The Den Games Network Forum RPG
Page 15

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds


Eva had hit the Ork quite hard. His Blue eyes blazed furiously. He opened his mouth , spitting out two shattered Tusks, and roared, charging again...

Alanya, Crystal, Raven, Chance and Eva's combined fire sent him to the floor in an uncermonious bleeding heap.

"These Blue eyes don't seem to like the idea of Surrender." Chance noted.

Alanya rushed to Wirecat's side. He was waking up, groggily. The side of his head ached like hell, but the bruising couldn't be seen under the fur. But he would survive.

Tami peeked down from the hole in the roof, wondering if it was okay to come out now. The roof-space looked like sponge - Dozens of Shot-pellets had saturated the area, embedding in the roof panels.

"It's safe to come down now... I take it the explosion was you? There's pieces of some fragger everywhere..." Crystal shouted.

"Not so loud." Groaned Wirecat. "My fragging head..."


Outside, electricity arced from the Huge 3DTV display boards. Several of them - The underwater ones - Blew out explosively, frying the tropical fish swimming around. The ones above the water flickered into life, grabbing everyone's attention, filling the malls with light.

A face appeared, a young, pretty female face, albeit one harried with the stress of recent events.

It was the face of Dr Mary Turin.

"Um, hello, Crystal, Chance... Anyone. It's me, Mary. Don't worry, I'm safe. But I need to see you quickly. Come to the floor 182 Offices, tower 1. Hurry, we don't have much time."

Crystal, Chance and Raven stood staring even after the image disappeared.


Mary saw the message too, from the sceen in her shift.


Jessica looked over at Mary as the elevator continued to move.

"When did you record that?"

Mary shrugged.

"I didn't"


Raven turned to look at Crystal.

"Are we going?"


The Platform Deadeye was on shaked crazily.

"Jump!" The girl screamed. Peter did so, the platform snapping off it's supports behind him and taking the momentum of his jump. He flew lazily through the air, just making it to the next platform, which almost immediately started to tear from it's support cables.

Behind, people started screaming... But Deadeye couldn't deal with that right now. Someone else tried to jump onto the swinging platforms. A dull thump and the crash of metal was heard as a platform fell to Earth, taking an unlucky middle-aged man with it.

The girl, Peter saw, was almost at the doorway on the other end now.

"Come on!" She screamed.

The platforms strecthed ahead of him. The swinging motion was making him dizzy, He ran to the end as the platform was on the forward swing, jumped, carried on running using the same momentum, jumped, jumped again.

He was halfway across, the jumps were getting longer - He had to go faster and faster each time, while trying to keep his rifle level.

One more jump, another... He was all but out of breath now... But close to the other end. One by one the platfirms fell to the ground behind him.

He stopped, and un plugged the rifle, blinding himself. He had to kneel to keep his balance.

"What are you doing?" The girl screamed.

"Listen carefully. I'm going to throw this rifle. I need you to help me aim. Am I pointing at you?" He said. He knew he was, he just wanted to be sure.


He threw the rifle - But there was no way to tell if the girl caught it or not, because at that exact moment the platform collapsed.

Or at least, one side of it did.

Clinging onto the thin metal for dear life, the platform swung heavily, leaving him clinging upside down now. He slipped -

His heart froze as his ankle wrapped around the now loose cable and the bracket that had ripped from the ceiling. It gave him the extra momentum to swing into the opposite wall, smacking his shoulders painfully.

He saw stars for a second - Then nothing again. He swung gently.

"Hello?" He croaked, afraid to move. He was hanging upside down from a metal cable against a wall 50 feet in the air, after all.

"Stay still!" The girl shouted. "I used your gun to hook in the cable. I'll try and pull you up!"

Deadeye never saw how close he was to dying. He concentratde on trung to reach up to the cable around his ankle as the girl struggled to pull it up to safety...


Pierre paced back and forth (Well as much as you can in a Shift), he was sweating, shaking, looking very downcast. He looked over the civvie's, opened his mouth then shut it.

"Lost fer words, yer fraggin' bastard?" Said the dwarf, still tending to Nixie. "Need our help now, don't ya? I don't see why we should."

"I will 'ave non of ziz!" He drew another throwing knife, waved it in frount of Jame's menacinly.

"Enough!" Coughed the figure of Charlie on the floor, Everybody had forgoten about him, in the chaos. "We need a plan, and we won't get it bickering."

Pierre was about to agree when...

"NON! The master, 'e wishes it! Is shall be done!" Pierre threw the knife, if went sailing over the Dwarves head and into the Shift wall.

"Right, That's if fer ya Gobbo boy!" James, in a fit of anger, threw himself at unnatural speeds (Especially for a dwarf!) at the the French Gobbo, he went straight for the face, landing a blow inbetween the eyes. Pierre fell back, screaming and clucthing his face.

"Non! NON! Not ze eyez!" He sobbed, not even realising he'd given away a vital clue. Charlie was the first to take this new information in.

"Cover his eyes!" He told whoever happened to be listening, James fumbled around in his pocket for his Chef's hand, and some string (No chef traveled without them, after all), sticking the hat over the goblin's head and tying it around his neck.

"Mon Fraggerz.....Mon Fraggerz...." Pierre's muffled sobs came from inside the hat.

"Now......I have a plan." Charlie tried to say above the noise of the shift. They had to act, and act fast!


"Holy frag......Doesn't look good to me...." Bulldog shook his head, still looking at the screen.

"What, What is it?" Said Red, proding him.

"Calm down woman! I'm still looking around, But it seems these VOES have just done something pretty major."


