Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Insert Dramatic Rescue Here (part 1 of 3)

The Briefing Room was filled with a nervous silence, the vastness of it almost deafening and only made bearable as it was broken by the occasional squeaking of a chair as someone shifted their weight or the metallic noise of someone checking fiddling with their sword or checking that their gun was loaded for the umpteenth time in a row.

Nearly thirty Agents, making up nearly every single member of the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination, sat scattered around in the briefing room that was too large for them by half and again, either clustered in little groups or their preferred teammates. Nearly all of them were wearing Plot Amour and none of them in it looked really comfortable in it, some fiddling with the clasps or attempting to readjust it so it fit slightly better. Some were digging through the new equipment they had just been issued in the form of emergency medkits and were reading the instructions written on the various pieces inside the cases and hoping they'd never have to use them.

Ben was seated at the end of one row, constantly tuning Bahamut and fiddling with the strings while next to him, Lily fiddled with her pins, walking them back and forth on the backs of her fingers. Next to them, Avak was the most nervous, but didn't really have any idea of what to do and just shifted nervously in his seat.

At the opposite end of the horseshoe and across from Ben, Aimee was digging through a large case that rested on her lap, various wings of it spread open as she rearranged various items inside, occasionally reaching up to push her nurse's hat back atop her head when it leaned too far forwards. Standing a couple of feet away, Ossa was going through a series of yoga poses, looking rather calm despite the tension in the air.

A few rows back from the pair, Chrys, Akai and Mizuho sat together, the latter two trying to keep the former from panicking and only marginally succeeding, though Akai didn't seemed to helping all that much to the seriously angry expression that kept flitting on her face.

Down the aisle from the trio, Michael, Claire, Miri and Alice were all settled, the former three checking their weapons while Alice, arm in a sling from her most recent mission, looked decidedly worried and nervous, shifting and squirming uncomfortably and many similar scenes were play across the rooms with the rest of the Agents as they checked weapons again and again or tried to quash their nervousness, but the tension and worry was so thick in the air that it stifled any attempt at conversation before it began.

Then the main doors to the briefing room banged open and everyone glanced towards the front of the room as Tash, Hati and Phoenixia strode in, all with uncharacteristically grim and serious looks on their faces. No one was surprised to see Phoenixia in her Battle Dress and her guns strapped to her body, but it was a surprise to see Tash out of Adrian's trenchcoat and wearing her old clothes.

There was a low murmuring as Adrian strode into the room. They all knew he had returned, thanks to Aster and a whole host of other Agents running around and spreading the news, but seeing the man himself walk into the room, his coat billowing and that fierce look in his eyes was something else entirely.

Silence fell across the room as he strode up to the holoprojector in the center of the room and manipulated a few of the controls, dimming the lights as the projector activated and lived up to its name by generating the image of a good-sized mansion surrounded by a dense looking forest. "This is Einzbern Mansion in the Fate/stay Night fandom. Currently, it has been abandoned by its owner after the end of the game that is Fate/stay Night and normally, it would be of no interest to us. However, thanks to a lot of magical and technological detective work, we've managed to determine that this one of Runoa's bases."

"Four hours ago, Aster was sent on a recon mission to this location. Three hours ago, she informed us that at least one Sovereign-class signature along with at least a half-dozen signatures that were approaching Sovereign-class and multiple ordinary Sue and Stu signatures. Immediately after, we lost contact with her…" His face hardened. "We have reason to believe Runoa is at this location and captured Aster herself."

Grabbing a laser pointer, he used trace several paths through the forest." "Our infiltration strategy will be simple. The Society approaches on foot through the forest and our snipers, stealth agents and speedsters remove any guards outside the building at the same to prevent them from getting off an alarm…"


The night air was still in the dense woods that surrounded then Einzbern Mansion, nary an owl or forest creature daring to break the stillness. Not that any creatures would care to live in the forest, for the mansion itself exuded an aura of darkness and abnormality that drove any sane living animal away and caused anyone who approached it to reverse direction and trying to shake a case of the shivers for the next few nights or so.

Still, there were those who could ignore such things and about a dozen of them patrolled the grounds around the mansion, armed with more tangible deterrents such as machine guns, rifles and grenades and aimed to make use of them effectively thanks to their night-vision goggles.

Two of the hired guards met up on the east side of the mansion, one of them slinging his weapon over his shoulder in order to use both hands to rip open the a ration bar. "How you holding up, Jon?"

