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 Post subject: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:51 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:28 pm
Posts: 97
At exactly 06:01 standard Cybertronian time, the sun rose.

The surface of Lake Fortune was perfectly still, as it had been for years now, this despite the sound of waterfowl also beginning to filter in with the dawn. Like the orange sphere overhead, the bird calls were artificial. The water was crystal clear and deep blue, purified through carefully maintained underground filters. The small beach area measured exactly ten meters from the green grass to the lake's edge, and the trees behind the beach towered dozens of meters overhead, unlike anything recorded before; artificial, technorganic creations that prospered far better in the recycled atmosphere and unchanging earth of the camp.

Lights on the outside of what appeared to be wooden cabins flickered on dully; the illumination would slowly fade as the sun grew more intense, before turning off at 07:00 hours, only to light once more when the sun began to set at 18:01 PM. Along with the rising sounds of wildlife, the sounds of the nightlife; crickets, strange lizards, and the like disappeared almost immediatly.

As it had every day, Camp Infinitech came to 'life', or the artifical semblance of it. The walls and cieling, hundreds of meters overhead blocked out any sense of the space outside, a small self-contained world.

The shuttle maneuvered itself into the docking bay, which was devoid of any other vehicles. From here, it was about a short walk through a corridor to the station biosphere, and a good mile or so through the technorganic woods to the camp. As the doors hissed shut behind it, the shuttle landed gently and its doors slid open. Sunset peered through the shuttle's viewing screen from her spot at the pilot's seat, smiled at Fenrir in the co-pilot's seat, and looked over her shoulder at the others.

"Alright, we're clear. Automated startup, just like Pestilence said."

"Party over here!" Sin said as he stood up, arms raised. "Booyah!" He clapped Prism on the shoulder, hard enough to earn a glare from the firefly, and did the same to Threatener, who complained.

"Ow. Why'd we bring your OCD manic-depressive friend again, cuz?" He asked Prism.

"He invited himself, and implied that he'd tell the authorities we were going if we didn't let him." Prism replied lowly. "When I mentioned that he's wanted by the authorities, he invited himself even more adamantly."

The assorted 'bots climbed out of the shuttle, looking around the sterile, spotless docking bay- one of the only parts of the biosphere station that hadn't been touched by its eerie brand of false naturalization. Pestilence ooh'd and ahh'd over some of the technological trappings. Sunset walked by Crucifix, briefly catching his eye, and offered him a warm smile. Crucifix smiled back, and nodded at her, moving to stand a little closer than he had been.

Fenrir for her part took a step out and groaned. "Seriously? We get off Dustball and are back on Cybertron for what, five cycles before we're back out in nature? Gragh."

"It's fascinating." Pestilence replied as they unloaded a few boxes of various essentials- mostly booze- from the shuttle and started to carry it through the walkway. "It's cybernetic nature; mechanical parts blended with cultivated organic components. The sky isn't just a hologram, it also has thermal emitters and ventilators to give off warmth, cold, wind, scent. It'll be great to really look at this place and see what we can learn from it."

"You do know how to party." Fenrir said to her.

"Well...it's not like I brought a date." Pestilence shrugged, and smiled a little.

"That can change," Sin said with a grin.

"Guh. Say that again and I'll shove my shotgun so f-"

"Guys, guys," Threatener said, raising his hands. "Conflict is not a good way to start off some serious boozing! Let's just see who hooks up with who after we're all five beers in." As he finished this his gaze ended on Fenrir, who just glared.

"She's not your type. In fact, I understand she's not men's type in general." Prism murmured to Threatener. He was also looking at Fenrir as he spoke.

"Thanks for the relationship advice, Dr. Love, but I know a thing or two about femmes. Why didn't Lightspeed come again?" Threatener asked.

"We're in an off phase right now. I'm deeply sorrowed about it- maybe Fenrir will help me feel better." Prism said with a smirk and a condescending pat on his cousin's shoulder.

"Thought you said she's not the type for most men?" Threatener said, somehow having failed to catch the insinuation of that statement.

"I'm not 'most men'."

"True," Sin put in with his usual grin. "I personally thought he was fantastic in bed."

"I knew it! You guys did fool around!" Threatener said triumphantly, rolling with the joke.

"Sin's a fan of being smacked around in bed. I indulge him with the smacking part, but not the bed part." Prism said, before laying a good one upside Sin's head.

"D'aw, you flirt," Sin said, and took to the air with a laugh, wings beating at the air. "I'm going to look around. You crazy kids have fun!" With that, he flew off towards the main camp.

"I call whatever building has the most high tech stuff in it," Fenrir groused, shouldering her own personal supply of liquor and following Sin towards camp. As they headed for the perimeter of the camp, the main campus of faux-wooden buildings within sight, they passed between gleaming metallic rods set at regular intervals among the trees ringing the campground. As soon as they passed between these rods, a dark blue field of static enveloped them and, simultaneously, most of the bots' hidden weaponry or Transmetal II powers shut themselves down.

//"Camp Infinitech has a strict policy against non-camp itinerary approved weaponry within camp boundaries. Thank you for your compliance."// a pre-recorded message buzzed from a little speaker near one of the rods.

"Hey, what the Pit?!" Fenrir swore and immediatly pulled one her over-under revolver, took aim at the nearest technorganic tree and pulled the trigger. All she got was a soft 'click'. "Son of a!"

"I...thought that might happen. This is a relaxation camp; I guess it's not relaxing if everyone can kill each other." Pestilence said sheepishly, as though her failure to explain this possibility to everyone left her at fault for it.

"Because Fen was in a great mood before," Threatener quipped. The femme in question just growled and holstered her sidearm. Crucifix hadn't even bothered to check, himself. The fact that Sin wasn't an indestructible superstrong 'bot here put him incredibly at ease.

"All the same, I don't like being unarmed. This camp better be-" Sunset started to say as they walked into the camp, and stopped. It really was beautiful in its odd way, perfectly maintained and peaceful. Crucifix walked up to stand beside her, and in that moment, both of them admired the view. The main camp was focused around a central area with a large fire, or what could have been one. Around it were a large number of bunkhouses, and to the left were the owner, trainer, or executive rooms.

"Dibs on an exec room!" Threatener said, placing his cooler of energon beers near the side of the fire, and hurrying off to check out one of the cabins.

Fenrir dumped her own booze and took off after him in a sprint. "If there's only one, you'd better believe I'm kicking your ass for it!"

Sunset smirked a little at that, and then looked at Crucifix. "Feel like a walk in the woods before, well, sunset?" she said, tripping over the redundancy a little at the end in her shyness. Crucifix just nodded, and held out his hand to her. Sunset took his hand, and the two of them strolled off into the woods as the artificial sky slowly turned orange.

Prism helped Pestilence set a heavy container near the front door of one of the training cabins, then walked off to look at the pool. Pestilence smiled to herself, sitting on the heavy box and beginning to make some scans and calculations. After a while, Sin landed in front of her, looking mildly distressed.

"I think some kind of a field back there deactivated my awesome weapons and powers!"

------------------

A few hours passed. The biosphere sun had set fully, and the sky above the camp was pitch black with a smattering of stars to light the cabin roofs. Outside the space station, a small two-bot shuttle was pulling up to an emergency airlock on the other side of the station from where the unauthorized visitors had appeared.

The door to the airlock passage opened, revealing the inside of the shuttle. The pilot dashboard and inner walls were spattered with mechfluid, a lifeless corpse leaning head-first against the console. All the lights were out, the grisly scene illuminated only by what lights filtered through the airlock passage from the tertiary shuttle bay within. A tall, gaunt figure emerged from the shadows and stepped inside the shuttle bay. He tilted his head slightly, looking at the murdered pilot, then hit the button for airlock release. The door slid shut, and the lifeless shuttle drifted away into space.


(This is a Halloween thread Pyre and I have been planning out for some time- we've co-oped this first post and plan to co-op the whole story out over the month of October. Hope you guys enjoy it.)


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:07 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:35 pm
Posts: 44
Once the Camp Infinitech station had begun its night cycle, the effect was impressive. Dusk had fallen and the sky was pitch black, much of the stars blotted out by the clouds and the full moon emerging from between. The unauthorized 'campers' were sitting, lying, or kneeling around a sizable campfire, their faces illuminated in flickers and glowing halves by the blaze. Threatener had procured a stick somewhere, part metal and part wood, and had speared about seven or eight marshmallows onto it. He'd had to explain the idea of marshmallows to a few of the other group- 'humans eat them, they're like sugar and calories had love children born without faces'. He passed the bag along to Fenrir.

"You're either really creepy or really stupid," Fenrir put on, but began spearing a few on a technorganic twig that had come from one of the strange trees. "I don't know which. Yet." She passed the bag on to Sunset and Crucifix, who were sitting fairly close together. Prism took a swig from a flask of almost dangerously hard liquor, furrowed his brow as the booze went down, and glanced around the trees.

"We're in the lap of technological luxury here- seems like the perfect facsimile of nature for a corporate retreat." he said. "Why is it closed? Pest?"

"I never found out." Pestilence shrugged. She took a small sip of energon beer, made a face, and let Sin drain the rest of the can. "I just heard about it from one of those New Arms chatrooms. It was all set to go, but then it just closed suddenly."

"Well, here's to profit/loss statements," Sin said with a grin, crunching the beer can and tossing it into his pile, which was about double that of the nearest 'competitor'.

"I can see why this camping is such a big thing," Fenrir said wryly. "Just so damn exciting."

"You don't see the benefit in going somewhere secluded and peaceful where nobody's shooting at anybody?" Sunset asked her, smiling in that faint way of hers.

"...meh," she grumbled, roasting her marshmellows.

"Amen, sister," Sin said. "Amen." Threatener toasted his marshmallows until they were thoroughly blackened on the outsides, and took big bites of them. He managed to bite off part of the stick on the last bite, and spat it out. He picked up a beer bottle and regarded the others with a devious smile, the dancing flames casting an eerie light over his metallic features.

"You know, I heard the story of what -really- happened here." he started.

"Oh, this is gonna be good," Fenrir said dryly, before popping a marshmellow into her mouth. She paused. "...okay, these aren't bad," she allowed.

"It just so happens that my cousin's roommate knew a guy that he used to work with, whose girlfriend was a counselor at this very camp." Threatener said emphatically. He gazed around the circle, taking a drink from his beer.

"You see those technorganic trees everywhere?" he gestured around the forest. "Big Infinitech project back when this place was new. Organic assimilation, growing leaves and wood in tubes, grafting it onto metal, all pretty high-tech stuff, right? Well- they didn't just want to do it with trees."