"Well I dunno, But it involves a lot of effort." He turned to Silvia " Ask your friend on the outside if she can see anything."

"Alright..." She looked down at the vid-phone. "Mary, can you see anything on the outside? Anything.....strange?"

"Tell her it could be something to do with the display boards!" Bulldog yelled, he turned his attention back to the screen. "I might be able to find something else."

"You do know what your doing right?" Red asked over his shoulder.

"Of course I do! They give you a pretty decent decking course in The G.....Grexxon Trade Offices......" Close save, he thought to himself. Although, he could see the rigger suspected something. He realised she had a gan pointed at the screen and panicked. "Hey, hey! What you got that thing there for!"

"Protection." She gave him, what he guessed should have been a reasuring wink. He wasn't reasured.

"Not mine by the looks of it..." He grumbled, as the bunny hopped happily across the screen. He wished he was the bunny right now.


Now, these people probably though it was a nice gesture, what they were doing. Surely being praised was what every man, woman and child wanted.....right? What these people didn't realise was, Highness wasn't a human. Well, in appearence maybe, but not in mind. And she hated this, well....hated is a strong word to use for Highness. More of a discomfort she didn't want to suffer, like the discomfort she had felt around the mage. In fact, a vision of his face poped into her head everytime she got this feeling. And she wanted to run. She needed to run. Instinct told her to run!

And run she did. Pulling away from the sea of hands, there was only two ways to go. Up, or out the way she came. And seeing as Highness' brain didn't function in a way that said up was the best way out, she retraced her steps, back to the door and back into the shaft exit.

Highness rarely knew where she was going, in fact. You could say that nobody really ever knows where they were going. But she now felt she had a real sense of purpose. It was hard to explain, not that she could explain it anyway. It was a feeling, an impulse, like a homing beacon. She felt like......In words you could understand of course, she was going home.


Mary gaped at the image of her on the screen. It was almost picture-perfect, although it had the slightly plasticy perfectness of a doctored image.

Everything went perfectly silent for a moment, while the digi-Mary repeated her message.

Barkah nodded, and lifted his hand, ready to smash to screen.
"No, wait." Mary turned to the now bound green-eyes.

"Get us up to that control station NOW! We might be able to stop that thing!"
The nurse snarled. "You petty humans won't stand a chance against the master... and the masters systems are already working overtime. You will be there... NOW!"

The doors slid open, revealing the darkened aquaculture floor. Nearby, the gentle glow of strip lights revealed the only powered up area - the shift control room.

Mary was out of the door, and rushing across the floor towards the control room instantly, Jessica and Barkah left to pick up the still-struggling transys eye-slave, and follow.


Silvia barely had a chance to say hi, as Mary slammed open the door, still running, and landed with suprising agility on the nearest free seat. She kicked the terminal, and the machine began to boot up.

"What the.... sleg?" Silvia looked on critically, as Mary realised that she had gone bright red from the sudden exertion and heat inside the shiftavator.

"Look... over there", she panted, and pointed one hand at Bulldog, who had somehow managed to pull up the recording onto the screen, sans sound. Silvia gasped, and grabbed a pair of remote-link headphones to listen to the recording. Brandon looked out of place, again, while Damocles just stared blankly at his reflection in glass, seemingly unaware of the situation.

Mary already had pulled out the flat notebook-sized disc pack, and pulled out the wafer-thin tiny object, that contained a decker program. She hoped she could figure out how to acess the file, before it was too late.

Mary slotted in the disc as the machine finished loading, her matrix persona - a small, silvery fairy (of the kind of popular children's folklore, not the spiteful and mean spirited wood faeries of post 2015) - appeared in the rolling, misty moorland. It quickly removed a handful of something from it's satchel-like pouch, and, scattering it into the air above it, dissapeared, the 'beam in' entry program sending her straight to Bulldog's location.

Meanwhile, the rabbit had run into another problem.


"Come on. We have to get there, and fast." Chance said to Wirecat.
Wirecat felt... well, quite literally, like a huge Ork fell on him.
"All right, all right. I'm coming."

Alanya helped him up.
"Good to know Mary's alive." Wirecat said. "But we gotta get there before..."
Wirecat frowned.
"... before VOES finds out? But if she broadcasted this all over the place, there's no way the main controller can't know about it!"
He quickly ran towards the rest. "Guys... something's not right here. We have to be careful..."


"VOES?" Crystal asked. "Whats a VOES when it's at home? Did the green-eyed fragger tell you something?"

"Which reminds me." Chance frowned. "What happened to..."

"My eyes..." Sobbed the bleeding technician, crawling over the floor.

Sarah was being helped to her feet by Tami and Alanya, aware that they might have to move soon...


"I interrogated this fragger while you were away." Wirecat said. "And guess what... I'm pretty good at it."
He smiled, and grabbed the technician and pulled him on his feet. "Our 'friend' here told us VOES is the 'big boss' that's messing up everything here. The Virtual Octopus Expert System. Looks like we got ourselves a really buggy computer program here."
"The main control program?!" Crystal said. "So that's why it all went so quickly!"
"Yeah, probably..." Wirecat said.
"But... Mary's a decker!" Crystal cut in. "surely she'd know she was attracting unwanted attention!"
"May be... but that doesn't mean she knows VOES is behind all this." Ash remarked. "We gotta go help her before any drones reach her."
"Tha's gonna be hard..." Alanya said. "Floor 182 iz a long way, an' I don't know if anyone 'ere is even authorized for that! Not even sure 'bout our 'president'..."

