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It's Just A Game Mods ([personal profile] itsjustthemads) wrote in [community profile] itsjustagamerp2013-01-19 03:58 pm

Experiment #35 - The Thirteenth - Chapter 4

The Thirteenth - Chapter 4
By L.A. Banks

*Sora walks into the theater and seats himself with a groan*
Sora: Got this story again?

Pinkie: Yep! You want some grey popcorn?
Aqua: Shouldn’t the popcorn be white?
Pinkie: That was before I tried making it yellow!
Sora: ...You tried making it yellow with butter, right?
Pinkie: ...yeppers! I used all the paint up on me!
Sora: ...Okay! *he grabs some and gives it a taste.* Not bad!

Sweating, nauseous, he pulled his wife behind him with one hand and held the heavy flashlight with the other, running.

Aqua: I don’t think most flashlights are really heavy...
Sora: Maybe it comes with a month’s worth of extra batteries built right in!

The sound of flesh being torn away from bone was far behind them, but the pants of their breaths and the smell of their humanity in the tight confines made him know it wouldn’t be long before the ravenous hordes sought them out.

Sora: New Tide Detergent, now with the fresh smell of humanity!
Pinkie: There’s ravenous hordes? But I haven’t been to the Mirror Pool in AGES!
Sora: ...The what?
Pinkie: Oh, that’s how I make more of me when I DON’T have super powers.
Sora: *trying to picture this and kind of amazed*
Aqua: ...I suppose that makes sense.

The door in sight was their only salvation and he kept his blurred vision trained on that. Frank Weinstein turned and caught his wife as she stumbled, grabbing her by her arm and her shirt to urge her forward.

Sora: So...who are these people?
Pinkie: Frank Weinstein! And Frank’s Wife!
Aqua: I don’t know, but they’re apparently on the run.

He couldn’t expend energy on words. They had to move. He could hear the squeaking mass starting to move. Survival depended on staying ahead of the rats.

Pinkie: *gasp* Oh NO! Are they trying to overthrow Atlantis again?
Sora: *horrified* If a giant octopus or that fish-in-the-box thing shows up again, I’m leaving.

He reached the panic bar on the door, thrusting his body against it with all his might. But the heavy steel door didn’t budge.

Sora: Looks like he found a ‘Don’t Panic’ bar instead.

His wife covered her head with her arms and released a wail of despair as she sank to the damp ground. He tried again, throwing his body against metal and concrete until he heard a rib crack. Then his fists bore out his frustration as he banged and yelled into the nothingness, the flashlight dropping to his feet to reveal what was heading toward them--a crawling river of plague-carrying death.

Sora: And all of them dressed as horrible racial stereotypes!
Pinkie: Awwww, and here I thought they weren’t racists!
Sora: That’s just what the rats would want the Atlanteans to think!

His wife’s screams made him sob.

Pinkie: She’s probably just upset because she still doesn’t have a name of her own!

If she had at least made it.

Aqua: But... she did?
Sora: Is his wife the one screaming or sobbing or...both...?

If she weren’t there. If he weren’t impotent to protect her or his son! Why was God punishing his family?

Sora: I don’t know, why are you blaming God for a bunch of badly-drawn rats?
Pinkie: He should probably blame Italy.

As Frank gathered his wife into his arms, the couple huddled against the locked door. He put his body between her and the onslaught, hoping to buy her a few moments more while also praying that she’d have a heart attack before they ate out her eyes.

Aqua: How... kind?
Sora: That’s kind of an...oddly specific wish.

“Yo! Yo! Anybody down there?” a strong male voice bellowed into the abyss.

Sora: *as Mr. Weinstein* There’s no Yoyos down here, JUST RATS!
Pinkie: *GASP* The rats got Yo-Yo Ma? NOW who’ll play the cello at the gala?

“Help us--the rats are coming!” A collective wail greeted the question as the Weinsteins began banging on the door with open palms.

Sora: Not quite as quotable as ‘The British are coming,’ but I guess it’ll work.

“Get back from the door--we gotta blow it!”

The couple scampered backward, falling against the rocky surface as they monitored the oncoming, writhing threat.

A sudden blast deafened them as they covered their heads and bright lights and dust stung their eyes.

Sora: Great idea! Let’s blow up the story!

“Get those people outta there!” a loud voice yelled.

“Yo, Phat G--flamethrowers, man!” another voice hollered.

Sora: *fistpump* Yeah! This story just got awesome!