He paused for effect.

"They wanted to do it to bots like us." Crucifix made a face at that, reflecting what the others probably all felt. He signed something quickly.

"Gunslinger boy says that he's not surprised, given everything Infinitech's done," Sin put in.

"You know sign language?" Sunset asked with some surprise, looking at him.

"I know all sorts of things," he answered with his trademark grin.

"That's just it-" Threatener said ominously, "The Infinitech eggheads knew all sorts of things too. They lured a bunch of bots over here with sweet job offers- 'come to our awesome camp! We sing songs and hike and swim and play, and there are absolutely no sinister hidden agendas!' Turns out, that was a lie. They captured the suckers- experimented on them- grafting tissue where tissue shouldn't be grafted. Freaky tissue. Non-Cybertronian tissue. Turned these bots into something less mechanical and more bestial."

"Like what?" Pestilence asked.

"Were-bots." Threatener nodded sagely. Fenrir let out a snerk.

"What, like those old holovids? People transforming into monsters at night and going on rampages?"

"It's not so far-fetched. Raise your hand if you don't have a beast mode!" Threatener said, looking around the group. Naturally, no one put their hand up. "But our beast modes are still metal and wires and normal stuff like that. I turn into a kickass dragonfly, but I don't get an urge to, I don't know, look for honey or whatever dragonflies do when I transform. But these poor, doomed camper experiments? They got bad parts. They don't know their minds anymore. All they knew was the need to kill and maim and eat!"

Threatener pointed off to the distance west, where the trees moved up a hill and became denser forest.

"The scientists were dragged off by their own creations. Things roam this station now. Could be anywhere, could be anything. Could be that tree there! A bot forced to become a tree transformer, gone insane, waiting to wrap his roots around anyone who comes close. It could even be that rock you're sitting on right now- a tiny, malevolent technorganic freak who wants to rip your spark out and devour it like cotton candy." Crucifix and Pestilence looked uncertain, while Fenrir just shook her head, spearing more marshmellows onto the technorganic twig.

"Poor guys," she said with a mock sigh, "bots with their whole futures ahead of them." She put the stick back over the fire. "Now reduced to heating marshmellows."

"So when you two lovebirds go out a-strolling through glen and dale...just be careful. There could be a rabid half-robot half-fleshy beaver waiting to gnaw your freakin' throats out!" Threatener said loudly, pointing at Crucifix and Sunset.

"And no boomsticks to save yourselves, either," Sin chipped in for good measure.

"That story is highly unlikely, gotta say." Pestilence smiled, tho the smile was a little uncertain. Even a dopey story like that had a bit of credibility added onto it by the creepiness of the late-night surroundings. Not to mention when the late-night was on a space station with only one shuttle out, and no weapons or TM2 abilities.

"Agreed," Sin said with a grin. "But still. If you get eaten, Threats, I call your exec suite for the rest of the trip."

"Fair 'nuff, but if you get eaten, I call your booze stash and hook up with your sister." Threatener replied, draining the rest of his bottle and chucking it underhand to Sin.

"Deal. But then you've gotta be Uncle Threats," Sin said, catching the bottle and chucking it in his pile.

"I think I'm less scared by tree-bots than by the idea of you having kids." Sunset said, and Fenrir snorted.

"Hey, at least I didn't turn my kids into a covert-op squad," Sin said with a smirk.

"Look, if you guys are gonna start arguing about whose family is most %$@#ed up, we're gonna be here all night," Fenrir said, shaking her head. "I'm gonna grab some recharge."

"Good idea." Prism said, standing up and stretching. With murmurs of assent, the various 'bots stood up, some finishing off their brews. Pestilence extinguished the campfire with a bucket of water drawn from the lake, and they split off, ambling towards the various cabins.

Silently, the newest arrival to Camp Infinitech watched them all depart. He wasn't in a hurry.

He could wait.


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:10 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:28 pm
Posts: 97
The gaunt, dark figure slowly walked through the woods until he was standing in front of the extinguished campfire. He tilted his head a little as he gazed down at the doused embers. He was thin and tall, with an almost all-black coloration. His face was bony and withdrawn, with a blank faceplate above his mouth and narrow optics that were a deep dark blue, like the frigid depths of a lake in winter.

One of the cabin lights was still on. The dark figure walked across the green towards it, making no sound as he trod on fallen sticks and leaves near the trees. He seemed wavery, almost insubstantial, in the areas where the shadows were deepest. He was about to peer in the window, then paused as he heard footsteps nearby. The figure stepped into a dark corner, and watched as one of the campers walked by.

Pestilence hadn't been able to sleep, not with all this new technology just begging to be looked at. As far as she'd been able to discover, most of the stuff in this retreat was just as high tech in its own way as some of her own creations, and she was eager to take a more detailed look at it. She just didn't feel like being ribbed by the others for her intense interest. Pestilence walked within five feet of the silent figure. She glanced down at her scanner, putting a couple of commands into it. The shadowy intruder took a couple of steps in her direction, now almost looming over her shoulder.

"Pest? Hey, Pestilence, is that you?" Like a ghost, the figure seemed to shift backwards into shadows thrown by one of the cabins. Fenrir was approaching, looking pretty damn pissed off, but when she got within ten feet or so, she paused, frowning. "Were you talking with someone?"

"Er...no. I'm just out for a walk." Pestilence replied, nonplussed, and looked over her shoulder. No one was there. She turned back to face Fenrir. "I was just checking out some of the devices on the camp grounds. What's up?"

"Trying to get the @$%# away from Prism," she groused. "I swear, he will not let up, and I think he's even mostly sober by now! Do me a big favor? Just tell him I went the opposite way I'm actually going?"

"Sure thing." Pestilence replied, slightly amused. "He's not that bad, really. I mean, Sin keeps giving me the full scan."

She made a face. "Guh. Just remember, whatever his wacky quasi-immortal stuff that he's got going on, it's not going on right now. Hit him with a tree or something." She started, hearing a sound. "Crap, gotta go!" With that, the wolf-femme fled into the forest again, the opposite direction from which she'd came.

Pestilence smiled a little, and went back to putting commands on her scanner. It pinged some interesting readings in the forest, and she was considering going to check them out when Prism walked up. He looked at Pestilence, then considered Fenrir's tracks before him.

"Meh. There's always tomorrow." he said, mostly to himself, and headed back towards his cabin.

Pestilence couldn't help but grin a little as Prism retreated. All that hard work on Fenrir's part to get away. She did realize they were here for a week, didn't shw?

The dark figure continued to watch her for a moment, remaining where he stood between a couple of trees as Prism entered his cabin. The figure walked towards the nearest cabin, peering through a window. Threatener was in deep recharge, optics closed and sprawled in an awkward position. The figure walked to the next cabin, where Crucifix and Sunset were sitting on the edge of a bed together in conversation. Sunset's hand was loosely grasped in Crucifix's. They were both young 'bots who led dangerous lifestyles, and this was the closest thing they could get to quality time together- hence, being near inseparable of late. Sunset smiled a little at him.

"Are you glad we came up here?" she asked him.

He nodded, after a moment, then signed to add more into it. ' I'm happy that we get to spend time together without gunfire.'

Sunset nodded, and thought for a moment.

"Fenrir hates it here. She's not a nature type, plus I don't think she gets why we didn't just stay somewhere on Cybertron."

Crucifix didn't sign anything in response, and then Sunset asked the question that'd been bugging her for a while.

"You're still wanted, aren't you?" she asked lowly.

After a few moments, he nodded. It wasn't hard to see why; after all the work he'd put into distrupting a certain someone's plans, there'd been more than one bounty put out on him, some more or less legal than others.

"Yep. I thought that'd be it." Sunset acknowledged. "It's a dumb thing for me to ask you about. I bet that Prism guy has bounties on his head, and I'm sure Sin is wanted, but for it to be you...I guess I hoped we wouldn't get back into that life. You could paint, and I could...well...." Sunset smirked. "I could learn to play the guitar? I'm not real good at anything besides using guns."

'One day,' he signed, somehow managing to get across the sense of being hopeful, and he smiled.

Sunset smiled back. Being around Crucifix just made her feel better, helped her to forget some of the troubles they'd been through. She leaned forward and kissed him gently, and held it just long enough to let him know she was thinking about more than a friendly conversation.

Crucifix reciprocated, leaning into the kiss and taking Sunset into his arms. The dark figure observing this through the window walked back into the shadow, heading into the woods.

As Pestilence walked along the side of the lake, checking out the water purifiers in action, she paused at seeing a boathouse-like station marked 'Biosphere Control Access' on the door. She walked to the door, seeing a key-pad on its side, and attached her scanner to it, starting up a decryption algorithm. After a moment, the decrypter flashed -ACCESS DENIED-.

Pestilence blinked. That was unexpected. Most of her stuff was homebrewed, but it was really, really good. She frowned and sat down cross legged by the station, and began tapping fiendishly on her holographic keypad. No matter how many approaches she tried, the door lock was firmly engaged. It didn't even seem like an issue of having the wrong code; it was more like someone had obscured access totally, like jamming gum into a keyhole or breaking off a doorknob.

Pestilence frowned. This didn't seem like simply corporate security measures. Someone did not want them accessing controls to the biosphere. But the question was, who?


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:29 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:28 pm
Posts: 97
Pestilence stood up, looking at the biosphere control access station doubtfully. There might be another station somewhere in the camp, and she'd only been curious to see the atmospheric controls, anyway. She checked her internal chronometer, and cross-referenced what she knew of the camp's programmed solar cycle. They should be having 'dawn' in about three hours. She turned around to begin heading back past the lake and to her cabin, when a dark figure stepped out in front of her from between the trees and she uttered a yelp of surprise.

"Aw. I didn't even get to say 'boo'." Sin grinned down at the teenaged femme. "Whatcha working on?" The raven asked.

"I," Pestilence said, trying to calm herself a bit, "Am working on getting into the biosphere controls. They're totally locked out. It could be Infinitech security measures, but it seems more crude than that. What are you working on?"

"A very cute femme, at the moment," he said, folding his arms and leaning against one of the strange organic trees. "I'm going to take a leap of logic here and say that, if the biosphere's locked down, we're trapped?"

"No, there's still self-contained controls for the airlock and docking bays. But it does mean that we can't change the biosphere settings at all- weather, temperature, day and night cycles. Fortunately, whoever shut the lab down left it pretty pleasant." Pestilence said in a carefully business-like manner. She hadn't missed that Sin had called her cute, and knowing what she knew about his past, didn't like the fact that she was alone in the woods with him right now.