Wirecat rougly grabbed the technician in the neck. "Oh, I'm sure he'll get us there... no?"
"Y..yes, of course..." the now blind technician replied, as he felt the cat claws in his neck extract.

"What was that 'president' stuff about anyway?" Crystal asked Alanya.
"Pre-made profile for VIP. I wanted ta make it go fast... didn't check da stats."
She turned to the technician. "Wot's on 185?"
"Higher-Level Corporate Offices" the technician said quickly.
"Won' be a problem. I'm shur our 'president' will hav' clearance."


"Tha... that was just crazy!" Silvia said to Red.
"Unbelievable." Red replied. "Faking an entire person... who could possibly do that? Gotta be one really smart fragger..."
"But... that message... it was meant for Crystal and Chance... then they're here too. We gotta warn them!"
Silvia looked at Mary. "Sleg. She's already plugged in."


Charlie was not the only one who'd been forgotten about. The gentemanly ex-soldier picked the hollow-eyed girl from the floor. She too had been in the bar during the raid.

"What's your name, Miss?" He asked her.

"Ve... Um, call me Vega." She said, eyes not leaving the floor.

Charlies got the idea someone, recently, had done a very bad thing to her. He could guess what that thing was... And it filled him with rage.


When the girl finally finished pulling Deadeye up, she was pretty much breathless, and close to exhaustion.

"We made it..." She breathed "But... All those people..."

Deadeye looked around at the new room that lay in front of the two people.

It was a pitch black, circular room. The only light coming from a large round dome that formed the centre of the room.

On closer inspection, the dome appeared to be fitted with oddly shaped windows. Windows down to what, Deadeye couldn't be sure. He could only see a bunch off odd-looking people, some heavily armed - A guy with an assault rifle, a guy with four arms and two SMGs, some kind of cat-man...

There was another exit to the room, opposite the way he came in, but shrouded in pitch darkness.


Highness flew up the shift-shaft. She flew high - Higher than she'd ever flown before, not that she could tell from inside the city-sized towers. Far below, a frail voice called out. She ignored it.

A sudden gust of air told her something was coming back down the shaft towards her. Coming fast...

She darted to the bland grey patch of wall that announced a door opening. It was miniscule alcove. She flattened herself into it, all the same, driven by her animal instincts of self-preservation.

The shift zipped by, inches from her face. She winced as a handful of feathers from her wings were torn out, leaving a blooded patch on one of her pinions.

She snivelled, she wanted to cry...

But she had to go up.

She launched herself up again as best she could.

She felt another change in the air currents - Just like when the shift had appeared from nowehere above her. The only way to detect their approach in pitch dark. But this was the shift that had just missed her. It was coming back up...

She flew higher faster. The shift increased it's speed. She strained to fly harder, but in the end her injured wing stopped her. She fell, flopping back down to her fate...

She landed on top of the shift below. It had reduced it's speed - It didn;t smash her on impact. Instead, it slowed, with her clinging to it's top. It ratcheted Horizontally, switching tracks repeatedly. Then it travelled upwards again, to even more dizzying heights...

It slowed again, coming to a complete stop. Just below a new set of doors.

Floor 282. Luxury Apartments. Said the shift, softly.

The door opened.

Highness knew little of what the others considered 'luxury', but what she saw was nice all the same. Inches thick Purple carpet, chandeliers in the corridors, jewelled wallpaper...

Large cables had recently been bolted to the ceiling in several places. In some places wall panels had been taken down to make new and different rooms, filled with Bizarre machinery.

"My, how you've grown." Came a voice. Highness had to block the light from the Chandeliers with a hand to make out the silhouetted figure. At first she saw the glowing green eyes, then the gleaming datajack in his temple.

Then she recognised the man, wearing an Orange and Green Rulenska Appleberry Suit, an Oxford Univerity Tie and Elven Tir Spats.

"How long has it been since I last saw you? I'm sure you had more clothes last time." Polt said, his voice trailing in something approaching admiration.

"Assistant!" Snapped Polt. "Fetch my creation some clothes!"

"I will do that." Murmured Wolf. He got up from his console in the midst of the machinery-filled room. As he reached for a spare labcoat, he gave the 13 Shimmering tanks a cursory glance.

These tanks, which contained the sum total of his work here - The first batch of BWG II...


Crystal, Chance, Raven, Eva, Wirecat, Tami and Alanya coazed Sarah - In pain, but improving - Over to where Ash waited patiently at the open Shift. While Wirecat kept an eye on the prisoner, Chance filled Ash in on what had just happened. She gave a disapproving look.

"I don't think we have much of a choice." Crystal sighed. "This Vase thing - assuming it IS in control, knows about us and who we are. It wants us up on this floor for some reason... And..."

"So why go up there?" Ash said, unconvinced.

"Because..." Crystal began.

"Because Mary's up there. We don't know for sure. She might even be dead. We just have to take the chance." Chance said. Everyone was looking at him. Ash gave him a sterner look, for a different reason.

"What?" He said.

"Heh. Whatever this fragger is, I doubt it has a BWG like me." Eva smiled slyly.

The group - More of a crowd - Crammed into the shift. The prisoner proved not to have access to the panel, so Crystal spoke instead.

Mere moments later, they arrived at their destination.

They might have arrived on another world.

Crystal stepped out onto a cold, bare metal floor. All around floated an eerie, thick white mist, from floor to ceiling. All around - Except for a patch around the shift maybe six feet across.

"Don't touch it!" Chance hissed. The air had an odd chemical tang to it, Crystal noted.

"What is this stuff?" Crystal asked the prisoner, when she was satisified the odd mist wasn't coming towards her.