Strong arms pulled the dazed couple from the tunnel.

“Go, go, go!”

Chaos surrounded the Weinsteins. People in military fatigues and weapons. Flamethrowers. Their ears ring, their vision was blurred. Their bodies were being pulled and shoved to safety. Sewer water sloshed in their shoes and the stench filled their noses and mouths. Gunfire report

Pinkie: Gunfire Report: a bunch of rats got shot today! NOW TO SPORTS!
Sora: And in politics: does our nation need better panic bars on sewer doors?

and the heat from flamethrowers gave them the strength to climb up an iron ladder. A strong soldier flipped open a street manhole

Aqua: Why were they in the sewers in the first place?
Pinkie: Maybe they were trying to make friends with the rats?
Aqua: I don’t think it worked very well, then.
Sora: Maybe they were treasure-hunting! There’s always a bunch of chests left down in sewers.

and brandished a weapon. They watched as he quickly drew himself out and then turned around to pull them into the fresh air.

Using a machine-gun barrel, the soldier motioned toward a covered military truck. “Get in and get your head down.”

Sora: *as soldier* I’m gonna teach these rats the meaning of LOSS!

There was no time for questions. If they’d been abducted by the government, it was still survival.

Sora: You gotta wonder why that’s the first conclusion they jumped to...
Pinkie: I thought they were throwing them an army-themed surprise party!

The couple looked at each other and then complied, running toward the vehicle. Women in fatigues with hard eyes and toting weapons pulled them into the truck and gathered a tarp.

“Listen,” a tall African-American woman with braids in her hair said. “We’re the New York squad, all right. We got Monk Lin’s SOS. We’re friends of your son, and gonna get you somewhere safe.”

Aqua: Safe from... the rats?
Pinkie: Unless they have the Elixir of Life! Then they’ll take over the WOOOOOORLD!

“I’m Carmen, that’s Adrienne with the braids, and Roshida--ex-cop and sure shot--and Chantay--from up south...South Carolina, who’s gonna get us through the mountains,” another shorter woman replied, handing the Weinsteins a bottle of water.

Sora: Everyone knows rats can’t climb mountains!
Aqua: They’ll go through it instead. Unless there’s a Balrog, I guess.
Pinkie: *sniffle* Not Mithratdir!

“Glad we got to you in time, was literally a monster getting up here from Harlem,” the soldier pointed out, as Roshida said.

Sora: So they...literally...rode a monster from Harlem?
Aqua: Maybe... it’s a monster truck?
Sora: That could work!

Carmen nodded. “No lie. But we want you to know that we’re not some terrorists kidnapping you--that’s why we’re giving you names.

Pinkie: We’re terrorists kidnapping you and inducing STOCKHOLM Syndrome! That’s TOTALLY different!

We don’t want you afraid of us, all right? We lost a lotta good men trying to get to you to help you.”

The couple looked up from where they sat on the truck floor, uncertain, eyes wide with terror, but nodded in agreement nonetheless.

Adrienne gave the other female Guardians a look. “They’re gonna be all right. Just need time.”

Sora: *gasp* So the Easter Bunny saved them from the rats!
Pinkie: And the Tooth Fairy! Wow, they must floss a LOT!
Aqua: It does explain why they were so afraid of the rats.

“Yeah,” Carmen said quickly, and then looked at the Weinsteins, trying to get through to them. “Lisa was the little chick on the flamethrower that got the rats. Nyya was on your six keeping back demons in the sewer till we could get topside.

Sora: Nyancat was fighting demons? ...Awesome!

Phat G blew the door, and my boys the Professor and Rene will be driving.

Pinkie: Then when we get home, the Professor’ll give you both your Pokedexes!
Sora: *sings* ...And Mary-Aaaaanne!

If you haven’t noticed, the world has gone crazy. Me, Phat G, and the rest of the squad got your backs. We’ve gotta go through a coupla military checkpoints and pass through like we’re military--hiding in plain sight. That’s why you’ve gotta go under the tarp.

Sora: Brilliant! The military will never think to check under tarps.

Don’t panic, Mr. and Mrs. Weinstein...we’re not gonna hurt you. We’re trying to save your lives, cool?”

Aqua: They’re being awfully insistent about that...

As the back flap of the truck opened, and more soldiers piled in, the diesel engine engaged, lurching the truck forward.

“All clear. Move out!” a bulky soldier with dreadlocks shouted.

Sora: And so, the Von Trapps went to escape into Switzerland.
Pinkie: There should be more singing in this story. And cake!