"Bah." The other man took the moment to re-check that his assault rifle was loaded and twirl the unlit cigarette from one corner of his mouth to the other. "I hate night patrol, Dan. We're stuck walking around it freakin' cold and this damn place gives me the creeps. There aren't any damn animals in this blasted forest! And I can't even light a damn cig!" He glared at the unlit one in his mouth, as if blaming it for situation.

Dan took a bite of his ration bar. "Well, this was a fast deployment, I'll give you. But the boss says we're getting paid a few cool million to guard this dump, so I'd say a few hours of cold is worth the cut we'll get from this."

Jon grunted and glanced out over to the woods, obviously not too convinced by his comrade's argument. "There isn't even any action here-someone will trip our sensors a mile out if they try to come here. And who hell would want to storm this place, anyway?"

There wasn't a response and he turned back to his buddy. "Dan? Hey, you got anything to say..?" Then his jaw opened slightly and the cigarette fell out, the last thing he saw being a silvery-haired man with what appeared to be cat ears atop his head punching him in the face. A second later, he joined Dan in unconsciousness.

Adrian ears twitched as Tash flash-stepped into sight next to him. "I take it you got yours?"

"Yeah. Hit him over the head before he knew what was happening. And Phoenixia and Ingrid hit the ones on the roof with Stun Rounds and Michael dragged his off into the darkness and you and I got the rest." She pulled out her communicator as it vibrated once softly and tapped a button on it. "That was Ben. His team is in position and he's last the once to check in."

"Good." The Librarian gestured for her follow him. "Let's start the second stage."


"You are currently receiving a note on your communicators-we are placing you into teams. This is for the second stage of our operation. Once the guards have been eliminated and Phoenixia and I have finished removing any technological and magical alarms and barriers, the teams will all move into the mansion for as many different entrances and floors as possible in the same moment."

"The mission is to get in, find Aster, and get out as quick as we possibly can. Don't drag out any fights and fight defensively, putting your own safety as your top priority. If you can help it, do not engage any of the Sovereigns or Runoa and if you do, immediately call for back-up. Don't take them lightly-you all saw what Death did and he was the weakest."


The doors to the mansion toppled inwards as the sounds of Bahamut slammed into it, Lily, Jess, Avak and Michael all sprinting into the mansion's large atrium. Their weapons were drawn, powers humming and ready to be unleashed, tentacles of darkness actually springing from Michael's back as charged, ready to engage whatever forces awaited them on the other side, to make most of their surprise advantage and cut them down…

…only to find that the entire atrium was completely barren and empty.

They skidded to a stop, Jess snuffing out the flame she had brought to life around, her bewildered expression mimicking those of her fellow Agents. "What the hell…? Where is everyone!"

"I don't know…" Michael made a quick gesture. "Spread out-see if they aren't hiding anywhere." Suiting action to his words, he used a tentacle of shadow to haul himself up onto the next level of the atrium as the others spread out below him.

They checked every room, every nook and cranny, behind tapestries and suits of armor, even poking their heads the windows to make sure someone wasn't clinging to the wall outside. But after a good five minutes of searching, they still had not found the enemy and more Agents began to filter into the atrium from the other parts of the house, reporting that they, too, had found nothing.

Adrian stomped down the staircase with a scowl on his face, Tash and Phoenixia behind him as the gathered Agents looked up at him. "Nothing! Not a damn thing!"

"Maybe it was a trick." Rhia suggested, idly running a hand along the knives dangling from her belt and making them jangle a bit. "Runoa could have moved Aster away from here as she soon as she kidnapped."

"Then why hire the mercenaries as guards? Mercenaries that come straight from the fandom itself? "Pete asked, folding his arms.

"It was probably to keep us from picking up Sue and Stu signatures in this fandom." Val said. "Ever since I've entered this mansion, my powers have felt funny…like they're not as strong as they usually are. She must have put a dampening field on the house, which kept us from detecting the energy signatures of her and the Sovereigns."

"But…why go through all this effort? Just to mislead us?" Jess folded her arms with a frown on her face. "And if there was a dampening field on the house, how did you guys figure out Aster was in the first place?" She nodded in the direction of Adrian and Phoenixia.

Phoenixia played with a strand of her russet hair. "The dampening field blocks signatures, true, but Aster is constantly connected to her dimensional counterparts at all times. We know one of them and thanks to her, we were able to figure out the energy frequency that link has. Since this particular fandom has three routes, which can each be technically considered their own fandoms, we simply jumped to one of them with our Aster and use the dimensional synch like a piece of string between two tin cans and followed it to this location, adjusting for the drift caused when the link slides between the two dimensions and the fact the dimensional synch doesn't exactly exist in any tangible fashion or exude anything tangible, either. However, we compensated for that using the Property of Inverse Tangibility, meaning because it didn't exist in a way apparent to the senses, we tracked through what our senses couldn't find and then triangulated it with Aster's last known location and the last detection of a Sue energy signature. " Then she noticed everyone but Adrian, Mizuho, Akai and Chrys were staring at her like she had grown two heads. "What?"