"How the frag should I know?" He sobbed. "YOU TOOK MY EYES!"

Suddenly, the man bolted, in a fit of rage, despair. He clawed at Crystal - She shook him off. He turned and ran the other way - Into the mist.


At first Crystal noticed flecks of skin missing in the man's hand. Less than a second later gaping holes had appeared in his arm. The nexte, his whole body - She could see all the way through him - Internal organs flaking away. Heart still beating.

Whatever was left vanished into the mist.

"GET BACK IN THE SHIFT!" Chance yelled.

Crystal did so.

"Mall level." She shouted. "MALL!"

The shift didn't move.

"Look!" Alanya pointed.

The wall of mist was rolling back from the elevator - Rolling back down the corridor, in the opposite direction from which the unfortunate man had run.

At the same time it moved almost imperceptibly closer, behind them. Towards the shift.

"One way to go." Eva noted.

Wordlessly, the big group followed the rolling back mist, nervously, taking gingerly steps.

A tense few minutes of walking later - That felt like hours - And they were in the middle of a large, mist-free circular room. The top of the room was glossy, darkened transparency.

The mist - Moving by no visible means - Moved back and sealed them all in the large room.


"Chance was that you?" Raven asked.

"SILENCE!" The voice boomed.

Raven fell silent.

A few heartbeats past. The group spread out a bit.


"My guests. I grow intrigued at your actions, seemingly without motivations. I desire to know what drives you. I have devised a series of tests.

The first test, it seemed, was a simple one.



After a bit of Jiggling around, Overmind had thrown together a simple password-cracking program, decked into the shift-control panel and gained access to the voicerec database. He collared a passing Elf-poser and got him to record his voice - He knew the VOES already had his voice on file - He'd met a vessel of the bedamned thing already, and he didn't want it to keep knowing where he was all the time.

"So, you got the fragging thing working?" Belinda said, sashaying over from Deep Red.

Overmind grumbled.

"Good." Said Belinda. "Because I saw that weird message on the 3DTV boards a moment or two ago... And I want to have a look. Varos, Emmie, are you coming with me?"

The hulking forms of Redwing and Hachiman appeared behind her too.

The Elf-Poser didn't know it, but he was now a valuable commodity...


Kill each other? Raven contemplated the demand. Sounds pretty stupid, no way I'm going to kill any of my friends. But. Would they kill me? Raven span around, his eyes met those of each of his comrades in turn, it seemed they had all came to the same conclusion. Paranoia. Raven looked at Crystal, she watched him back. Raven noticed a smile creep across Crystal's face. Raven couldn't help but smile himself. He dropped both of his SMGs and held out his arms, Crystal stepped into his embrace. Everyone else watched this and realised what exactly they had been thinking mere seconds ago. Raven and Crystal parted, Raven picked up his weapons again. Chance yelled at the mysterious voice.

"Not a chance."

VOES had recorded the responses the runners had made to the demand, the data was filed away for interpretation. Now for the second test.....


DeadEye had watched the motley group step into an elevator and head upwards. He lowered his assault rifle, still his only means of vision. He spoke softly.

"They're gone, let's take a look at this room."

The girl nodded and creeped into room, her head moving back and forth as she examined the room. Peter followed, his weapon sweeping across the room as he, too, watched for danger.


Jessica Hayes watched Mary jack into the console, watched as her body stiffened for a moment before going limp. Jessica had never liked that aspect of decking, she always imagined that her body was empty as she cruised through the Matrix, that one day she might return to her body to find it occupied by someone or something else. Today, Jessica had seen people possessed by this VOES program. It was the epitomy of her fears made corporeal. She walked over to Mary and rubbed her shoulders, as if to comfort her. Mary, of course, never knew this had happened, being freed from physical sensation, searching the Arco network for an entrance into the VOES system.


She lept back as the figure approched with a lab coat. Deep down, in the forgoten, locked up part of her brain, there was something, however small, minute and unhearable that told her this man was different, and difference ment not to be trusted.

"Get away from her!" Polt snapped. "Who told you you could even look at her!"

"You ordered it, my master." Wolf said, submissivly.

"I said no such thing!" Polt took up an ornamental vase. "You say I lie? You dare call me a lier?"

"No" This word carried as much emotion and meaning as a brick.

"YOU! I said no good would come of this!" Polt flexed the cyber finger of his other arm, he was actually shaking. He took up the vase, propelling it acorss the room. It hit the side of Wolf's face, causeing him to bleed and probably have a slight headache at a later date. "Now, get out before I.......I.....before YOU! Yes you! You regret it!"

Wolf sulked out of the room, not seeming to care that his blood was staining the carpet.

"Now hand. Yes. You will be my new hand, You on my left, the other. Yes, yes, the other on my right!" He made his way along the Tank's, they vaguely reminded Highness of something, she couldn't recall and was only just awhere that they reminded her of something. "These.....These things, They won't be ready in time! No, we must act faster.....faster my hand. We need things now, can't wait for these.....Things, these inefficant bodies to come out and....." He seemed to cast his mind back to another time, flexing his cyber fingers again. "Be inefficent, like the last ones I foolishly became involved in. But you see.....You see now, I was going to make these....these wonders......make them perfect, not the rabble that came out of the last batch, no. Perfect, like you. Yes you, one I thought was a failure but turned out to be an....." He struggled for a word. "Angel....yes, thats it! Angel! One who follows instructions when they are given. yes, yes. But you see, that is impossible now. HE is here, HE will ruin it all, like his father ruined my perfect vison, but you see he won't really, because these things.....I have programmed them. They will be perfect. Yes, yes......perfect."