"Aw. That's much less romantic," he said with a sigh. "I'm sure if we told Sunset and Crucifix that they were trapped forever in this place, they'd end up in the sack before long." The raven finished, and paused. "Speaking of..."

Pestilence's optics widened as she took in the inference. Sin was coming onto her very definitely, now. Not that he wasn't attractive, in fact he was quite good-looking. She could appreciate him in that sense. But here? Him? It just felt strange, and wrong. Not to mention his reputation.

"I'm, uh, flattered but I have a lot of data to process..." Pestilence murmured, trying to walk past him.

"I'd be more than willing to help you out," Sin said, oddly charming now as he smiled instead of grinning that characteristic, borderline crazy grin of his.

"It's, er..." Pestilence stammered a little as Sin moved closer to her. He was significantly taller than her, and very well built- he even smelled good. She looked up at him uncertainly. "I'm not really comfortable with that, actually. I like to work alone. On some things."

"Oh, really?" Sin asked, seemingly bemused. "Haven't had much 'teamwork', in the past?"

"Well, it's sort of my own business..." Pestilence breathed, aware of Sin's closeness to her. "But, tho there were a couple of guys I dated a little...I've never done, um, teamwork. I always had projects to work on." She added this last a little defensively, feeling certain that Sunset or Fenrir were perceived to be far more womanly and mature than her.

"I'd be terribly surprised if no one had offered to work...closely, with you, on a special project," Sin said with a soft chuckle. "Remarkably surprised, in fact."

"Well, I think someone has, just now." Pestilence said, smiling a little nervously as she looked up at Sin.

"So you're really dead set on some solo studying tonight, hmm?" He asked.

"Er...if you're not being dirty about what solo studying means, than yes. I'd really be more comfortable with that." Pestilence nodded. "But I'm flattered you're interested in me that way." she hastened to add, careful to keep him happy. And, she had to admit, he did have a charm to him that she responded to. Most femmes did.

He sighed, and leaned back against the tree, looking upwards towards the artificial sky. "Oh, woe. Woe and sorrow." After that though, he grinned good-naturedly. "It's a long week, and I'm persistent. Have a good night Pest." He said, and offered her a bow.

"You too, Sin." she nodded.

He let her walk by, stepping out of her way, and grinned when she shot a look back towards him, part curiosity, part something else, before continuing on towards camp. "Hah." He toed at the dirt for a second, amused by how the trip was going.

He started to walk into the woods, looking up at the night sky and thinking about Pestilence's cute little body. He brushed a hand over one of the technorganic trees as he watched, smirking a little. He could've used the night-time to recharge a bit, but he enjoyed a late-night walk. As he strolled through the forest, the shady intruder watched him with his dark blue optics, and began to follow him. As the intruder followed Sin, he drew a large, gleaming knife from an unseen compartment. Camping was something Sin hadn't done, but he'd heard about it during his extended stay on Earth. Besides, things were looking up, if-

Abruptly the raven spun about, clasping his hands together around a huge, almost-cleaver sized machete and pushing it to the right so he could get a good look at his attacker, his grin back to its usual manic self. "And here I thought I was going to be bored tonight."

The attacker tilted his head to the side, his expression emotionless save a slight raise of his optic ridges, and lunged at Sin.

----------------

Fenrir sighed as she turned away from the window, turned away from the sight of Crucifix and Sunset holding hands, and then doing more than that. "Not enough energon beer in this place," she muttered, but decided to crack one open and take a walk anyhow. She made her way to the center of the camp, where the fire was beginning to burn low, threw a few logs on it for kicks, and dug around for an unopened can. "Primus, Sin, Threats, leave any for us?' She grumbled, her mood not being improved at all by the distinct lack of her favorite brand. Booze in hand, she moseyed out into the woods, at a random direction.

About half an hour after Pestilence had been approached and propositioned by Sin, Fenrir was making her way into the woods. She peered around at the trees, recognizing a marker from when they'd arrived. She wasn't far from the docking bay. She briefly considered just taking the shuttle back, at least long enough to go somewhere with technology and a decent supply of booze, when she saw two shapes heading towards her from the path. She reached for one of her sidearms, only to curse the moment she laid a hand on it. Damn thing wouldn't fire, at least, according to the friendly announcement they'd gotten when they'd arrived. Still...that could've just been for show, so she gently drew her over-under handcannon of a revolver, and took cover behind some trees. Push came to shove, she'd just clock them over the head.

She watched the two figures step into the clearing between the trees, illuminated by the light of the full moon. They were...two femmebots? It was true- both Maximals, one shorter and younger with a feline beast mode and a calm expression, the other taller and older, an avian beast mode, and looking faintly annoyed as she gazed towards the camp.

"Shit," she swore again, recognizing the avian femme after a moment. It was Infinity, the owner of the imaginatively named 'Infinitech' corporation...in other words, she was also technically the owner of their little space-based campground. Unfortunately, the other femme, who Fenrir quickly shifted from category 'calm' to category 'frozen ice-spark chick' kept eyeing all around them. Cool customer that one. Bodyguard? Grumbling, she went out to meet them. Just icing Infinity would be a problem. She was, after all, related to one of Sunset's best friends. As soon as Fenrir had stepped into the clearing to meet them, the bodyguard was leveling a weapon at her. Infinity reached out and lowered it down.

"No need for that, Cheshire. She's not a threat." the avian femmebot said.

"What'd even be the point of pulling a gun on me? They don't work here!" Fenrir said, looking from femme to femme irritably.

"I brought along one model made to counteract the anti-weaponry field. Just in case we were dealing with something a little more serious than hedonistic breaking-and-entering." Infinity said, folding her arms, as Cheshire holstered the gun.

"You can do that?" Fenrir asked.

"I should certainly hope so- I helped design this dome, and its technology." Infinity said, and frowned at Fenrir. "This dome that you and your friends are illegally occupying."

"This place has been abandonded," Fenrir retorted, more than willing to argue any point at this time. "Fair use."

"And you all thought this would be such a keen party pad that you never stopped to think -why- such a state of the art facility has been abandoned." Infinity snapped. "Get your friends- wake them up, get them sober, whatever you need to do, and leave this station at once."

"Hey, as an alternative, why don't you turn down the bitch and turn up the 'make some sense'," Fenrir shot back. "Why do we need to get out of here in such a hurry? Is the place going to be hit by a meteor? Some kind of periodic solar flare?" She threw her hands up. "What could possibly be-"

Her rant was interrupted as something swung down from the branches overhead, between Fenrir, and Infinity and Cheshire.

Despite herself, Fenrir actually gasped in surprise. It was Sin. He'd been stabbed repeatedly in the chest until his spark chamber had been destroyed, and mechfluid still dribbled from the rent metal. His optics gazed sightlessly at them, his mouth hanging open slightly in an expression of surprise. Infinity's expression darkened as she looked at him. Cheshire's remained stoic. Only Fenrir was feeling real shock at seeing the once-thought unkillable Sin swaying from the tree.

"I...what...what in the Pit?" She muttered, only vaguely aware that she had reflexively drawn her useless sidearm. She slowly lowered it, looking up into the trees above. He'd been hung on some kind of organic, rope-like vine. "...damn..."

"It must be him, ma'am. The body's placement in such close proximity to us could be a warning to leave- or just showing what'll happen to us." Cheshire murmured in Infinity's ear, low enough for Fenrir not to hear.

"What?" Fenrir said. "What the hell was that?" She demanded. "Hey, I'm talking to yo-" For the second time in the last five minutes she found herself interrupted as Cheshire stared at her coolly. "...yeah, well. $@%# you too..." She muttered. "I'm going back to camp to get the others and get out of here." She looked up at Sin's body, then shook her head. She didn't really care enough for him to cut him down. Guy was a wack job. "What are you two going to do now that you've delivered your warning?"

"We're going to leave. I shouldn't have come here personally to begin with. Get your friends, get in your shuttle, and leave immediately and the rest of you will be fine." Infinity assured her, though the words didn't exactly sound comforting coming from her. She and Cheshire began to head back to the docking bay.

"Yeah, I'll get right on that," Fenrir grumbled, looking back over her shoulder one more time at the sight of Sin's body, still swaying back and forth slightly. "Best vacation ever," she muttered, and broke into a light jog back towards the main camp.

As she jogged back to the camp, she noticed Threatener emerging from his cabin, stretching out his servos and heading back for the beer cooler. Fenrir immediately moved to intercept him, needing to get the chain of information started somewhere, but bumped into Pestilence as she did. Pestilence looked quizzically at Fenrir.

"What's going on?" she asked her.

"Sin's dead. Infinity and one of her mooks showed up to warn us off. We need to leave right now," she said matter-of-factly. "I'm going to get Sunset and her lover-boy. Get Prism and everybody else. Time to go."

"Who was it?" Pestilence asked, running after Fenrir as the wolf femme headed for Sunset's cabin, even as the shock of Sin's death washed over her. She was thinking of the many enemies Prism- or Sin, for that matter- had made. "Purification? Cage?"

"No idea. But they stabbed the Pit out of Sin's spark and hung him upside down from a tree. Doesn't sound like anybody I know," she said, knocking on the cabin door where she'd last seen Sunset and Crucifix making out.
The door swung inward to reveal Crucifix standing there, looking quizzically at them. Sunset stood up behind him, and with one glance at Fenrir's determined expression, immediately began grabbing her armor pieces and looking for anything that would serve as a blade or bludgeon. Fenrir quickly explained the situation. Through it all, Crucifix maintained a suprisingly neutral expression, before following Sunset's lead and looking for something dangerous to use.

"Hey, are we beating someone up? 'Cause I placed dibs on not being the one getting beaten up." Threatener said, leaning his head in the doorway. Prism was behind him, looking somewhat ill-tempered yet alert.

"Someone killed Sin, and the femme who designed this place tells me there's a damn good reason why it's abandoned." Fenrir said. "Find something to make yourself useful with."

Threatener gaped at her for a second, then smacked his hand against the doorframe. "I should have known! Abandoned camp, drunken party, it's all adding up now! Oh, we've got way bigger problems than technorganic gophers. We need to get back to the shuttles pronto."

"What? What is it?" Sunset asked, looking at him intently. "Do you know something?"

"If you're holding out on us..." Fenrir said threateningly, patting a hefty looking piece of metal rebar in her right hand.

"Don't any of you plebes ever watch Earth horror movies?!" Threatener exclaimed, looking around the group and then at Fenrir. "Every time a bunch of cool dudes like me and a bunch of hot chicks like you go to visit a camp, they get picked off one by one by some crazy killer!"