"That… that makes so much sense and yet at the same time, I'm so confused…" Ossa muttered and ran a hand through her hair. "But anyway, even if you found Aster like that, why wouldn't Runoa leave as soon as she got Aster? That woman's a bitch, but a smart one. She'd just leave a few clues to draw our attention, draw us in and waste our time on an empty house."

"There's no point in that- she can travel nearly anywhere in the Multiverse. We were here two hours after we lost contact with Aster. She was the Librarian once, she knows what kind of resources we can bring to bear to track and a two-hour head start is meaningless, especially when she has so much territory to flee to." Adrian shook his head with a scowl. Then his eyes widened. "It's a trap!"

As if summoned by his words, a golden sheen sudden surrounded the outside of the manor. The Agents reacted instantly, volleying off a series of weapons blasts and attacks through the main door, but the barrier simply absorbed them harmlessly. They were trapped.

"Greetings, Society Agents." The group of Agents scattered away as Runoa, dressed in her usual black turtleneck sweater and slacks, appeared in their midst, those of them not already having drawn their weapons doing so.

"Don't bother attacking her." Adrian grabbed Tash's wrist as the blonde was starting forwards, raising her blade. "It's an illusion-a magical message tied in with the activation of the barrier."

"By now you have realized that this is a trap and I'm afraid that the moment you said those words, you triggered the trap." She smirked at them. "Aren't clichés wonderful?"

The Agents nearest the stairs suddenly backed away as a seam of light suddenly unzipped itself in the middle of the air in front of them, slowly widening to reveal a swirling rainbow of colors. "However, the fact that I knew you'd come after the moment I kidnapped Aster was actually to my benefit. Not only do I get to show-off some of my more interesting experiments and give them a field test, but I get to kill some of you annoying pests. So, good luck and try not to bleed too much on the rug, it's so hard to get out of that material." The illusion winked out of existence.

The Society backed away from the portal as a figure started to emerge from the now eight-foot portal. It was nearly as tall as the portal it emerged from, it's body thin and sleek and clawed hands nearly dragging across the carpet. Gray skin was stretched tight over its body and it's eyes were a prismatic rainbow as it stretched out a trio of equally prismatic wings and let out a screech, revealing six-inch fangs in its mouth.

Behind it, two more figures emerged, a much smaller ogre-like being who's bulging red skin looked like it could barely contain the bulging muscle beneath and diamond-like protrusions jutted out all over its body randomly and the third being was human-sized, but his hair and eyes were sea-green and, along with his clothes, were constantly ruffling and fluttering in a incessant swirl of air around him.

"What…! What the hell are these things!" Rhia drew her kodachi and backed up a few steps even as next to her Cristoph pulled a handful of caltrops and Lily pulled her pins free, Ben and Avak un-slinging their guitars.

"I think they might Sues, but the energy is so warped and twisted, I can't be sure!" Blue energy danced around Val's arm as she activated Seiryu and drew the string back while Stacey gripped her staff tightly, a brief flicker in her eyes the only thing showing that Ezra was taking over.

"It doesn't matter what they are-they're in our way, so they have to go!" Adrian was already dashing forwards, magic crackling to life in his hands. Even as the towering gray one smashed a fist down at him, he leapt clear of it and volleyed off magical blasts like a machine gun before slamming both hands together and firing one continuous blast into its face, the creature roaring in pain as the energy exploded and sent it staggering backwards. Then it's wings flared and that was all the warning Adrian has beams of light leapt from them, smashing into him and sending him hurtling into the far wall of the atrium.

"Adrian!" Tash barely had time to spare a glance at her lover before she was flash-stepping around a floor-cratering bunch from the diamond ogre. Reappearing behind it, she let out a growl of frustration as her blade merely sparked off its protrusions and then she screamed as the protrusions fired themselves at her, opening slices on her form before she flash-stepped away again even as Willie and Marcus blasted the monstrosity with Hellfire and the Dragon Talisman respectively.

Phoenixia, Val and Ingrid were already backing up as much as they could, their bullets and arrows being deflected by the wind barrier generated around the approaching man. Suddenly, Cristoph dropped into view behind him, his sword aimed for the creature's neck, only for him to be caught the swirling wind and hurtled away.