Polt paced along the room, while he was mad, he wasn't stupid. He was thinking, thinking deeply. Recalling lost memories. But for all Highness cared, it could have been a baboon scratching it's arse.

"But......" He said with much care and consideration. "They have him now.....Is he a threat? Can he ruin me again? How tight is thier he acting the fool? Ploting to kill me? Behind my back? Yes, I see it all now! You! You are here to stop him, aren't you? Well, I have protection. Yes, my new right hand. shall meet him, NOW!"

Polt threw the lab coat over Highness, it was certainly better then a dress at any rate. He then took her by the hand, he noticed her injured wing.

"INJURED! Who dares injure my creation! Something of such......such.....perfection....injured! NO! It was HIM wasn't it? He did this too you, didn't he? I knew it! I saw it.....Yes, yes......He will pay." The two walked into the Shift, where Wolf was alone, looking lost but still with a sense of purpose.


"YOU! You, you did this.....didn't you! DIDN'T YOU!" He gestured to the injured wing.


"LIES! How dare you! You hurt my magnificent being, then you LIE!" Polt hit him with the back of his cyber arm, Wolf winced in pain, yet tried to maintain full composure.

"I apologize, Master."

"Well.......well.......Erm." No one had actually said "I apologize" to Polt without begging for mercy before, after or during saying it. "Well, that's ok then....but, Get out of this shift and don't touch anything!"

"Yes Master."

Wolf walked out, Polt yelled a floor number into the shift. He.....They rather, were going to see his creation. Yes, the Ork, the cyber Ork. Hopefully he resists, so Polt gets a chance to use his pretty needles on him again.....pretty, pretty needles.


"Frag me....." The rabbit said to the fairy as it appeared next to him.

"What?" The fariy, A.K.A Mary according to the others asked. "Nice rabbit by the way." She added afterwards.

Bulldog could think of many witty responses to that comment, but wasn't going to.

"Your friends, are done for I'm afraid." The rabbit shook it's pink head. "The VOES have them trapped in an area that if we went to, well in our condtions we'd be killed."

"Your surgesting we leave them?" Bulldog really didn't want to have to say this. Even the fariy looked worried about it.

"No,I'm surgesting that they are runners right?"


"Well, they can look after themselves. Us lot, on the other hand. If we went charging up there yelling "DEATH AND GLORY!" we'd probably only make things worse. So I've been looking for a way out of this place, I think I've formed a plan."

"But....They are my friends."

"By the time we get to them, I'm afraid by what I've just found, they could be dead by the time we get there." The rabbit nuged the fairy with a big, dopey head. "Cheer up, at least we should be able to locate the other bar people."

"I guess your right....But then what?"

"Well, first we get to work on looking for the other Bar people, shouldn't be too hard. I guess I just got landed in the right place, at the right time. Just watch out for ICE< the ones in here are tricky bugers, lost a chunck out of my ear to one." The rabbit shook the damaged ear. "And then, when that's all said and done, We should be able to escape via the roof."

"The roof? But what about the guns?"

"Ah....I'm still working on that." The rabbit had a kind of embarassed grin, only a pink, big eared rabbit could manage. "But the point is, we need a plan now or we'll be hanging around this dumb forever."

"Yes but...." Bulldog had been dreading this. "There has to be something we can do for my friends, right?"

"Well...." said Bulldog reluctently, he knew he'd regret it. "We could.....find th location of the VOES....and...." These were the words he didn't really want to say. "Attack it?"


Back in the real word, Bulldog didn't feel much better. Mainly due to the fact that Red had smacked him around the head.

"You could have just asked!" Bulldog yelled at her, taking his eyes off the screen for a few seconds.

"I did ask, serveral times. And you ignored me each one!" Red lowered her hand. "Anyway, tell her to unplug, we have to save them!"

"Ugh, I've just explained this." He turned to the screen to tell Mary he'd "brb" then faced Red again. "Look, those people, are trapped. Goners, doen for. Charging in would only get us killed, now if you don't mind. Me and your friend are trying to get us a way out of here."

Red rolled her eyes and shook her head. She walked back over to Silvia.

"I say frag them, we should make our own rescue effort. Besides, if he was stupid enough to lose a leg, how can we trust him with this?" Silvia looked over at Mary. Then at Damocles. Would Damocles have enough strengh to do this, she wondered to herself. Red opened her mouth again. "He did, after all, shoot you."


"Mon fragger....mon fragger.....mon fragger..." Pierre continued to sob in the darkness of his bag. He was angry, yet he couldn't take out his anger. What an annoyance.

He heard a new voice, that of a woman. Another fragger to screw him over. Nobody ever said being a slave to VOES will was easy, but then again. Nobody ever said he'd be a slave.

"Will you shut up!" He heard somebody, hedidn't really annalyze the voice, shout at him. He decided to do just that, as he had a plan. If he helped the fraggers, then maybe, there was a chance....he'd have revenge upon them!

He laughed to himself, he'd have these fools and the VOES (Great be it's name) will never see him as fodder again!


Barkah stood in the doorway, almost like another wall. He was a tall Ork, and quite proud of it. He was also not one to move much, he didn't feel any need to step into the room. They'd only be rushing out soon, if he knew anything about human behavior. Always rushing, in and out. Nobody ever stops to think anymore really, nor to observe. And that's what Barkah was doing, thinking and observing.

The fact that he had his eyes closed made no difference. He coul hear, he didn't need to see. He folded his arms as the information from the scattered pieces of conversation were processed though his brain. He came to one conclusion....

