunctioning equipment and become a mindless killing machine and try thinking up something fancy for the things that want to speed up the process."
"Fair."

About 20 feet below, another ghoul popped its head out and looked up. They shook their head, muttered about how they weren't dealing with this one, and left.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:53 pm

Corey whistled. "Ok, well that was awesome, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that I would really rather not deal with any more of those, even if Hina can decimate them.

Hina let out an appreciative noise, and gave Corey another friendly headbutt. He wasn't sure if it was a positive thing that he was getting used to that as an actual sign of affection, especially given the horns.

"Ok so now we are left with... well basically a giant hole in the floor."

"Jump?" Hina said with a miniscule shrug.

"Fall damage." Corey muttered.

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:58 pm

"Not for her." Zu snorted. She could just picture Hina hitting the bottom floor with a sickening splat and standing up completely unharmed. "Yo, cybercorpse, is there maybe...a stairway?"

The ghoul flipped her the bird and stormed off. Cybercorpse was not an uncommon insult here, but it didn't make it suck less.

"Friendly." Zu sighed. "I guess we could...I dunno...Wait. Hina, give me red. Lots of red."
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:00 pm

"Waitwaitwai-" Corey spluttered.

"Red!" Hina said happily, and began spouting blood from her tail, soaking the entire area like a morbid version of an out of control fireman's hose.

Corey glared at Zu through a layer of drippy crimson. "You knew this would happen, you knew and you did it anyway."

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:03 pm

Zu raised her hands dramatically and screamed "TWISTY BLOOD SLIDE."

Blood swirled into the elevator shaft, forming a twisty, slick slide as far down as it would go, with occasional platforms at each door. She dove head first down the slide, arriving damp with blood, face down in the entrance hallway of the floor below.

"TWISTY. BLOOD. SLIDE." She yelled again.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:08 pm

Hina made the kind of face one usually only sees on children told that they are going to Disney World, and, after rolling herself into a ball, began to go down the slide in the least reasonable manner possible. She didn't stop at the platform, she was having far too much fun.

"I...really don't want to do this." Corey said to the empty hallway, absentmindedly licking the blood off of his teeth, under his glamor. "I also wish that that didn't taste so good. Jesus I keep forgetting I don't eat normal things anymore." He glanced at the blood slide, and, after putting his head in his hands for a moment, launched himself onto it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:27 pm

Zu sat up straight, catching Corey's arm before he could slip past the platform and pulling Hina back up to their level in a geyser of blood.

"This was a fabulous idea." She purred, blood sinking into her body in an incredibly unnatural way. "Now, where are we suppose to go again?"

This hallway was much like the other one, but the walls were littered with motivational posters, crudely drawn maps, work schedules, and signs reading "IN CASE OF MALFUNCTION, PLAY DEAD OR THEY SEE RED". It was eerily quiet, not even the hum of electricity filling the silence. Occasionally, an odd crackle or quiet scrabbling noise echoed from deep within the grid of machinery. The digital map on the wall indicated that a maintenance stairway led from this floor to the one below (no other floor, just that one), but that it was located somewhere on the opposite side of the floor.

"Huh...Guess we see if we can find this 'disturbance' between here and that oddly specific stairway." Zu muttered, tracing a potential path with one claw.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:34 pm

"Alright, well that seems like a dubiously reasonably plan but I guess it's the best we've got." Corey said, trying in vain to brush the blood off of himself. "Remember to check your corners, motherfuckers are always hiding in the corners."

"Lots fuckers." Hina said with a nod.

Corey glanced at Hina. "Okay I'm gonna need you to elaborate on that one."

"Um... many of..." Hina said, struggling to express herself. "After walls."

Corey glanced at Zu. "Ok, so we should be ready for a fight. let's go down the less obvious path first. There's always interesting stuff on the path you aren't supposed to go first. Gotta get loot."

"Loot!" Hina said happily.

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:42 pm

Zu tapped on the map, indicating the least obvious path. If they went directly to the left and followed the wall, they would hit a circular clearing that had no immediate pathways branching off of it. She tore one of the paper maps off the wall and tried to locate the route on it before striding forward confidently to follow it.

On top of a shattered pillar of electronic equipment, an oddly shaped lump of steel twitched.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:45 pm

Corey chuckled. "I'm gonna regret this decision probably." He said, sounding a lot more cheerful than his sentiment.

"Moving." Hina said, sounding a bit taken aback.

Corey glanced back. "What is?" he asked, a note of concern apparent in his voice.

"Lumpy." Hina said with a shrug.

"Oh that doesn't bode well..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Shot Heard 'Round The World   Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:55 pm

The path was somewhat cluttered with debris. If not for the dim glow of cracked display screens, the less gifted of the group might not have been able to see the way. Every so often a shadow would shift or a loud crunching and sparking sound would make Zu jump, but nothing tried to stop them.

Some of the screens still worked, displaying prompt boxes to start up various machines or programs. Hina, having miserable luck and an insatiable curiosity for all things glowy, would make the mistake of agreeing to the terms and conditions of a "Maintenance Program". All of the machines and lights shut down at once before surging back to life. Several pieces of broken equipment that had been shut off due to damage now turned themselves on and sparked viciously.

Those blessed with infra-red vision would see swarms of red blurry shapes darting about. Anyone with ears would hear the snarling and scraping sounds of claws on metal. A flash of electricity illuminated a bristling lump of steel and red pulpy..."flesh". It bit into the exposed wires of the machine it was nesting in, swallowed them as if they had personally offended it, and turned with an angry wail towards Hina, Zu, and Corey.

"Ah shit." Zu said helpfully.
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