"Who'd want to kill Sin?" Pestilence asked. The others looked at her, and she amended: "Well, who'd want to kill him and know to do it in the one place he's killable?"

"That's just it," Threatener said lowly, "A lot of the time, the killer is someone in the group. It could be one of us."

"Wait, wait wait." Fenrir said, holding up her free hand in protest. "You're telling me that this is...that what's happening now is like something out of one of your stupid horror movies you're always going on about when you're smashed?" She asked. When he just nodded solemnly, she shook her head. "Great..."

"Whatever." Prism said. "We're getting out of here, right now, we'll sort things out on the shuttle. That gets neatly around all your little scenarios, right?"

"Except the one where the only way out is already thrashed, yeah," Threatener said. The group looked around at each other in silence for a brief moment, then all of them broke into a run, heading for the docking bay.

They ran full tilt through the woods, crashing past swaying branches and hopping over rocks, until they passed the outskirts of the forest and entered the long hallway to the docking bay. There, they saw Infinity and Cheshire walking out with grim looks on their faces. Sunset started to skid to a halt on recognition of the pair, her brow furrowing in dislike, but Prism just charged on ahead heedlessly- then stopped when he saw the torn wires, broken panels, and pools of glowing fluid beneath both shuttles. Their fuel lines and power-routing conduits had been brutally but efficiently severed.

"...we are so boned," Threatener said at last, as the group, down one and now plus one, watched the only way off of the biosphere burn.


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:18 pm 

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It took only a few moments though before the group sprang into action. Prism, Infinity, and Sunset all began making efforts to galvanize the group.

"Pest, we need these fires out!"

"Cheshire, disconnect the refueling lines!"

"Fen, Fix, let's see what we can salvage before everything goes up!"

The group of 'bots, all with different priorities, nonetheless set to work with remarkable speed and efficiency. Cheshire made for the main docking station to carry out Infinity's orders, while Infinity herself strode, seemingly uncarringly into the heart of the blaze! Pestilence had to look around for only a moment before spotting some damage control equipment laying off to the side, and after a quick glare, Threatener went to help her. Fenrir, Crucifix and Sunset meanwhile were hauling anything that might be helpful away from the shuttles, just in case. They dragged away containers of repair equipment, telemetric circuitry, fuel drums, anything potentially handy. Prism yanked down a hose from the side of the wall- it was connected to a pipe running all the way to the lake. He aimed it at the blazing nose of one of the shuttles and opened it, spraying out the flames. Soon, both shuttles had been doused, revealing Infinity standing between them- apparently immune to the blaze. A few of the others fixed her with questioning gazes.

"I -am- a phoenix." she said.

"Is that like being a Virgo?" Threatener asked. Pestilence bent down in front of one of the smoking shuttles, musing over the cables on the underside. Cheshire went with her to look it over.

"Wow. Whoever did this was...yeah, wow, thorough. Telemetry, navigation-" Pestilence began, only for Cheshire to interrupted in her chill, calm voice.

"-communications, landing beacon-" She glanced upwards towards the bottom of the hull, and Pest nodded at her.

"-even the emergency beacon's out. Pretty much everything's been trashed. Looks like he went on a spree before he set everything all on fire," he said.

"How long until you can fix it?" Prism asked. Pestilence blinked, but before she could reply.

"We lack the necessary equipment and replacement parts to salvage them," Cheshire answered coldly.

"How about one?" Sunset asked as she walked back towards the gathering, now that the blaze had run its course.

"Well...let's ask the camp director." Pestilence looked at Infinity. "I could cobble together something if you've got any spare shuttles or maybe hover-carts in storage somewhere in the camp...enough vaguely similar parts and I could get us impulse-power back to the nearest colony planet. Do you have anything here we can use?"

"Normally, I would say yes, but," the director of Infinitech gestured towards a large set of metal doors, which were half-open. Inside, a flickering light displayed a thoroughly ransacked storeroom, "that's where they would be. Whoever killed Sin and then set to work on the shuttles clearly did this in advance."

"You wouldn't happen to have a thought or two as to who did this?" Sunset asked, giving Infinity a distrustful glare. She still remembered the phoenix CEO all too well from the Prime City days.

"No. This facility was ordered shut down and put on standby years ago," she returned evenly, meeting the other's gaze fearlessly. While the two had never fought, Infinity had dealt with a few would be assassins over the years...

"Meh. So we find the stuff, we fix the shuttle, we go home?" Fenrir put in, crossing her arms.

"Essentially, yeah," Pestilence said, and nodded.

"Then let's find that junk, fix our junk, and get out of here before we end up swinging from trees," the wolf said, shaking her head.

"...very well. I suggest we all split up and-" Infinity began, only for Threatener's shout to nearly deafen them.

"DO YOU WANT TO BE MURDERED TO DEATH?!"

"What- the hell-" Fenrir started to say, wincing, as Threatener's bellow of warning had been closest to her.

"We can't split up! We go off one by one into the woods, I guarantee you we all get killed, partially eaten, and have our faces worn like metal Halloween masks!" Threatener said, striding into the center of the group.

"And what's your suggestion? It'll take hours for this entire group to search for spare parts, and someone needs to stay with the shuttle." Infinity replied sternly.

"Plus...not to alarm anyone, but it should've been dawn by now. Something's been tampered with." Pestilence spoke up.

"Look, would small groups be alright then?" Sunset asked, hoping to placate the dragonfly. They'd need everybody they could get right now.

"I...we...crap, I guess we have to. Alright, just make sure that nobody goes off to investigate anything by themselves! Never follow a trail of useful stuff ANYWHERE!" He stated. "Oh, and run TOWARDS help, not away from it!"

"...I think your cousin's flipped, Prism," Fenrir said, smiling bemusedly at his seemingly random babble despite herself, and the situation.

"That boat sailed a long time ago. I'll stay behind to help guard Pest while she tries to fix a shuttle with what's available." Prism suggested to Pestilence, who nodded gratefully. Even without advanced weaponry, Prism was the biggest and strongest of the group and would make a handy bodyguard.

"Then we should go and head back towards the campsite for salvage. And if we find whoever killed Sin, we go for the kill if possible. Otherwise, we run." Sunset said to Fenrir and Crucifix, who both agreed.

"Then Cheshire and I will go to the maintenance station near the lake. I may be able to access it and look for means of contacting the nearest planet." Infinity said.

"Alright team, break!" Fenrir said wryly, and then hefted up a piece of jagged metal, the base of which she'd flatened out to make it less sharp, making herself a nice sized, wicked looking sickle.

"Are you staying with us, Threatener?" Pestilence asked the dragonfly. He opened his mouth to respond, then paused as Cheshire walked by and he got his first good look at her.

"...I'll go with them." he said, and hurried after Cheshire and Infinity, who gave him a skeptical look.

"Hey, don't worry, Big Bird- I may not have my sniper rifle, but I've got a kickass Firepower rating and I can throw rocks super hard!" Threatener assured her, before giving Cheshire a grin. Cheshire looked at him for a moment, before looking to her employer. Infinity shrugged.

"If needed, we can feed him to whatever is out there," the CEO said. Cheshire looked back to Theatener.

"You can come," she said, and then turned to follow Infinity into the woods.

"Won't be sorry if they get found," Fenrir quipped, putting her sickle on her shoulder and heading out into the forest. Sunset had located a steel rod from the shuttle bay and swung it side to side. She patted Crucifix on the shoulder as he gathered up a weapon of his own, and the two of them went to follow Fenrir into the woods. Infinity began walking briskly towards the lake, followed by Cheshire and Threatener. That left Pestilence and Prism behind. The young moth gadgeteer immediately started to strip one of the shuttles, looking for any non-damaged parts that could be used to repair the other, while Prism stood beside her looking alertly into the darkness.

Pestilence was making a fair bit of noise messing around inside one of the damaged shuttles, but that didn't mean that Prism was going to be caught unawares. So when he heard a whisper soft sound of metal feet on metal landing pad behind him. Prism was immediately at the ready, his large hands rolling into fists. He narrowed his visor, spinning around and snatching up a thick, heavy wrench and holding it at the ready to club someone's skull in- only to see nothing but the other side of the cavernous docking bay, bathed in shadows. The stupid place must've been getting to him, but hell if he was going to admit it outloud. Pestilence exited the shuttle with an armfull of parts and scrap, and looked over to him, nodding. A moment later her optics widened slightly and she dropped her loot to the ground. Prism's visor widened and he swung the wrench around behind himself, aiming to hit whatever Pestilence was staring at- but it was just a moment too late.

The strike was parried, but not with any sort of skill or ability; a heavy-handed strike came down on his wrist, with enough force to almost numb his arm! At the same time the killer swung down himself, aiming a hatchet already covered in dried mech fluid. The hatchet buried itself in Prism's chest. He let out a grunt of pain, stumbling slightly, the wrench clattering to the floor. Prism got a good look at his attacker. The killer was a gaunt 'bot robed in black, about the same height as him, but very still and calm in his actions. He was peering into Prism's visor with deep, dark blue optics as he wrenched the hatchet back out. Prism glanced down at the deep wound, then sneered and charged at the killer, pelting his face with forceful haymaker punches. Pestilence staggered back against the nose of the shuttle as she watched, hands clapped to her mouth.

The killer's head snapped back and recoiled as he was battered about the head, and these strikes weren't simple, random strikes; Prism knew how to fight. He was slammed back against the shuttle, and Prism drew back, lashing out with another vicious punch, only for the killer to duck and slide aside with remarkable quickness! His fist struck the metal with a loud clang, but the black-robbed bot was at his side, and this time the hatchet whipped upwards in a wicked underhanded cut towards his chest.

Prism deflected it this time, but just barely, the hatchet blade cutting a jagged groove along his inner forearm. He lashed out with a kick into the killer's midsection. The killer leaned backwards, falling back into the surrounding darkness once more, but when Prism went to deliver a devastating straight to his face, the dark figure just seemed to speedily flex around it- as though he were fighting a shadow. It was almost like he was mocking Prism the way he moved, darting aside from each of his strikes. Of course, he wasn't in top form after taking two shots from a razor-edged hatchet. When the hatchet came up again, Prism was ready to deflect it, only for the killer to produce a second one from under his robe and cut at him from an unexpected angle! This one went in deeper and Prism fell to one knee as the hatchet buried itself into his torso. He glared up at his assailant, struggling against him as he tried to get to his feet.

