Phenom or...?

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Phenom or...?


Post by Scripture » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:14 am

In a lounge adjacent to his laboratory, a scientist relaxes on a large sectional couch, watching in high definition a recording from the first-person perspective of a fight between what looks to be a shirtless, sword-bearing man and, when a stray limb flashes into sight, a man covered in some sort of strange, alien armor, all twisting designs in black-and-white.

“It has been a while since I watched this,” the scientist murmurs, squinting through his drying contacts before reaching to an end-table and grabbing his lens-washing case. Popping each lens out of his eye – watching the information skimming across their built in heads-up-display blur from view – and placing it into their proper receptacle, the device makes a sound of pressurized water entering a container, and then begins to emit a light humming. He replaces the case and put on his glasses in the same motion, and then looks back at the screen, not bothering to boot up the software in the frames of his spectacles. He simply watches.

Presently on the screen is a man who takes the visage of a Scarface or simply a very torn-up schizophrenic: on one side of his body is the body that had been present the duration of the battle, but on the other, finally visible beneath a strange green bioluminescence, is a body that had seemingly spent a great deal of time on the receiving end of some particularly fiery assaults by a particularly vampiric individual. Charred up and down, and heavily scarred, the scientist smirks at the image, pleased with the dichotomy it presented. He looks like that, he thought, and he still goes on to absolutely demolish my work.

From there it is the motions of an old movie: the hurling of that broadsword, the legendary Death Sentence, the impaling of his first truly meaningful cybernetic project , and then the utter annihilation of the surrounding area in an enormous, Spirit Bomb-esque display of plasma control that fills the scientist, the creator, with a wry sense of pride, because he has moved on from those times, has had many, many more projects involving man and machine and the fine line between them, and at this very juncture, now, in time, takes to his cell-phone to call one up. He has watched that embarrassing performance for the last time – has let his name be slandered by that Scripture project for far, far too long– and feels that now, particularly this late at night, a time that would be agreeable to his call’s recipient, is a time to see if he can’t right some of the wrongs his creations have encountered in their time. The call goes through, and he sighs wistfully as his phone hums in his ear.

--- --- ---

Through the oven-winds of the desert a signal invisibly travels, setting off the satellite phone of a one Jacob Shahrer. Elbow-deep in the workings of an exceedingly tall suit of armor, he hears the reggae of his ringtone and the accompanying vibrations send it skittering across his work-table. Cursing, he drops the connections he has been carefully manipulating in the exposed inner-workings of the suit and jogs over to his work-bench, grabbing his phone in haste and greasing the bottom of its touch-screen with a blackened finger as he answers the call.

“Jacob?” comes a familiar voice over the connection. “Jacob, are you there?”

Clearing his throat, he says, “I am indeed,” and, having not looked at the picture his phone displayed for the call in his haste, asks, “And this would be?”

“Oh, Jacob, Jacob, Jacob,” says the voice, and now Jacob feels a tension crawl up the muscles in his back. “You know who I am, Jacob.”

Frowning, Jacob replies, “Well, then, actually…” He’s placed the voice, and now the same sensation that was crawling up his back has turned into a hot rush of blood to his face. ****, he thinks. ****. “Yeah,” Jacob says. “Yeah, I do know who this is.”

“Perfect! Well then my good man, I have a proposition for you, and by proposition what I really mean is I have a request for you, something that would make us, ah, even-steven in regards to a few favors I did for you in the not-so-distant past.” His caller’s tone is nauseatingly arrogant now, and Jacob longs for a place in the world where his phone would never ring. Even the phone never really belonged to him, though, thinking about it. “You do remember those favors, right, Jacob? How I went far, far out of my way to save you so many years ago?”

Jacob snorts and swallows, spits. “Yeah.” He pulls a swiveling chair over and slides onto it, sliding himself back against a table of assorted parts and instruments, and stares at the exposed innards of his suit of armor.

“Ah, as clipped as ever,” says the scientist, clicking his teeth over the line in delight. “Well then, listen up, because it’s time we put your hardware to the test.”