"There's too many Agents and this place is too small! It's a goddamn deathtrap!" Tentacles of shadow hurtled chunks of debris, suits of armor and even the curtains off the windows into the air to intercept the seemingly endless volley of prismatic beams that flew from the tall creature's wings. Michael growled and prepared to vanish in the darkness to attack it from behind when the diamond ogre burst from the flames Willie and Marcus had trapped it in. Roaring, it casually swatted both Agents aside with a sweep of its arm and into the Chief Agent, sending them all sprawling into a wall.

"Michael, Phoenixia, Cristoph, Ossa, Adrian and Kyle-we'll dealing with those things head-on! Anyone who's got a ranged attack get to the upper level and start shooting these things! Anyone else either try to break down the barrier to get to another part of them mansion out of the way!" Tash commanded, scooping up Monika and Danielle just as the wind being shredded the ground they were one and depositing them up on the upper level.

Adrian pried himself free of the wall even as Ben's team dashed up the stairs to the next level and growled, leaping towards the diamond ogre and slamming a kick into its head, trying to ignore the pain shooting up his leg and the fact his kicked only rocked the creature on its heels slightly. "Damn!"

Landing, he thrust his left hand out towards the creature and a beam of silver light leapt from it, smashing into its chest and shoving back a few feet, but did little else save cause a few wisps of smoke on its chest. "Impenetrable hide, huh?"

He skipped back as it charged, throwing rapid punches and firing the diamonds on its body, the Librarian's arms a blur as his magic-charged hands deflected them, his own counter-strikes glancing uselessly off its body.

A couple of yards away, Kyle and Tash were circling the wind being, their energy and physical attacks being deflected by its swirling barrier. With a cry of frustration, Tash launched into her Tairenso attack, swallowed by a tornado of flames. Flame and wind collided, clashing and grinding against one another before the Sue-being just made a knock-away gesture and his air barrier suddenly sped up and temporarily doubled in size, the flames dispersing as Tash was sent hurtling away, barely managing to righten her body in the air to land on her feet. "How are we supposed to get through that thing's barrier!"

"Aurora Grenade!" Kyle hurtled the swirling prismatic sphere and it smashed into ground just in front of the being's feet, exploding violently and sending it staggering back several steps, but even the energy and debris from the explosion was deflected by the barrier. "Blast-even if we knock it off guard, the barrier remains!"

Even as Tash unleashed a wave of flame at the creature, the scene was lost as bolts of energy ploughed the ground and kicked up dust, Michael and Cristoph darting and weaving in and out of them as they charged the creature. It roared at them and the blaze of beams intensified, threatening to swallow the two Agents until a wall of Darkness rose up between them and the beams, buying them several precious seconds to dart out of either side of it and around the beams. Then it charged faster than they thought possible, an open-palm strike nearly flattening the ninja even as beams leapt from its eyes, forcing the Chief Agent to jump back to avoid being sliced neatly in half.

"Lord Michael, can you not use the Darkness to teleport us behind it or draw it into a black hole?" Caltrops and throwing stars flew, only to be blasted out of the air by the creature's beams.

"Nope. Teleporting is too risky-I'm using too much energy at the moment and I don't have the few minutes' concentration I need to open a Black Hole!" Michael's Darkness tendrils ripped a large statue out of its alcove and attempted to use it as a bludgeon, but a swift flurry of energy shredded the tentacle and the statue just crashed to the ground.

Then both their eyes widened slightly as Ossa was suddenly behind the creature, her katana's edge glinting in the light. Sprinting forwards, she drove the weapon into its knee, a howling roar of pain escaping the monster it's leg bucked and it fell on its bad knee, bracing itself with one hand. Not skipping a beat, the Cherokee Agent ripped her weapon free and flipped onto the creature's back, a swift flash from her weapon severing two of its wings from its body. As it bucked and reared in agony, she viciously stabbed her weapon into its neck, actually retaining her grip on the hilt as it lurched to its feet and flailed wildly, screaming and its over-long hands scrabbling to dislodge her.

Bracing her feet against its back, she pushed and yanked her weapon free, flipping away to land in a crouch even as it faced her, still standing despite the fact it had a gaping hole in its neck, it's one remaining wing and eyes already powering up to unleash its fury on her.

She was already in motion before the first beams fired, darting under them and then leaping up, a corkscrewing motion that scored a series of slashes up its body before the her weapon sliced clean through its skull, trailing an arc of blood and brain matter as the top of its slid cleanly from the bottom.