"You'll...have to try harder than that..." Prism said arrogantly, mechfluid spilling down his chin as he spoke. Pestilence scrambled into the shuttle's hold, looking for anything, any guns that might not have been deactivated.

The killer's hooded head tilted slightly, as he walked behind Prism. Pestilence frantically began flipping switches, diverting power from whatever she could, as the shuttle's weapons began to slowly power up. She looked out through the craft's window, only to shriek as both weapons at Prism's neck. The twin hatchets burrowed down through Prism's torso to pierce his spark. Mechfluid poured in a gout down his chest, and his head canted off to a bizarre angle. He slumped, and as the killer yanked the hatchets free, Prism sprawled face-down on the docking bay floor. Pestilence panickedly punched keys and made adjustments. The shuttle's twin laser cannons settled themselves on the shadowy figure as he started to advance on it. She hammered on the weaponry key, and the linked cannons spat fire and death, turning the landing where he stood into wreckage and flame, two loud explosions ringing out.

The killer melted backwards into the shadows, twisting and leaning around the lasers. The laser battery was already damaged from both the fire and the sabotage- Pestilence had only a few shots before it was fully spent. She peered out through the shuttle's viewer. Flames were licking at the docking bay wall, a couple of support pylons had been blasted and scorched to near-slag, and the shadowy killer was still standing there, hatchets clutched in his hand. He stood there for a moment, then fixed his gaze directly on her.

"You can't stop me." he said, then turned and walked into the darkness outside the docking bay doors. Pestilence watched him go, mortified. She thought she could track him, but he'd already melted into the shadows. She hurried to check on Prism, but he was stone dead, his visor gone blank. Pestilence collapsed by his side, shaking, looking out at the darkness and clutching the wrench Prism had dropped. She did this for a long moment, while desperately trying to think of what to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:50 am 

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Chesire, Infinity, and Theatener had made good time through the woods towards the lake, and the maintenace shed that promised a possible salvation. The biosphere had been perfectly maintained by the artificial systems, long after the place had officially been decomissioned. Yet, strangely enough, all the ambient sounds of wildlife had ceased. They would hardly have muffled the sudden sound of laser fire, a heavy powered weapon blasting repeatedly.

"Ship-based. Medium strength. One of the shuttles," Cheshire pronounced cooly.

"Oh, crap- Prism and Pest must be shooting at whoever waxed Sin!" Threatener surmised, turning to look back through the trees. It was too dark; even magnifying his optics' zoom he couldn't see anything. "Hey, the guy could be a sticky stain and a pile of parts on the shuttle bay floor by now!"

Infinity seemed to consider this a moment, then; "Either way, we need what's in the shed at the lake. We go on." She and Cheshire both turned to resume their walk.

"So what's the deal with this guy?" Threatener asked Infinity. "You created this camp of death, right? You must've known if you built it on any Indian burial grounds or whether any Satanic rituals were conducted to bless it with demon's blood. Who's got a mad-on for anyone that camps here?" Cheshire looked over at Infinity, who nodded.

"He has no designation. While this facility was officially presented and registered as a personnel training around, it had a secondary purpose; research and development."

"So your summer camp doubled as a crazy wacko training center?" Threatener asked. "You know, that makes a lot of sense."

"Please, be quiet," Cheshire said calmly. "The unknown designate was one of several projects, and the first to be compelted. Unfortunately, his neural net was fragmented and incomplete, and proper social protocols were not installed, as priority was given to combat entries and-"

"I think that's enough specifics, Cheshire," Infinity cautioned, and finished the story herself. "He proved too costly to retrieve, and rather than bother with sending in various teams to get massacred, I decided to simply let him starve up here." Her brow furrowed and she frowned, her irritation clear. "I hadn't expected that he was knowledgeable enough to create some sort of energon source of himself..."

"Does this mean I get to sue you for endangering me with your experiment after we get out of here?" Threatener asked.

"Legally, you have no right to be here in the first place, and your trespassing removes any culpability on Miss Infinity or the Infinitech Corporation's parts." Cheshire replied.

"Tell you what, Nermal, I'd settle for a date. We can get some energon and talk about legal precedents and affidavits and quim pro quos for hours." Threatener said, grinning at her.


"I am currently 'off the market' as you would say," Cheshire said calmly. "...also, the term is 'quid pro quo'," she finished. Infinity smiled slightly.


"Too bad. Say- Infinity, right? You know, the ladies say that having me around makes the days seem infinite..." Threatener started to say suavely.

"Not even a little interested." Infinity said bluntly.

"Have it your way, Harvey Birdwoman." Threatener replied, but as usual, quickly regained his conversational momentum. "Let me just tell you two foxy femmes that you've got nothing to worry while I'm here. I'm a decorated veteran of the Predacon militia, I've served two and a half tours of duty on various vessels, and did you know that I personally defeated Cage, the Purification, -and- the Enclave?"

"Really? That is impressive," Infinity said, sounding thoughtful as they kept making their way through the woods. Threatener blinked.

"What? Really?"

"Mmm. Oh yes," the older femme said with a sight smile. "I'm surprised that the military has kept your involvement in such events so carefully quiet."

"Well, you know, I'm all about patriotism and whatnot, I don't like to hog the glory. It's enough to know that I'm so badass it makes everyone feel safe around me." Threatener assured her. "Hey, there's the lake. Let's go around it, taking a boat across is just begging to get pulled under by your crappy experiment."

"Despite your frequent ramblings, you seem to have unusual insight into the unnamed designate's methods of attack and murder," Cheshire commented. "The unknown-"

"Null," Infinity put in. "The squads called him 'Null'. It will do well enough."

"Null, huh? Well, there's 'null' way I'm getting into that freakin' boat. Let's go around." Threatener said, as they emerged from the outskirts of the woods on the side of the lake. There was a metal dock stretching out across the water, with a small motorboat moored to it. From the left side of the dock, the shore stretched around past a couple of buildings and more odd technorganic trees. Almost clear on the other side of the lake was the biosphere control station, a silhouette barely visible through the mist rising off the lake's surface.

"Explain your intimate knowledge of his methods," Cheshire stated.

"I'm rather curious myself," Infinity commented.

"I know the type. I've watched 4,532 Earth movies. I've seen a lot of horror flicks, and in those, there's always one guy who hunts down unhappy campers like us, and waxes them one by one. Even if he could get a gun and shoot us, he won't, because that's not brutal enough! It's got to be blades or bludgeons or bare hands." Threatener said. Then, just when Infinity was about to compliment him for a rather astute analysis of the killer's pattern, he continued:

"And I haven't ruled out voodoo rites yet, either. Guys like that usually have occult origins, maybe some kind of a weird mother fetish, bet it's Infinity's head he winds up putting in his shrine."

"Well," Infinity said wryly. "Right up until that point I believed you were being somewhat useful. As it is..." The walk around the lake continued. Infinity had hoped in silence, but Threatener had other ideas.

"So you two work closely together? You're like her bodyguard, right?" he asked Cheshire, who nodded. "You guys don't have a thing going, do you? You know- bodyguards- 'i-eeeee-i-eee-i will always love you, ooh-ooh-hooo, ooh-hoo-hoooo? No? Not even a little? Hey, I talk when I'm consumed by mortal terror, indulge me."

Not far from where they were walking, Null emerged from the woods, seemingly no worse the wear for being blasted at by the shuttle. He looked down the shore at the three bots, his blue optics thoughtful.

"From what I've gathered, you talk regardlesss of circumstances," Cheshire put in.

"Was that a joke? Oh man, don't scare me like that, or I might get off-ed from shock before your wackjob psycho killer can do it," Threatener replied. They reached the biosphere access shed, and Infinity started to inspect the same door controls that Pestilence had been musing over. They were locked out, but perhaps not irrevocably so. As Threatener and Cheshire stood nearby, watching Infinity work, Pestilence's voice suddenly called out to them.

"HELP! I NEED HELP! WE SHOT HIM BUT HE DIDN'T DIE! ANYBODY, HELP ME!"

Despite her stoic decision to press on, Infinity frowned. "Cheshire, check that out. Stay in sight, though. We wouldn't want to worry Threatener." Nodding, the bodyguard moved off away from the other two. A formidable combatent in close combat, she felt no fear about confronting whatever it was that was out there. Orders were orders.

"Wait! Did you forget my advice on never going off on your own? Hey!" Threatener started to sprint after Cheshire, who'd already covered most of the distance to the woods at a brisk walk. Cheshire entered the trees, looking around for Pestilence. When she failed to see the teen moth femmebot anywhere in the area, she frowned a little, resolving to head back to Infinity's side immediately. She also failed to see Null's dark blue optics gazing out from the shadows behind a tree- seemingly floating by themselves in the darkness as he fully blended into it.

Threatener broke through the treeline just in time to see Null holding Cheshire by the neck, the feline femme's body limp, one hand still twitching slightly. "No fear," he said plainly, as if that explained the quick, but brutal dispatching of the bodyguard, and let her still form drop.

"Oh crap. Oh balls, oh hell, oh crap!" Threatener said, his optics growing as wide as saucers as he gazed at Null. The shadowy bot, whose silhouette seemed to blend and warp around the darkness, regarded him passively, and opened his mouth once more, now speaking in an exact replica of Pestilence's voice.

"I've taken her. Now I have to get you."

Threatener turned on his heel and began running full-speed back out of the woods. Null stepped over Cheshire's lifeless body, walking slowly after him.

"INFINITY! FORGET THE STATION, RUN THE HELL AWAY! HE'S HERE!" Threatener shouted towards the Infinitech CEO as he ran.

"What do you mean here's here?" She demanded, and looked past him. For the first time he could remember, he heard concern in her voice. "Where's Cheshire?!"

"Dead! She was hot, too...look, did you not hear the part where I said he's here? Run away!" Threatener urged her,

"Do we split up now?" She asked, half-deadpan, half not, as the killer emerged from the woods, walking towards them at a calm, measured pace.

"You can do what you want! I've got this whole thing about not being murdered!" Threatener said, and started to run in the direction of the camp, off on an angle away from Infinity and the killer. Null observed this, and as he was closer to Threatener, turned to start walking after him. Infinity watched them for a moment, then grit her teeth.

"Cheshire..." With that, she broke into a run herself, for a half-dozen steps before taking to the air, brilliant wings beating at the air. She wasn't going to let him get away with this...

Somehow, she was going to find a way to kill the bastard.