Carmen pounded on the truck frame and repeated the command. “Yo, Professor--Phat G said to move out!” She looked at the couple on the floor and handed them the tarp. “You all cool? You know what to do?”

Sora: *as Carmen* Well are you cool?! ARE YOU?!? You better be cool, or we’ll see how you cool you are with those rats!

The Weinsteins looked around, dazed,and simply nodded, still shaken as they guzzled the offered water and then hid.

Cordell left the safe house in Georgetown, not caring what his fellow Guardians had to say. The darkside had killed his Dougie,

Pinkie: And now he can’t teach ANYBODY to Dougie anymore!
Aqua: There are Heartless in this world?
Sora: ...And one of them killed Dug the dog?! *looks horrified*
Pinkie: No, Doug’s fine! He’s just in a Plothole now!
Sora: Ohhh.

his protege...a young Guardian that was more like a son to him than anything in the world. What else could they do to him?

Sora: You know when you say something like that, that’s when something worse will happen.

Death would be an honorable conclusion. D.C. had gone insane.

Troops in jeeps, Humvees, and armored vehicles criss-crossed the city grid, sweeping the terrain with flamethrowers to exterminate rates,

Pinkie: Rates are going DOWN, DOWN, DOWN! It’s the perfect time to buy!

stray rabid dogs, anything that didn’t seem normal.

Aqua: But how do they define normal?
Pinkie: Anything not part of the Supreme Race of Daleks, silly!

Tanks rolled down Sixteenth Street and guarded bridges. Black Hawk helicopters nearly blotted out the sun. The occasional F-16 fighter jets soared in formation overhead.

Sora: You’d think all these helicopters and fighter jets would end up running into each other.

He knew what the remaining team feared, that the authorities would see him walking down the street, dazed, and assume he was one of the walkers

Aqua: that what’s wrong?
Sora: He should probably be more worried if he looks like a rat or something.
Aqua: It could be zombies. Looking like a rat would be pretty bad though.
Sora: Or rat zombies.

--and then torch him on sight. Maybe. Maybe not. Or he would take a single shot to the head by a military sniper, just for being considered a threat. Every soldier was on high alert. He was an old, out of shape black man ambling down the street as though the world hadn’t changed. His teammates said he was crazy for insisting he go alone. He’d be gunned down, detained, or possibly attacked by the walkers, feral stray animals, or worse.

Sora: Worse, he could find Atlantis!

But that wouldn’t stop him. He had work to do.

Sora: *as Cordell* data entry job...

A priest had come to him in a daydream, more like a vision. An older man with a shock of silver-gray hair and a Templar crest had shown him a series of carvings on a wall that moved when pressed hard.

The hieroglyphs opened a facade that hid a secret room that had standing knights in armor with medallions on their chests.

Sora: Make sure you pick the carpenter’s cup!

Each of the four medallions linked together to create a key that fit into a specific east wall brick. Turning the key gave way to what was behind the door--a long cooridor that opened out to a wider room. There was a single bench table at the center of it. The walls were bare, just highly polished stone. Wall torches sputtered.

Aqua: Who’s been keeping the torches lit? The rats?
Sora: I feel like I’m playing a temple spheres puzzle in Final Fantasy X.

Then he’d seen the stone floor that had prone statues of dead Templars in the four corners of the room.

Pinkie: At least the Assassins have been keeping busy!

The one guarding the western cardinal point held a scroll in his hand. This was the map he was to find. He saw the engraved medallion on the stone statue and then looked at the key in his hand, fumbling to separate out the four medallions he held.

Sora: So the question is: is Nicholas Cage or Brendan Fraser playing Cordell here?

Setting the right one from the western armored knight into the carved stone replica of it and turning it made the wide slate floor tiles around the prone statue drop four inches. He looked closer and in the dusty space was a parchment roll.

Sora: And the scroll says: “You can’t get ye flask!”

Cordell looked up, suddenly coming out of his medium’s daze to find himself standing in front of the Scottish Rites Temple. How he’d gotten there he wasn’t quite sure.

Pinkie: He followed the fairy lights! Now he’s gonna change his fate!
Aqua: Are bears really better than rats?

That much didn’t matter. The Fact that he’d made it alive did.