--- --- ---

In the shifting dunes of this endless desert there is the sound of the wind and then the sound of something cruising the dunes, the sound of thrusters firing off intermittently to correct a flawed trajectory or simply to blast off extravagantly from a sloped face: one moment there is an explosion of sand as something metallic touches down, something like the sound of a supercharged dune-truck, and then the bright flash of embedded thrusters can be seen, and something blurred takes off from the middle of the disturbance and the wind swoops by and moves all the particles of sand off to the side, off and away as that blurred shape leaps from dune to dune. At length it comes to a halt in one of its large depressions, and as the sand clears reveals its shape to be that of a large mechanical humanoid, exceeding nine feet and composed of alloys colored in bright, speckled oranges and deep, engulfing blacks, fading from the former to the latter from back to front. It stands up from a crouch as the sand washes off its surface, softly hissing off of everything and itself, and then removes its legs, buried to the knee, from the engulfing crater in which it landed. Inside, Jake Shahrer is covered in sweat, mad with it already, as he consults his global positioning system.

“Should be…hmmm…should be…aha…” he mutters to himself, scanning the desolate environment. “Riiiiight…there!” He says, and crouches as the jets on his back fire up, at first simply lighting up and then producing actual thrust, which itself carries him up, up, up and, arcing, over the landscape of this desert and its shifting geography. He is not looking for a particular dune in his search, but rather a series of structures of which he received pictures from his contractor. In the pictures on his greased touch-screen it looked like a city in which the builders had carefully mapped out the locations of the buildings they were to construct, crafted them carefully from iron and concrete, and then abruptly packed up and left, leaving their half-finished works to rot in the sun, slabs weighing down metal supports so they warped like an old spine, curving down as if in wanting of the Earth from which they came.

And when he comes upon the place it is the experience of seeing a place first in a picture and then for yourself. Shrouded in the blowing sands but, for handfuls of minutes, clear to him. From within his iron shroud he reflects as he stands at the outskirts of the doomed settling that it is better to stand in a place and absorb the unique vibrations of it than to project yourself there from the pixels of a picture beamed from a satellite.

OoC: We have an unwilling contract-killer on our hands here. He's after Phenom - whoever he chooses to bring to the table, if -if - if he feels like coming to the table. Failing Phenom, I would gladly open to this up to any and all takers, FFA-style.

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Post by Scripture » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:26 am

(OoC: This is probably the equivalent of ****ting on my own topic, but I have been kicking this around, and I figure I might as well cast it off into the silence abyss of this topic, since Phenom has disappeared completely, along with any third party interest in what is transpiring herein. So why not riff on what I started?/OoC)

Jacob approaches the doomed city, his eye trained on the satellite map projected into the HUD of his armor, seeing no other movement in a mile-long radius around him. The feet of his armor walk on top of the sand, perturbed neither by the unevenness of the terrain nor its nature for shifting under the human foot. His walking brings the landscape into wider relief around him, and with the blessing of his map he strides confidently past the first set of abandoned structures before pausing in his movement, turning at the hips to squint questionably at the building he has passed on his right. Swinging his body around inside the machine is fluid, and he approaches the structure with a furrowed brow. In the spirit of isometrics he places a tentative hand to the rusted beam at this particular corner of the structure, pushes lightly, then with some assertion, the mechanics of his armor aiding his suggestion of human strength, hinting at something far greater…and then, squatting back on his legs, his one hand now firmly placed against the beam, he pushes.

It is important to note here what is occurring: Jacob is situated in the chest cavity of his armor. It is so big as to dwarf him, such that his legs occupy the thighs of the machine, and his hands remain in the cockpit itself, operating the arms of the robot through input devices his hands are slung through. A movement of his arm is translated into the movement of the armor, and the feedback has been tuned over many years. So by placing a hand on the structure Jacob is not directly placing a hand on it, but instead by proxy of his armor’s hand.

The beam at first flexes, gently, and then snaps completely, throwing a flurry of rust into the air as Jacob looks up, idly, and sees the repercussions of his actions send a shudder through the structure before it begins leaning heavily in his direction. Seeing an opening, his ignites the thrusters on his back in synchrony with the jets in his robot’s feet, and takes off hurtling through the opening created at the other end of the structure’s base by its falling. Well clear of the structure, he spins in the air – a small movement within the suit multiplied into a lightning-fast reaction without – and views the destruction as it smashes into one of its peers, wracked with rusted scoliosis, and brings them both to the sandy earth below, kicking up in their wake enormous volumes of sand soon dispersed on the winds. Hovering above the scene and outside the city’s limits, he enjoys the placid feeling of flying four stories off the ground in the middle of nowhere, bobbing in desert gales, until a dot appears on his satellite map at the opposite end of the area, followed quickly by a zoom-in box revealing a man dressed in what would appear to be a dark navy suit, walking with all the composure one can given the circumstances.