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:41 pm 

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Threatener had had more than one occasion in the past to have to run very fast away from something. He thought he was rather adept at it, and yet, he couldn't quite seem to outpace his attacker. He kept throwing panicked glances back over his shoulder as he sprinted towards the camp. Null was implacable, and yet it seemed that despite Threatener's pace, which was pretty good by his own measuring, the killer was always the same distance away, no closer, and no further back. It looked like he waas playing by the book...

Threatener's mind raced through the litany of genre conventions impressed upon him by hundreds of hours of horror cinema. When he neared the boundaries of the campsite, he looked around wildly, hoping for some sort of a weapon to use. There were no blades or blunt objects in reach, so, with a shrug, he picked up a rock off the ground and pegged it at Null. Even armed with just a pebble, Threatener's marksmanship was uncanny, and the projectile bounced right between Null's optics. Before Null could react, Threatener had scooped up two more rocks, and winged them at him with precision.

Null, unsurprisingly, didn't pause, walking through the stones without care. "Implacable man," Threatener said aloud, nodding. Analyzing the situation actually made him calmer, helped him forget that he was being chased by a seemingly unstoppable killing machine that had offed Sin and that hot bodyguard chick like they were- "Okay not calm anymore!"

Threatener looked around rapidly, his optics scanning as fast as they could- there! He ran towards the rack of canoes on the side of one of the cabins, and snatched up a metallic oar. He bent it over his knee, snapping the paddle off, then dropped it. He took a couple of running steps forward, flinging the broken oar like a javelin at Null.

Surprisingly enough, or perhaps not, Null didn't even deign to move out of the way. Instead, the jagged metal oar flew through the air and buried itself in his left arm. This did stop Null, but his only act was to look at the wound, tilting his head almost curiously and then reaching out to grip it, just ahead of where it had pierced his metal skin. Then, he snapped it off, discarding the majority of it, but seemingly deciding to leave the rest of the wicked steel embedded in him!

That gave Threatener pause as he watched. Null dropped the remainder, and just peered with eerie fascination at his wound. He then looked back to Threatener, and started to walk towards him again.

"Oh, screw this right off!" Threatener yelped, and started to run again, dashing along the lake's shoreline heading east. As he ran, he glanced behind him, confident at least that Null would continue that steady trudge.

Instead, Null had gained almost ten yards in their 'chase', which was now on again in earnest! "Now you're cheating!" Threatener yelled, putting his head down and continuing to sprint along. He spotted a boat, floating lazily up against the water, and veered towards it for only a moment. "Ngh, no way, it'll sink, or he'll just walk right into the water and drag me under!"

Threatener's mind raced for any possible escape as he ran further into the camp. Null, with that same stoic, vaguely curious expression on his face, was sprinting after him. Threatener ran between the cabins, and stopped hopefully as he sighted a hover-car parked near one of them.

"Ha! I'll just drive out of- no, wait, it'll stall and he'll pull me right through the windshield!" he groaned, and ran away from the parked car.

What he really needed was some cute chick that could pull off a one in a million win! "Except he killed Cheshire!" He groaned. This wasn't fair! He couldn't get all the good stuff from being an implacable murder machine, and then just ignore all the other rules! "Cheating jackass!"

Threatener ran up the hill a ways, searching for anything, anywhere that might provide cover. He spotted a barn, of all things, with a number of potential defense tools and a loft stuffed with hay. He started to run towards it, then stopped short, digging his heels into the soil.

"No, wait! I can't go into any building with just one entrance! I'll get hung up like meat!" he said, panic now definitely present in his voice. He spun around, seeing Null approach.

"You won't get me, you freakin' zombie psycho!" he shouted.

Null stopped, and considered him.

"I am not a zombie." he said clearly, in that calm voice with its murky depths.

"You talk too?!" Threatener exclaimed with disbelief, and tried to run anew, but Null was nearly upon him.

"Yes," he answered in that same relaxed tone. 'Null' certainly seemed an appropriate name for him! "Stop running. You're wasting time." Not 'my time', or 'his time', just...'time'.

"You're definitely psycho!" Threatener said, and without much option, bolted for the barn.

As he ran, focused on his one option, he tripped over a power cable running along the ground to some tilling machinery. He got up, wincing in annoyance, and started to scramble for the barn, but felt Null's hand close around his ankle.

Threatener spun around, kicking at Null's face, and socked a good one into his jaw, but the gaunt-faced killer barely reacted. He grabbed the power cable, and with one tremendous wrench, tore it in two parts. He grabbed the sparking end of the bisected cable, ringed by sharp rinds of the cord covering, and stabbed it into Threatener's torso. Blue crackles of electricity raced out of the wound into the ground, and Threatener's body went into spasms as he jittered on the ground, sparks flying from his mouth and optics, a high, piercing shriek of mechanical agony issuing from his vocal cords.

Null held the cables in place, as Threatener continued to twitch and jerk. After a few moments, the shrieking stopped, and he pulled the cables away, letting them drop, leaving the singed and scorched dragonfly dead on the ground. He looked up, to his left, then his right, and moved off.

There were more.

--------------------------------

Infinity threw aside the empty energy cask, letting it bounce away and onto the rocks, down to the shore. She'd chosen a certain place, near enough to the lake that Null didn't have any cover. Not that it would matter, apparently. Not for the first time, her company had done their job too well. This time though, the casualty had hit close to him. "Cheshire..." Infinity murmured, and clenched a hand. She might not have had her flamethrowing abilities, and she doubted that she'd come back if she lost this one, just like Sin hadn't...but she was going to make him pay. "I'm calling you out, monster!" She shouted, holding a jagged piece of metal in her right hand. "Face me!"

There was silence in response. Infinity waited, standing upon the tall rocks jutting up from the shore-line. Clouds continued to drift across the artificial night sky, and the moon was briefly obscured, throwing her into near-complete blackness for a moment, then passing. Null was nowhere to be seen. She turned slowly, carefully, not wanting to get caught off guard. Cheshire had been gone for only a second before she'd been...been killed. The hand holding the piece of metal clenched tightly, so hard that it bit into her hand.

Another cloud drifted across the moon, and once more, Infinity stood in the midst of nearly absolute darkness. She stood motionless for long minutes, looking around warily. Some light reflected across the water's surface, and she thought she saw a glint of blue between the trees. She moved to intercept, ready to stab the piece of metal forward, to pierce her antagonist, to kill him- if he could be killed. The night sky brightened slightly as the moon shone unobscured once more, and she saw nothing there. Then, she felt it. Null was standing behind her, about fifteen feet away- had, in fact, been standing there all of this time. He stood between the trees, gazing intently at her.

As slowly as before, she turned to look at him, and then, oddly enough, beckoned him on. Like the metal in his arm, this was something Null had yet to see. He began walking forward towards her. If he recognized Infinity in any way, he didn't display it. He didn't speak, merely advanced on her.

"Do you know who I am?" She asked, backing away only a few steps, giving him a bit more room to approach her.

"Yes." Null said simply. His deep, menacing blue optics measured her, flicking over her and over their surroundings with a patient cunning.

"Good. I want you to know who puts you down when you're gasping your last," she said, and matched the viciousness of her last words with a quick strike, not at him, but downwards, just behind her heels. The metal sparked off one of the rocks, and a blue fire appeared, quickly blazing into a large, tall circle around them, the fire palpably hot, even to the two Transformers. Null turned around slightly to look at the blaze, saw it licking at the inky-black shadowy robe hanging from his thin body. He looked back at Infinity, and kept walking towards her.

"Now, let's see you do your stupid shadow tricks in here," she said, and scooped up a second piece of metal in her hands, holding them blades down, a military knife fighter's stance.

Null considered her, and then, almost absent of thought, pulled the skewer sunken into his arm free. It wasn't much- just seven or eight inches of a metal rod, broken and jagged at both ends- but Infinity got the unnerving thought that for him, it'd be a more than adequate weapon to kill her with.

She shifted her stance a bit, narrowed her optics...and then darted forward with surprising speed, clashing at his arm with one of her blades. He absorbed the blow, unmindful of the deep cut in his arm, and went to stab his skewer up through her torso, darting forward with a sudden burst of speed. Infinity darted back, letting out a yell as the metal stabbed up and into her shoulder, instead, piercing through her armor like it was paper. Null pulled back and lunged forward again, almost machine-like, unmindful of the two jagged wounds Infinity inflicted on his chest. Null noticed pain, he felt sensation- Infinity remembered that much from his design sessions. But what she hadn't known was that he simply wouldn't care. He continued to attack her, swinging the skewer at her with focused repetition.

"Ngh." She could only dodge and parry so long, and unlike Null, every nick was more and more slowing her down. Before too long though, she dropped to one knee, gasping in pain as Null skewered her through the middle of her chest. He drove the metal rod a little deeper inside her, then gave it a twist, gazing down at her as mechfluid poured in a hot gout over his hands.

"I know what I am now." he told her. And that was all he was going to tell her.

"Ghlk." She pitched forward, collapsing to the ground on shaking arms...before falling forward onto her chest, and laying there, unmoving.

Null looked at the body for a while.


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:59 am 

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Sunset, Fenrir, and Crucifix came to a stop in the middle of the woods, considering their position. They'd been moving steadily southwest from the shuttle bay for a while- it was difficult to tell time with the biosphere set to permanent night. Though they would've covered more ground had they split up, they'd seen what happened to 'campers' who went off alone- sticking together seemed best. Sunset frowned, optics narrowed in the darkness.

"Clouds just moved across the moon again. I don't have a light..." Wordlessly, Crucifix reached into his coat and drew a lighter, throwing a flickering orange glow across he and the two femmebots. "Thanks." Sunset favored him with a smile, while Fenrir took advantage of the light to look around more carefully at the trees. "Just how big is this forest?" Crucifix shrugged lightly, looking around himself. He had no idea how close they were to their goal, when suddenly, across the lake, barely visible through the trees, a fire lit up. He pointed in surprise. Sunset turned to look, and her optics widened. She ran closer to the trees, peering out at the fire, but couldn't determine the cause of it.

"What's going on over there?" she muttered, mainly to herself.

"Doesn't look good," Fenrir muttered. "Didn't you say that Invoice's mom was a firestarter?" Crucifix signed something quickly. "I know about the weapons ban! I'm just saying, she runs her own company. If she really wanted to start a fire..."

"She'd find a way. Maybe she'll take out whoever killed Sin. If not, he could be-" Sunset started to say, when a small shape burst through the trees behind them. Habit caused Crucifix to draw his weapons, and Pestilence let out a cry of surprise, her optics already wide with enough worry already. Feeling an intense sense of apology, he quickly put them away again, raising his hands. Fenrir meanwhile, to be fair, had drawn back her weapon for a swing.