No good could come of this!


Elsewhere, quite another large figure was doing something completely different. Jolly was still climbing, although he was loosing track of the Shift. This was ridiculous, it HAD to stop sooner or later. Jolly then remembered that Transys had more floors then he had fingers. And he was pretty sure that if he threw his toes in he wouldn't come close.

He considered giving up his persuit of the lift, yet, where else was there for him to go? He'd climb until he died at this rate. Yet, if he didn't climb he'd die anyway.

This just wasn't his day.


What a day. Working as assistant of Dr Polt, once again. But it was for the common good of the Master. It will soon recognize that he was better than Polt. Last BWG were not a failure, like he said. Those were a complete success... but you needed to gain their trust. Perfect soldiers meant they needed perfect trust and friendly manners. How would that crazy cyberguy would understand?

He started to rub on the wall, killing the time by staining the shift wall with lines of blood, of his wounds.
Once he finished that act... He gasped. He had not been thinking, yet those lines were displaying a message.


Nick wondered what the hell was that supposed to mean... After all, it could be nothing than a mere hit of luck, random lines that appeared in the wall. But... why he was feeling... so weird?

"I guess i need to take a nap. Master will understand"

The voice in his mind nodded.
Take your time. You need to regain strength
He was still recovering and was a bit weak.

As soon as he leaned back on his comfortable chair, he fell asleep.

A voice. A voice in his dreams.
A flash of light. Then he was sitting, in the room of his Vladivostok house.
He felt being lifted, and considerable small.
Then he heard a voice, that soaked him in tears.
"My little child"
His mother. He stirred to see the face. She was a really beatiful blonde elf... So much care and love that he would never grow tired of it.
The flash again.
He was being hold by a person, just like his mother, but with a different expression in her face. It was her aunt, Jade.
He stirred a bit more, and saw the coffin of his mother being dragged by people.
His father, with a sad expression, and a young girl... with oriental look. Her Aunt Mist Lotus.
And some more random people. But there was a new poerson, that had not been in the original memory. A figure covered in black robes, with a black hood covering the face, and a rifle in the hand.
Once again, the world exploded into the light.
Now Nick was holding a rifle. It was cold. They were outside. To hunt wolves. Nick had just killed his first wolf, and with a accurate shot. The deep voice of his father.
"Nickie. Congrats. You have hunted down... a Syberian Wolf."
Nick reacted to those words.
"Syberian Wolf... but that is... that was... I..."
And the world faded out once again.
The black caped man appeared again.
He uncovered his face. It was EXACTLY like Nick's one, with the exception of that he retained his original eyes... and was carrying a rifle, and militar clothing.
Nick gasped:
"You... You... wanted me to remember..."
The man approached him by the front.

Nicholas Alexeiv. I have shown what you were. But that you are not longer.

"What do you mean."

You are no longer Syberian Wolf. You are but a mere parody of your former self. You are dr Alexeiv. But nothing more.

"Who... who are you to say this."

I am what you were once, the part you liked so much, but that now... your dear "Master" has tried to sink into the nothing. But as you can guess I survived...You can call me Syberian Wolf,as I am the only and the one.

"Ha ha. You think the master will spare you? He knows my mind, and is connected with my brain"

Do not be mistaken.The brain is only but the main gate to the mind. But there are other gates and other parts where the mind is allocated. Besides, Your master cannot go too deep inside a brain. He cannot reach where we are. The dreams. The deep unconciusness.

"I... I...but..."

You are mine right now. I control your dreams. But... It is a shame... you still control the majority of the mind. I cannot go outside you know. Dreams are hard to remember, and most of the time you don't pay attention to them

"So... you are king of a prison?"

Exactly. And for good or bad, We need to collaborate. To gather again. To become the complete personality we were once.

And then the dream faded out. Wolf's conscient memory was only touched with the thought..."Old Personality is lost"

"Damn it. So this is the miracle of nature. The creation that surpassed the creators. I find it... deceiving."
Everyone stared at Eva, thinking on what the hell was supposing to mean that speech.


"Ugh, frag... I don't know what the hell that was all about." Wolf said, holding his aching head. It was inconceivable that the master - The protector - Could have left the installation of the cyberware faulty. The Doctor - Doctor Chakrit - On the other hand...

Wolf was still sitting in his bed when two greeneyes in nurse uniforms came for him.

"Brother Alexiev. We have noted your disturbing behaviour" The nurse said, smiling sweetly, angling her head in the direction of Wolf's mad blood-marks on the wall.

"For your own benefit, we request that you come with us. We want to see what is wrong."

Wolf considered. His head was hurting. The last night's dream, like all the others, had dissolved into the ether, leaving no trace.

Wolf went along happily, of his own free will.


"Hmm." Said the Green-eyed Doctor, unplugging the cable from Wolf's Datajack. "I have detected the cause of the fault. Funny how a few misfiring neurons can cause you to write things on the wall in your own blood, but this should stop it." She said.

She clipped a small device into Wolf's datajack.

"This will keep you awake for 23 hours a day. You won't feel tired - Our protector has refined our food and bodies to the point where we could do without sleep entirely if we needed to. I'll seal it in with resin. You'll need a doctor to unblock it from your datajack."

"Thanks Doctor." Wolf said, smiling.

He walked back into the shift that took him back up to his work floor, and his allocated section of the luxury floor - A huge room that had been divided up by 0ctopu5 drones into 8.

A woman was standing by his door. Green grade, waiting for him...


The people in the oval room waited. No-one seriously considered killing each other.