On the zoom, the man’s mouth moves. A voice through his armor’s phone-system: “Greetings, Jacob. I had a hunch I might find you here.”

“****,” Jacob says, unaware he has entered into a phone-call he did not hear ring and certainly did not voluntarily answer.

“What was that, Jacob?” the voice says.

“I mean,” Jacob says, and then, “I mean, what are you doing here? Gideon told me—”

“Oh, I bet Gideon says a lot of things, doesn’t he, Jacob?” The voice coos. “Like promises about the quality of his work, how it won’t go haywire in five years and explode while you’re sitting on the couch…or how what he’s doing has nothing to do with any Singularity you’ve ever heard about…or, and this one’s my favorite, and the reason I suspect you’re here, about how, since he hooked you up with such cutting age equipment, you suddenly…owe him something, lest he start pushing the wrong buttons? Does that sound familiar at all, Jacob? Any of that?”

“Yeah, actually,” Jacob says, lulled by the empathy of this man’s speech. “All of it, really. I’m not here on any agenda of my own.”

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that, Jacob, because that makes one of you. I myself have a set reason for being here, one in line with my own motivations.” On the zoomed-in window of this well-dressed man, Jacob sees him grin. He feeds energy to his thrusters, and begins a slow ascension to a height that might allow him to see where, exactly, this newcomer is. Despite looking at the world from a remarkably vibrant screen within his armor, Jacob is wary of information brought in from beyond his own senses – wary especially of this individual now, suspicious of his speech, of his grin, of his sudden appearance.

“I have a vendetta today, Mr. Shahrer, and not one leveled at that Vendetta, the one I’m sure you were briefed about.” The man breathes in, continues walking, now well within the confines of the unfinished city. “Today, Jacob, I am looking to wipe one more piece of Gideon’s pipedream off the face of this dying planet.”

Jacob tenses in his armor, rising now to the tops of the curving structures. In the distance, he sees the shape of the man advancing toward him. Not needing the image from his map anymore, he instead zooms in on this shape. The man is looking right at him, somehow, from such a great distance. Jacob scrutinizes the man’s eyes in the image, staring as they are, and realizes, with a dawning horror (Isn’t he dead? I mean, I saw the film…what could have survived that?), that they are not the eyes of a normal man, but two strangely colored orbs of blue glass in which a black dot shifts and dodges in the manner of an iris. It couldn’t be, he thinks. But he lies to himself. He has already determined the source of this man’s strange eyes.

The man continues, “I am here to erase another one of Gideon’s pet projects, Jacob. I am not here to kill you,” he says as he raises a finger over which some sort of indiscernible black membrane is creeping. “But I can’t promise I won’t maim you in the process of ripping the metal right out of you.”

From that upraised finger, pointed both at Jacob’s armor’s chest and at his nose due to his positioning therein, a sudden blast of blue-white plasma erupts, concentrated to a line of light that reaches Jacob startlingly fast but not so fast that he is unable to feed power to his thrusters and elevate above it, and above it still as the man raises his finger and with it the concentrated line of light. Jacob evades this maneuver as well, dipping and cutting power to his thrusters and watching placidly as the line of light he avoided carries on past him for miles, free-falling and then igniting them anew in a brilliant blast that sends him careening with the engineered grace of a missile towards his newfound aggressor.

“And don’t think I won’t rip you bleeding from that iron man to do it!” the man screams, his voice multiplying to alarming levels inside Jacob’s armor of its own accord and causing Jacob to redouble his velocity towards the man, zipping through the innards of curving structures with such rapidity and unpredictability that he hopes to lose the man’s gaze, jar him by closing the distance between them in seconds. His surroundings blur into a tunnel of pinpoint focus, his body and the armor functioning as one; he has spent countless sweat-maddened hours piloting the black-and-orange titan around the desert, countless hours working on it in the smoky solitude of his subterranean refuge, and with the time spent poring over its finest details, hours spent within its iron belly, comes a certain solitude for the mechanic. Jacob feels in tune with the machine – it is an extension of his body, carrying with it the momentum of a fighter jet, and from within he reels its arm back, preparing to punch the man’s grinning head from his shoulders. With the speed behind him he grows more confident by the millisecond that the armor’s arm will simply travel through the space the man’s head once inhabited – his head will turn into a slurry, pieces of skull and brain splattering into the air and falling into hideous inkblots on the sand.

The distance between the two, easily a mile or more, closes in a matter of seconds, and what Jacob finds transpiring for him at his destination is not, of course, what he had in mind.


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