"Primus, Pest! Are you alright?!"

"No! It was him- he got to us- Prism-" Pestilence's shoulders shook, her voice hitched.. Fenrir lowered her weapon, placing a hand on Pestilence's shoulder to steady her, and the young moth femmebot grabbed on to her, quivering with fear.

"It's alright," Fenrir said quietly, looking at the other two in concern. If something could shake her this badly...she wasn't any little scared femme, she'd fought in wars, after all! "This guy has to be something else..." She muttered.

"I'm okay...I'm okay." Pestilence let go of Fenrir, forcing herself to calm down. She looked at the others apologetically. "Sorry...you don't know what it was like...running through the woods like that, thinking he was right behind me. He killed Prism. Chopped him down like firewood- I didn't think anyone could do that to him. I, um...I attempted to turn one of the shuttles' laser cannons on him, and it didn't work." Fenrir's optics widened at that.

"Tell me you're kidding. A laser cannon didn't work?"

"I think he just- shifted around it. All I did was blast the shuttle bay wall." Pestilence confirmed.

"You mean bullets'd go right through him?" Sunset asked.

"I don't know...it was more like he just sank into the shadows. He made himself harder to hurt, but he was still tangible." Pestilence sounded frustrated, tapping the laptop folded up at her hip. "If I could break into the Infinitech files on this place, I could find out what hurts him, but it'd take me way too long to decrypt them with what I have."

"Let's go ask Infinity, then," Fenrir said, before throwing a thumb in the direction of the fire. "She's probably right over the-" Her words were interrupted as something much larger than Pestilence was suddenly thrown in the middle of the group; Infinity's motionless body, optics black. "...here."

The four of them saw him then- Null crouching on the wide bough of a tree, peering down at them. How he'd gotten across the lake so quickly was a mystery, but there was no mistaking the coldly murderous gaze He leapt from the bough, disappearing into the darkness.

"Oh, @#$%," Fenrir muttered. "Great. What, he can fly, now?"

"I could fly, if my gorram beast mode hadn't been shut down." Pestilence griped, hurrying over to Infinity's body. She murmured a quick apology to the dead CEO, beginning to root around her body's compartments and pockets for a card key, a laptop, anything that could help. It appears that subpspace pockets still functioned, and Pestilence found a pocket laptop, one that she couldn't help but be a little envious of, even now.

"Wow, this is some advanced tech- this might get me into station access." she said, sliding the pocket laptop, appropriately, into her pocket. As she stood up, she also grabbed a fallen technorganic branch with some decent heft to it.

"So...where to then?" Fenrir asked, turning to Sunset.

"There's another station access point on the other side of the forest, not far from the habitat wall. I saw it on the holomap at the shuttle bay." Pestilence spoke up.

"That's where to." Sunset nodded. "We move together, watch each others' backs- no one goes off alone, no one goes to get him alone, not even if you see him."

"Because that worked so well for Infinity," Fenrir said, but she shrugged at the same time. What choice did they have, really? So the group of four set off, heading to the station access that Pestilence had mapped out. They moved stealthily, taking care to keep their footsteps from sounding on the forest floor. Even the tiny blades of grass were partly artificial, shades of green and gray swaying lightly under the mechanical breeze generated by biosphere controls. As they walked in the eerie silence, they seemed to feel Null's presence lurking behind every tree, crouched behind every rock.

Their position was slightly staggered, moving in a line through the forest, repeatedly glancing over their shoulders to make sure everyone was still accounted for. Crucifix led the way, holding his lighter up and scanning through the trees. Pestilence was behind him, clutching her branch, then Sunset, keeping alert, and finally Fenrir, looking pissed off and more than willing to attack Null if he showed himself. Crucifix stepped over a fallen technorganic tree trunk with axe-marks in its side, briefly stepping ahead of the line to do so. The others could still see the orange glow of his lighter bobbing in the darkness- then, suddenly, it was snuffed out.

"Fix?" Sunset called out, and when the light didn't reappear, she called out again, more worridly. "Crucifix?" She moved towards where he had last been, and Fenrir followed, swearing.

"Sunny, wait!" Fenrir called after her. Sunset's face grew first concerned, and then panicked, as she pushed her way through the trees, stepping on Crucifix's fallen lighter. She passed by one very tall tree, near top of which Null was holding the struggling Crucifix, pulling him up the trunk. Though the young gunman opened his mouth again and again to cry out, no sound emerged. Looking up at him, Sunset was suddenly forced to close her optics reflexively as Null drew the very same wicked looking hatchet he had used on so many before across the youth's neck, the back end of it serrated, jagged, and tore open his throat, energon raining down on his girlfriend's face. Null held onto Crucifix, looking at him with interest as the youth's life drained out of him and his optics first lost focus and finally went dark. Unmindful of Sunset's shriek below, he let Crucifix drop.

"Fix! Fix! I, he," Sunset stammered as Fenrir and Pestilence ran up, and she faced Null.

"YOU FUCKING MURDERER!" Sunset screamed with fury, and swung the steel rod into Null's side, where something snapped with the impact. Fenrir swore and brought down the improvised sickle she'd been lugging around, aiming for the kille, looking to bring him down there and now. She caught Null a wicked blow upside the head and he staggered, falling back against the tree. Fenrir and Sunset were on him instantly, Sunset's face locked into a rictus of hate as she smashed the steel rod into him again and again. His face remained dreadfully still and calm as he lashed out with ferocious speed, backhanding Fenrir and sending her tumbling away.

"Gah!" She staggered back and slammed into one of the trees, the thing surprisingly tough and resiliant as she rubbed her head, just in time to see Null tear the heavy pipe from Sunset's hands. "No!" He stepped forward, ramming the pipe upwards through Sunset's torso, piercing her spark chamber. Her struggles halted and she went still, gripping the pipe very tightly. Her face contorted with pain and anger, and she started to claw towards Null once more, and he gave the pipe a twist, lifting Sunset into the air before flinging her aside. She hit the ground, huddled around the pipe, optics dark.

Fenrir had one moment to decide what to do, then and there, as Null turned to face her...and she hurled the wrench towards his chest, turning and grabbing Pestilence's wrist and pulling her forward. "Come on!" Pestilence ran quickly beside Fenrir, casting a glance behind herself. Null was watching them flee, his posture perfectly straight and serene, as Crucifix and Sunset lay dead on either side of him. He'd come for them next.

"If we get to that control thing, can you really do something useful?" Fenrir said, her voice amazingly calm and collected given what she'd just witnessed.

"How can you...they're dead!" Pestilence managed, too terrified to answer. Realizing Null wasn't following them yet, for whatever reason, Fenrir dropped to one knee, and stared right at the younger femme's optics, her expression nothing but serious.

"Because he was a vigilante, she was a gunslinger. Prism was a mercenary, Sin was a nutball, Cheshire was a bodyguard, Infinity was a CEO, and Threatener...was Threatener." Her optics narrowed. "But before I was a merc, I was raised to be a soldier. Soldiers go on. Now get it together."

"Okay...alright." Pestilence nodded. She pointed- they weren't far from the edge of the woods now, and there was another shed-like access station visible, along with ambiguous machinery protruding from the ground around it. It was less than half a mile away from the habitat wall- a towering thick metal fence with holographic emitters near the top that showed the edge of the camp's false horizon and pitch-black night sky. "If we can get in there, we can access the lower parts of the station beneath the camp. We can find a comms station and send out a call for help, and maybe take back atmospheric controls as well. We just have to live long enough to make it." Pestilence told her.

"Then we have a plan," Fenrir said, and stood up, squeezing Pestielnce's shoulder once. "Let's get moving."


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:06 am 

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Pestilence and Fenrir moved quickly and as silently as they were able to through the bushes, padding along the path. Fenrir had a wolf's instinct for stealth deep within her programming, but Pestilence was not so intuitive, and seemed to snap a twig or creak through a shrub every few paces. She kept the thick branch tucked in her arm as she walked, her gaze locked on Infinity's appropriated pocket laptop as she worked rapidly on decrypting Infinity's passwords. Infinity had already released much of the locks herself en route to the other access station, but there was some defenses still left to knock down if they were going to learn anything about the killer even now stalking them.

Fenrir for her part had her focus entirely on their surroundings. Despite what she'd said to Pestilence to get her moving again, she felt the all-too familiar edgings of fear worming their way into her spark, and why not? He'd killed them all, everybody else, Prism, Crucifix, Infinity...Primus, Sin wasn't even supposed to die, and he'd been slagged first! It didn't help that the place disabled all firepower and weapons, especially when this psychopath didn't seem to find pain anything but a curiosity! Realizing she was becoming distracted, she shook her head.

"How far are we?' She said, speaking aloud, but softly, to try and focus herself again.

"We should be right here. Too dark to get a decent bearing on our position." Pestilence said, looking around through the forest, and then pointed to a copse of trees. "Through there, I think."

The two femmebots squeezed themselves through a narrow gap between trees, emerging right in front of a station access point. Fenrir glanced at the words next to the door:

Access 03
Atmospheric Controls
Maintenance
Tree Processing
Emergency Exits


Pestilence took the briefest of glances at the sign before immediately running a cable from Infinity's laptop to the computer built in near the door.

"I'm liking that last one," Fenrir said, and Pestilence glanced up at her, only to spot her fiddling with something herself, half-turned away so the tech-savy femme couldn't see what she was doing.

"What's that?" Pestilence asked, and Fenrir gave her a furtive glance, actually managing a small but wry smile.

"I'll show you mine if you show me yours." she suggested.

Pestilence showed her the screen. She was on a directory marked 'Summation Project' with just one last password prompt remaining. Her decrypting had only hinted that it was a seven-letter word beginning with I.

"How's it coming?" Fenrir asked, putting her side project away and glancing about the woods, then above herself, just in case. This 'bot seemed capable of coming at them from any possible direction, and she wasn't doing to die just yet. Not before she got payback for everybody else. Especially Sunset.

"Password decrypter's out of date, doesn't move as fast as it used to. I'm down to one last prompt. Starts with an I...seven letters...I think it's someone's name, but that's just a hunch. Lots of femmes use names for passwords." Pestilence said, drumming her fingers on the locked door.

Fenrir was still thinking about Sunset, and at hearing the last sentence, her memory files dipped deep at a name Sunset had mentioned once or twice.

"Try...Invoice?" she suggested. Pestilence typed it in, and her optics widened as the prompt immediately blinked an affirmative, granting her unfettered access to Infinity's secrets.