Maybe the reason the soldiers hadn’t shot him, even though he was walking down Sixteenth Street, was because they viewed him as just an old man heading in the direction of Columbia Road and Harvard Street, an intersection that held All Souls Church, National Baptist Memorial Church, and the former Church of the Latter-Day Saints that was now a Unitarian church. Perhaps there was some mercy in their hearts, no matter what their training dictated, and they’d let old folks that reminded them of their parents and grandparents go into a house of worship to lie down and die.

Sora: Sheesh, this guy even turns being alive into something dark and depressing.
Aqua: Maybe he can be Eeyore’s friend?
Sora: Eeyore’s got better taste than that.
Pinkie: I bet Marvin the Paranoid Android would like him.

He didn’t know. Didn’t care. He just scratched his balding head, wondering how the time had escaped him.

Sora: *sings* Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’...

Not lingering, Cordell rushed up the steps and entered the abandoned grand hall. Nothing was locked; people had fled, the power was out. He didn’t need lights.

The vision guided him, pulling him around corners, taking him down stairwells, making his breaths labor as he wielded his heft at a frantic pace.

Sora: He’ll just hallucinate his way there!
Aqua: He’ll wake up tomorrow to find it was all a dream.

But as soon as he entered the chamber that held the four armored knights, an immovable force gripped him and held him firm. Terrified, he struggled against the supernatural hold, his heart pounding in his ears. It had been a trap!

Sora: If only he’d listened to Admiral Ackbar!

He wasn’t armed; had to be that way in case he got stopped by military street patrols. The younger Guardians had been right. Now the darkside had him!

Sora: Quick, climb up its arms and beat it in the head! It’ll go down fast that way.
Pinkie: Or you could shoot it with FRIENDSHIP!

To his horror, a sword unsheathed from the scabbard of the western standing knight just as the force thrust him onto his knees. The weapon flew at him, but didn’t cut, hovered only an inch away from his neck, then gently lowered to his right shoulder and then his left, before clattering to the floor.

Sora: Cool, telekinetic knighting.

When he looked up, the warrior-priest of his vision stood before him with a sad smile. He had on the same medallion with a heart on a cross pierced by a dagger and crowned by a ring of thorns.

“Only a Templar knight can know our secrets,” the priest said. “I am Patrick.

Sora: *as Patrick* I want you to name a holiday after me where you wear green and drink beer.

Memorize the maps. Use them to feed the remaining teams.

Aqua: I’m not sure that’s the best use of a map...
Sora: I don’t think maps are all that tasty anyway.

You may pass. Ex Orient Lux...ex Occidente Lex. From the East comes Light, from the West comes Law. Follow the Light for knowledge as you head west toward the mountains to establish new laws”

Pinkie: Law Number One: everybody gets their very own trampoline!
Sora: Law Number Two: no rats allowed. Especially in Atlantis!
Aqua: Law Number Three: Eat all the maps. All of them.

Within the span of a blink, the apparition of the priest was gone.

Carlos rubbed the perspiration from his face with his forearm and waited in the shadowed hallway with Damali. The cool sanctuary, while beautiful and still, put him en garde.

Sora: It’s a fencing sanctuary!

There were columns and shadows everywhere. Corners he couldn’t see around, obstructions of view, and a hundred places something could slither out from. The fact that he was standing on hallowed ground brought little comfort. He’d seen Father Patrick attacked by the Ultimate Darkness with his own eyes while standing in a cathedral.

Sora: The Darkness attacked Patrick with his eyes?!
Aqua: I... guess it could have eye lasers.

Who knew if this particular church’s history or the behavior of the presiding clerics would be enough of a barrier? He didn’t have that information.

Sora: So...if you have clerics with a bad rep, your church is vulnerable to demon attacks?
Aqua: Maybe they just haven’t learned Turn Undead yet.

And that was the overall problem--the lack of information.

But he was sure that his side seemed to be losing.

Sora: Everyone’s a Negative Nancy in this story.

Father Patrick had been attacked by the Devil and sacrificed by the Light.

Imam Asula had been murdered at the hands of ignorant men.

Pinkie: Nooooooo, I’m pretty sure that was really the giant octopus’s fault.

Rabbi Zeitloff had been assassinated by possessed creatures.

Monk Lin was on the run.

The Covenant was no more.

A three-year-old baby and her grandmother had almost been killed.

Sora: If this is supposed to be the apocalypse, I’m pretty sure more than one baby and grandmother has had that problem.

A warrior’s parents were in flight with the remnants of the Guardian squad.

Pinkie: Everybody loves the sleigh!
Sora: I don’t blame them!
Aqua: Neither do I, if it’s anything like a Glider.