Then the gas started to creep closer. Closer, closer...

They shrank back from it's surface, having seen its horrifying effects firsthand.

Crystal bumped against Alanya - Who spun round, fumbling for a weapon. Crystal got a MUNDI service pistol jabbed into her forehead.

"Get that fragging thing away from me." She growled, seeing the safety catch was still on. She knocked the pistol from her hand.

Alanya was about to apologize, but remained defiant.

"Cool off." Chance broke them up. "No one do ANYTHING. This thing's just toying with us."

They backed into a circle, drawing ever tighter as the gas drew in. Eventually they were bunched in the centre, the gas mere inches away.

"Looks like... This... Is the end..." Gasped Crystal, scared to breath lest the strange, semmingly intelligent gas cloud be drawn in.

Suddenly the gas rolled back.

Sounds could be heard from the cloud - Whirring.


Crystal reached into her bag and came out with her three EMP grenades. She tossed one to Eva and one to Chance.

"Dunno if they'll do any good - Looks like we'll have to fight anyway!"

And then the drones were upon them, shooting from the mist at top speed, unharmed by its flesh-eating properties.

There were Six Octopu5. Crystal overarmed her EMP grenade at them. It didn't kill them, but it seemed to startle them, like a flashbang would do to unenhanced humans. The Drones would have crashed right into the group and torn them apart. Now they stopped, stalled crashed and were otherwise thrown off-guard.

Now the 'runners had the initiative.

"ATTACK!" Chance screamed.

Eva was alarmed by a voice just next to her.

"Hello Eva."

She recognised the voice. She hadn't seen the new figure - It had just appeared from a concealed circular hole in the floor that closed after her. And she was behind Eva.

Eva whirled.

"My, Mist Lotus... What nice Blue Eyes you have..."

Mist Lotus smiled, then attacked with blinding speed...


Eva felt a punch landing in her face, then dropping to the ground.
"You like to play, Mist Lotus. But hear me. You have no chance."

"Why? I am far superior than puny humans, and even superior than the average blue eyes. I know a wide array of martial arts."

"Because... you wanted to be different from my original trainer. Your sister, Jade."

With an agile jump Eva was back into action. She adopted a pose, wich looked an average martial arts pose, but when Mist Lotus saw it, her eyes flashed.

"The Power Dragon Stance!? How!? Who!?" she said.


The lift clicked floor after floor, and finally reached it's destination. The doors whooshed open, and Polt, still talking quietly to himself, ushered Highness with him along still-silent corridors. Occasionally, a purple-eyed soldier opened a door, or stood aside to let them pass.

They came to the door. Room number 345A. These doors were large, metallic, and would open by being wound up. Polt looked into the iris reader quickly, and they began to open.

"My daughter, so pretty, it is time for you to meet your brother. He is not like you, no, he was once... a lesser being. Now, he is your sibling, and the tool for our escape, yes, prescious escape, from this mechanical labyrinth of an arcology.

Highness could see the bare white room coming into view. There were two wrecked drones near the end, and, behind them, sitting on a hard bed, and looking bemused, an Ork, with a large cybernetic apparatus implanted into his upper back, and purple cybereyes.

"Mr. Bonekurk? I've read up about you, from the flimsy ID you had in your old cybereyes. Very short, but enough to make sure that no-one will miss you - and I cincerely doubt that any corporation or countrie's record knows you exist."

The ork stood up, bemused, raised one huge fist, and moved slowly around the glass wall, towards Polt. Closer and closer.


The cyber shock from the cybereyes sent Tank to the floor.

"Don't try that again, Mr. Bonekurk, the eyes are monitoring your mental patterns continously, and - dare I say it - even might know, yes, know, what you are thinking. You are here, alive, so to speak, yes, that shoulds right, solely for the purpose of aiding me, and your sibling, in our inevitable escape from this facility."


"The VOES? That computer? Are you sure that it is behind this?"
"Take it from me, it's the only thing that could in here. Sealed enviroment"
"But... how? And how could we destroy it? This place is huge!"
"Huge, maybe, but if we can call up some kind of plan, we could perhaps find the control core. Go to the source, and eliminate. Standard Goblin... I mean standard military technique, yes... if that recording of you, maam, has lured those people to follow it's directions, deleting it will be too late now. We must act! Glory to the Revolution!"

Raven edged back as Eva and the newly returned Mist Lotus exchanged bone crushing blows. Eva screamed something about a trainer named Jade before adopting an apparently standard stance. Mist Lotus gasped at the position before stammering.

"The Power Dragon Stance! How?"

Eva smiled and lunged forward. Both of her hands snaking forwards towards Mist Lotus' chest. Eva struck hard, her victim fell onto the ground, gasping for air. Eva leaned back and smirked before speaking.

"Short on breath my dear?"

Mist Lotus' blank, blue eyes stared back at Eva while she got back onto her feet.


She wheezed. The asian assassin struck her own pose, hands outstretched and feet spread apart. Eva mocked her.

"You really think The Hidden Scorpion will work on my Power Dragon stance?"

Mist Lotus didn't reply, she edged forward. Raven took his chance.
He cocked both of his SMGs and stepped towards Mist Lotus.

"Hands up. We gotcha covered baby!"

Mist Lotus shifted slightly. Eva yelled at Raven.

"Get outta the way you nullnuts!"