Ninja and Chief Agent stared as she landed gracefully in front of even as the creature's body toppled backwards and crashed to the ground limply. Straightening, she dusted off her jeans and pulled a cloth out of her pocket, wiping it down the length of her weapon. "Thanks for distracting it."

Then the trio was scattering as Adrian was jumping away from yet another of the ogre's punches, a snarl on his face as it as it simply absorbed another blast of fire and lighting from his palms. As it threw another blow at him, he vaulted over it and formed a sword of crackling light in his hands. He unleashed a whirling slash; his weapon collided with its next punch and then shattered into fragments. Even as he skidded back and swiped his palm through the air generate a sheet of shadow in front him, the second punch ripped through it like it wasn't even there and caught him in the gut, smashing him into a pillar.

"Crap…it doesn't have an elemental weakness…" Adrian was already leaping to his feet, but his fighting instinct told him that a barrage of diamond was already nearing him and he didn't have time to get out of the way.

Then guns roared and the projects shattered in mid-air as Phoenixia flipped down from above in front him, her pistols blazing even as the ogre lumbered towards them, bullets sparking off its hide. "Lover, you've fought things that couldn't be harmed before! This shouldn't be any harder to kill!"

"Do you happen to have a dragonlance, a drill made of Spiral Power or a lightsaber on hand!" Adrian snapped back, the two of them leaping to the side as it's punch shredded the wall, magic and bullets intercepting the wave of diamonds that followed a second later.

"How about Booting it in the head?" Phoenixia tossed him her pistols without looking and yanked her sniper rifle free, the armor-piercing rounds tearing chunks of the protrusions free, but failing to penetrate the ogre's head. "That should have enough force to generate some exploitable cracks."

"And shatter everyone bone in my leg." The guns glowed as Adrian charged them with magic, but the bullets merely caused tiny explosions on the creature and barely halted its advance. "And it doesn't possess any particular weaknesses I can see besides it being slow."

A volley of grenades, blue magic and fire struck the beast from behind as Val, Ingrid, Jess, Marcus and Willie struck it from behind, sending it staggering forwards as the explosions enveloped it in smoke. However, Adrian was distracted from it as Tash's pained cry filled the air and his head snapped to the side just in time to see Tash and Kyle go flying backwards, their clothing ripped and torn from the tornado of wind that the Stu-being was surrounded by, scything tendrils ripping through anything that got near it. "Tash!"

"I'm fine!" A beat of wings rightened his lover in the air while Kyle managed to turn his out of control tumble into a skid and heat swirled around her blade as she gripped it tightly. "But we can't even get near this guy!"

"Well, we can't hurt ours!" Phoenixia called back as the four fighters slowly backed together, a barrage of attacks and energy raining from the balconies in the atrium and failing to penetrate the roaring tornado or the diamond hide of other monsters while the other Agents on the ground unleashed their own attacks to equal zero effect.

"Don't worry, I got this!" The four looked up to see Jared leaping down from a balcony, drawing back the Boomhammer high above his head. The ogre barely had time to look up before the Agent slammed his weapon down upon him with a cry of 'BOOMHAMMER!'

Everyone present covered their ears as a horrible shrieking sound filled the air, the Boomhammer pouring every ounce of its power into the ogre, it's diamond protrusions howling in protest as cracks splintered all over them and many of them even shattered. A second later, the Boomhammer itself shattered into sound and Jared was sent flying backwards, a timely catch by Michael and the darkness the only thing saving him from smashing his head into the stone behind him.

The ogre howled in true pain, every movement of its shattering more diamonds and it charged forwards, but Tash and Phoenixia were already attacking, the blonde's white-hot sword slicing right through the torso while a point-blank blast from Incandescent Silverreign blew apart it's head.

Ears still ringing from the Boomhammer, Adrian turned to face the whirling tornado of scythes…only to see that last remnants of it vanish into a swirling black hole on the floor, which quickly collapsed in on itself as soon as it's job was done. A quick glance at Michael revealed him leaning heavily on his sword, panting from the exertion.

Though he could not quite hear, Adrian knew he had forgotten about the portal when he saw several Agents' eyes widen and a few more grab their weapon and start moving. Whirling on his heel, he saw another massive figure, larger than any of the previous three actually grabbing the edges of the portal to pull itself into the atrium, it's skeletal hands nearly as large his entire body.

In the next instant, he was sprinting the distance between him and the portal, shouting that it was two-way and it lead them to Aster. He felt rather than heard Phoenixia on his heels, Tash a second later and the more Agents. Then it was all gone as he slammed into the emerging creature's head and shoved it back into the rainbow of the portal, the energy swallowing up his vision.

No comments:

Post a Comment