There was a wanted dead or alive bounty on his team’s heads.

And he was stuck just outside the Bermuda Triangle during U.S. martial law with Hellfire bearing down on him, his wife, and his squad.

Sora: But luckily, he’d just saved a ton on his car insurance by switching to Geico!

This was bullshit. His heart broke for the elderly clerics. The loss was so visceral that he was beyond pain, simply numb. Those guys went all the way back to his beginning, his first steps toward redemption when Father Pat first found him. Their deaths tore open a fresh wound just remembering that. Now they were gone, their lives lost in the foulest way possible.

Aqua: Ah. The sewers, then.
Sora: Ewwww.

Carlos allowed his head to drop back for a moment and he took in a deep breath before opening his eyes. It disturbed him to no end that, at a critical time like this, his gut instinct was way off by a long shot.

Pinkie: It’s okay. Not everybody can be Stephen Coltbert.

He should have gotten those horrible images, not her. He should have been the one to intercept them and filter the transmission of information to her verbally, not have such gore taking root in his pregant wife’s mind.

Sora: Aaaand back to no clue what’s going on. I knew that’d kick in eventually.

But right now, for whatever reason, Damali’s second-sight was ridiculously strong, just like it seemed as though the other female seers on the squad had increased in their ability to pick up the subtlest changes in the environment. But he and his boys were missing everything.

Aqua: Why do they need him to, if they have seers?
Sora: Maybe his second sight needs glasses.
Aqua: ...Maybe.

That was not good. Not at a time when they should have been on point protecting precious cargo.

Sora: Aww, he should’ve said “packages,” then there would’ve been some great alliteration.
Pinkie: Per my perspective as a perky pink pony, I agree!
Aqua: Plus this punster’s perspective, I propose perfect unity.

He looked at his wife, a deep sense of reverence overtaking him as he watched prisms of sunlight wash over her beautiful, cinnamon-brown skin. Her eyes were closed, her thick natural lashes dusting her cheeks. She bit her plump bottom lip, an endearing nervous habit that just made her expression prettier in his eyes. Shards of stained-glass color dappled her face and played over her shoulders and throat, splashing against her white tank top.

Sora: Mary Sue girl! I remember her! Still looking cinnamon-y.
Pinkie: Mmmmm...cinnamon...

The delicate cleft in her throat fluttered with each long inhalation and exhalation that she drew in while trying to sense who and where their contact for a charter would be.

Pinkie: She can smell charters?
Sora: I’m not really sure if that skill is useful or not.
Aqua: Only in close quarters.

Her breasts were full and her face was beginning to round ever so slightly, although she wasn’t showing yet. Even her aura was different...more serene, stronger. He could envision her nude with her broad, white wings out,

Sora: ...She’s Joshua?!
Pinkie: She’s Princess CELESTIA?!

belly full and slowly moving with life, her graceful hands covering her breasts...his angel...his reason for existence.

Sora: *picturing pregnant!Joshua and immediately makes a face*
Pinkie: *makes a similar face*

And they’d taken her stage away from her, making her a fugitive so that she couldn’t sing for the world. Could never perform live in concert...couldn’t jam with the team band

Aqua: *crosses her arms* Why can’t she jam with the band?
Sora: Maybe her contract is up.
Pinkie: Maybe things have just gotten so bad that she can’t remember the taste of jam.

to the thunderous applause she so rightly deserved. That was a high crime, if ever he witnessed one.

Sora: Yeah, the zombies, killer rats, people being shot in the street, demons and Sir Patrick Importantguy getting killed by the devil? That’s just apocalypse stuff. But not getting to sing? THE WORST OF CRIMES.
Pinkie: ...ohmygosh, that was Sir Patrick STEWART? No wonder things have gotten so bad!

It just wasn’t right that he and the baby would probably be her only audience from now on. He only hoped that would be enough, and he’d try his best to make up for the darkside’s robbery.

Sora: I don’t know if Darksides normally go around stealing peoples’ singing careers. That’s more Ursula’s thing.
Aqua: ...Well, I suppose most Heartless don’t really sing. So... I guess in a sense they could?
Sora: I *guess* if you wanted to get technical about it.
Pinkie: They should just go on Equestrian Idol. It’s probably easier!
Aqua: Provided they can remember to not attack the hosts. That’s probably a disqualification right there.
Sora: Well, at least there were a couple cool things in this chapter.
Aqua: A couple, yeah.

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