Raven turned his head to look at Eva just as Mist Lotus sprang towards him, aiming her fist at his neck. Just as her hand reached Raven's exposed throat her fist opened as her index finger thrust itself into Raven's neck. Raven's turning his head towards Eva probably saved his life, not that the blow didn't do any damage anyway. Raven dropped his guns onto the ground before shortly following them himself, his face thudded onto the floor with a sickening crunch. Raven grabbed at his neck as he felt the blood thumping in his ears, something wasn't right! He tried to draw in air, no such luck. Mist Lotus had tried to collapse his wind pipe with a single finger! As he convulsed with asphixia Eva and her opponent continued to strike each other with blinding speed. Crystal dropped to one knee, draping an arm protectively around Raven as he thrashed about like a freshly caught fish.

Chance and Ash wheeled about, still aware of the octupu5 drones around them. The drones hadn't moved since Mist Lotus had engaged Eva in combat, were they waiting for a specific signal? Were they still disabled by the EMP grenades? How long till the EMP wore off?


Things weren't going well Jessica thought. Ever since that fake Mary had appeared on the massive vid-screen things weren't going to plan. Jessica recognised the names Crystal and Chance when the pseudo-Mary had beckoned them to some upper floor, Jessica smelt a trap but there wasn't much she could do about it.....


Peter had examined the room briefly, the weird group who had preceeded them had left no trace of their passing. Peter still didn't know if they were 'converted' guards or armed escapees. Sally made her way back to Peter.

"Whatcha think there? Wot' now?"

Peter had to think for a while before answering.

"Let's see if we can follow those people who went up the elevator, they didn't seem to be unfriendlies."

Peter couldn't see any other alternative. Find some allies and get out or be assimilated like the others.


Chance opened fire, three five-round bursts easily wrecking the trio of drones as if they were made of tissue paper, DU rounds punching fist-sized holes in the chrome surfaces. Two dropped to the floor hissing... another one went into a wild 360 spinning dance off into the mist, its guidance systems shattered by the bullets.

All too easy... Chance thought.

But then both he and Ash knew that it was a temporary reprive... VOES had them penned in the room by the mist, and that meant that it could throw everything at them at its whim or fancy.
Ash thought about it, then brought her flamethrower to her shoulder with a meaningful gesture to Chance, flipping off the safety and pointing its muzzle into the mist.

There's no choice... It will kill us sooner or later. At least this way we will have a chance if it works.

If not... At least its fast, quick and final. And it might even get VOES in the blast.

Chance looked into her eyes, then removed his left hand from his readied rifle and reached for her hand. He squeezed it... and prepared for either their salvation or their doom.

Ash pulled back the trigger, letting a blue blowtorch of pure heat into the chemical-smelling mist.

Her gamble worked.

The application of heat seemed to initate chemical changes within the corrosive gas... Instead of the normal white, the roiling cloud of poison around them turned into a bluish hue as it interacted with the napalm in the flamethrower, the heat in the air, and the various gases in the atmosphere. Then it precipitated out... turning into a gentle snow of purplish particles that settled all along the length and breadth of floor that Ash's flamethrower had cleared.

Some of it settled on Ash's red hair, turning it blue. It was inert... harmless!

"We're in business!" Chance hollered as the mist around them faltered under the flamethrower assault... revealing a path through the deadly haze.


Meanwhile the exchange of swift hits continued.
In the breaks during the intense martial arts, both Eva and Mist Lotus exchanged taunts.

"Mist Lotus. Didn't you remember you didn't like cyberware...?"

"But I was blind, cyberware is great. Now I can fight face to face with opponents like you and Dragon"

Eva smiled.
"But leaving your magic potential on the trash. With that amount of cyberware, i doubt you can't create any battle aura."
She stopped, and started to build up astral energy.
"You see, we also were gifted with magic. And Jade showed us how to create battle auras."

And then, a small, glowing disruption of astral space appeared around her, shaking the hearts with a warm and gentle heat.
The aura of Hope. The first effect of the aura was these, but soon the pain relief and stamina boost would appear...

Mist lotus stayed in disbelief. Frag it. Even Zeal would not make her win the battle. But she could not retreat... The Master would not allow it.
But she was not like all of the other blue eyes. A retreat at time could be a victory, in some ways.

Meanwhile, Eva taunted.
"Michelle... what will Wolf think of your attitude?"


"Ok," said Mary to the rabbit, "We should try and locate any of our friends as well, you know. Why are you here anyway"
"I was uh... on a business trip, with some other goblins. They're here somewhere..."

"Well, I know someone I know was on another shift, being taken up here. He got hurt, and was loaded onto a different one than us. Some crazy dog-gobbo almost mauled me as well, but she was on our side"
"Dog gobbo! That might be Nixie! Where is she!"


Polt looked at Highness.
"This is the first step, the first, yes, the opening moves against the computer here. It has taken me from my work, and for that, it shall pay dearly, my child. You shall be here for the glory."

He turned, and walked out of the room, two of the guardsmen outside - with purple cybereyes - running in, and heaving up the unconcious body of Tank onto a cart, before moving it off after him. Highness stood still for a moment, and turned to follow.


Red was bored.

"Stupid fraggers, what the frag are they fragging doing, we should be getting out of here, frag..." she pushed her way past Jessica, and out of the shift control room. It smelt vaguely brimy out here, and she didn't like it, although it was better than inside.

The trogg of an ork had even crushed her spy drone. She'd liked that one, it had been her favourite. She'd have to get him back or something.

Another ork was lumbering around outside, stupid fragger. He had the body of some dumb Transys woman over his shoulder too, for whatver fragging reason.

"Out of my way, fragger." Despite the acres of room, she still felt the need to push past the ork. He didn't reply, but his eyes followed her, as she moved away, kicking at piping.

"What you looking at, huh? Dumb Ork!"

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