"How'd you guess that?" she asked.

Fenrir's face was stoic, her expression hard and set. "Sunset's best friend...Infinity's daughter," she said. Her tone of voice said the rest.

Pestilence opened her mouth to say something, some platitude, then shut it again. There was nothing she could say. She started to open up files, scanning them quickly. Fenrir spent the time looking around the woods surrounding the access station. Null was damned patient. She had to be, too- she continued to work on her own device. When next Pestilence spoke, it was in a soft, stunned whisper.

"I can't believe it. I can't believe she authorized this."

"Keep talking. Can't afford to read over you shoulder," the bounty hunter stated. The waiting was almost worse. Every second that went by she swore she could feel him getting closer, even though there was no way he could manage it. By the Pit, and what if she did get him in a fair fight? Infinity and Prism had taken their best shots, and they were a lot better at hand to hand than she was. She managed a wry smirk. Not how she'd planned to go out, but...


"He was designated Null. The files say he used to be a Cybertronian prisoner, but he was taken and wiped clean of personality, of faction, of beast mode, of everything except the same murderous qualities that got him imprisoned in the first place. He was a work in progress for years, before Infinity's daughter was even constructed. And...their design goals, their mission statement...Null was given enhanced abilities, he can hide in the shadows, he can ignore injuries that'd stop any normal 'bot, because of his function...."

"What function? He's another corporate assassin?" Fenrir asked when Pestilence's voice momentarily faltered.


"No, that's not it." Pestilence shook her head, struggling to convey the wrongness of it. "They felt- Infinity agreed- that there are too many powerful beings running around in this galaxy. You could send a fleet at someone like Dark Pyre and still lose every ship. Transmetal IIs, Greater Force, 'bots with no allegiance save to themselves who thrive on armed conflict. They wanted someone who could take down the most powerful among us with the most rudimentary means- hide in plain sight, prey on their fears, and dispose of them quickly and efficiently without great energy loss.

"Do you see now? Null isn't an assassin, he's a...a deterrent! A Cybertronian boogeyman they unleashed to stalk and pick off anyone who looks like a threat! And he does it because it's all he knows, it's what he's for. They just didn't anticipate him perceiving their own power and turning on them!"

"So why the hell is he after us? Or at least, you and me? I get Sin, Prism, Infinity, but..." She took a deep breath; the last thing she could do in front of Pestilence was let her voice crack. "Sunset, that jerkass dragonfly, Cheshire, nothing superpowered about them," Fenrir said, scowling.

"They're competent enough. Any trained merc or soldier will do. Anyone who poses a danger. He must be drawn to us, our liveliness, anyone among us that seems willful, amoral, independent. He ends life. Hunting the powerful was just the first step. And Infinity helped make him and set him loose, to...even the odds, take out the biggest threats. Their dark equalizer." Pestilence's voice shook with anger.

"Karma's a bitch," she said flatly. Infinity was lucky that she was dead...because if she wasn't, Fenrir damn well would have taken her out then and there for her part in Sunset's death. "Does that get us into this hatch, or out of this place?" She said.


"No, this does." Pestilence replied, leaving the project folders and opening up the station interface programs. With the stroke of a key, the door was sliding open to reveal a flight of stairs leading down into darkness, illuminated only by dim red lights along the walls. Pestilence unhooked the laptop and began to head down the stairs, but Fenrir didn't follow right away. Her hackles were up- this was too easy.

"...damn," she muttered, and turned around. Sure enough, standing about fifteen paces away was Null. She hadn't heard a whisper of his approach, and as false clouds flitted across starlight and moonlight, parts of him seemed to fade away, becoming insubstantial, then solidifying again a moment later. "Hey, Pest?" She called out, standing at the top of the stairs.

"Fenrir?" The other femme asked, looking confused. Fenrir answered by swinging her makeshift weapon towards the access pannel, shattering it. Expectedly, the hatch immediately slammed shut, two red lights appearing, as the wolf femme looked back at Null with a smirk.

"Sorry. All full up."
She could hear Pestilence shouting on the other side of the door, banging on it with her fists, muffled by the thick alloy layers. Null regarded this curiously, then looked at Fenrir. He had procured a machete in the woods, its edge glinting wickedly in the moonlight as it hung at his side.

"Get out of here, Pest," Fenrir said, turning her head just slightly to yell through the door, not even sure if she could hear. "You-" She turned her focus back just in time to block a wicked swing, wincing at the force of the blow as the machete cleaved halfway through her own makeshift weapon! "Fine!" She growled out, pushing back against the implacable killer, Null's expression still curious. "No emotions left? Let's see if you feel this!" Her right foot shot up and out...right at the other's groin.

The force of the blow staggered Null slightly, but if he registered the pain, he didn't react to it overtly. He simply took a quick step back, seeming to recalculate his position, and brought another swing in low, as though to lop off Fenrir's extended leg at the knee.

Fenrir brought her leg down, but not fast enough, and let out a yell as he cleaved into her heavy armor, digging deep. When she pulled back, she shifted her weight instinctively to her bad leg, and stumbled. This just made it easier for Null to follow it up with another vicious swing. Clenching her jaw, she blocked the blow with her arm, instead of the weapon, and her left hand went limp as he cut almost halfway through it, energon running down the blade and her limb...but this left him wide open to her own answering strike, aiming at the same place he'd been hit before; right in the face.

This blow had all the force Fenrir could muster, and she felt Null's nose and cheek crumple inward, metal rending and mechfluid spurting. He looked at her with one optic cracked, and a faint approximation of surprise flashed across his features, to be followed by one of keen interest as he continued to push her back towards the closed door, machete raised to strike.

Her injured leg couldn't take the weight, not when he was shoving at her and holding nothing back, and she staggered again, only to gasp sharply in surprise and pain, looking down to find Null's machete had actually been stabbed through her, the blunt end piercing through a weak point in her armored stomach, and pinning her to the hatch behind herself. She could only hope that Pestilence had gotten far enough away...wouldn't that be ironic if her plan offed the plucky femme? The thought made her chuckle, the whole unbelievable night finally coming to bear; Sunset, dead. Crucifix, dead. Infinity, dead. Primus, everybody was dead, and now it was her turn. She actually grinned at Null then.

"Didn't think..." She rasped. "I'd ever go out like this..." Her sickle-like makeshift weapon fell to the ground, and instead her hand clasped a wierd looking black sphere, with various wires and bits pokint out as she grinned at her killer.

"What is that?" Null asked, looking at the device, head tilting with curiosity.

"A surprise," she said, optics dimming, before she closed them. "See you soon, Sunny...I hope." Fenrir took a breath, and her thumb pressed the small red button on the side.

Pestilence, hammering on the wall from the inside, saw a flash of white light around the seams of the door and a blast of force push it into an outward bulge, shoving her back down the stairs. She stumbled down several steps, shouting out Fenrir's name as she gazed up at the ruined door. Smoke started to rise from the gap in the door, moonlight showing through the crack, and for a long minute Pestilence watched in silence. Then a machete blade, dark with mechfluid, scraped through the rent hole in the door and a hand started to scrabble at the edges.

Pestilence turned and ran deeper into the station.


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 Post subject: Re: Unnatural Death
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:38 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:28 pm
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Pestilence sprinted through the metal and concrete labyrinth of the biosphere's maintenance level, guided on her way only by the occasional sign stenciled on the wall. She hit the door marked 'Emergency Exits' running, only to bounce off it with a resounding -clang-. The sedate, slightly uneven steps echoing in another corridor paused, then started to get louder, moving in her direction.

"Oh, damn it, damn it, damn it, dammit, dammit-!" Pestilence tugged on the door handle, beating on it briefly with her fist, then shook her head angrily. She'd have to find another console to open it. She glanced upwards, spotting a sign marked 'Supervisor Area' and placed her bet as that being the way to go, running down the adjacent hallway as fast as she could.

She'd only gotten a glimpse of Null as he'd cut and beaten his way through a door designed to stop an army. One arm hanging uselessly at his side, the other punching and slicing away methodically with that strange machete. When the door had given way, she'd almost been halfway back down the stairs, and he'd simply began walking after her, steadily, slowly, his right leg dragging behind him, twisted and bent from the explosion.

Pestilence almost passed the doorway she needed to go through, stopping herself by reaching out and snagging the frame in her palm. She whipped around and vaulted into the supervisor's station, a narrow throat of a room with a console behind a wall of safety glass and two doorways behind the console, 'Waste Control Access B' and 'Processing Plant Access A'. The console was in power-save mode, but responded at the first touch of any key, booting up with a loud hum. Pestilence drummed her fingers, waiting for the console to fully power on, began to look over the screens, and selected 'Emergency Exits'. With the stroke of another key, she could hear doors swinging open.

The dragging footsteps paused...and then didn't resume. Pestilence stopped what she was doing, listening. Was it...possible that the monster had finally collapsed? That the wounds inflicted on him coupled with Fenrir's sacrifice hadn't been for nothing?

Then a long shadow fell across the doorway to the supervisor station. Pestilence froze; had it taken that long for the stupid console to boot? Null appeared in the doorway, his blackened and mechfluid-drenched machete swaying at his side. Pestilence picked up the metal rotating chair behind her and hurled it at him. It struck him, and he staggered back, his balance poor from his wounded leg, but without a moment's hesitation he began to walk into the room towards her, moving fast, too fast the horrible damage he'd suffered! His uncracked optic was fixed entirely on her, as he raised his weapon. He was blocking the door, looming in front of her. Pestilence chanced a quick glance at the console, seeing that there was another emergency exit inside the processing plant. Her brief moment of hesitation cost her, as the machete raked across her arm and grazed down her side. She shrieked, kicking out at him and stumbling backwards to fall flat on her skid.

Null raised his weapon again, and brought it down, Pestilence desperately swinging out another part of the console, the access panel deflecting the machete down into the ground, narrowling missing her and digging several inches into the solid metal floor Spotting her opportunity, the young moth femmebot skittered out from beneath his shadow, shoving the 'Processing Plant Access' door open with both palms while still scrambling to her feet. She ran out through a short hallway with glass windows on either side, emerging on a catwalk, and stopped short.

Below her was a maze of conveyor belts, wood-chippers, buzz-saws, and grasping robotic arms frozen in place. She could see a gigantic cargo lift at one side, descended from an unknown area of the camp, and the lift was piled with those sturdy technorganic tree-trunks, with one massive grabber arm standing dormant. Pestilence began to hurry down the catwalk stairs, hopping down two steps at a time, holding her bleeding arm with a wince each time her feet hit the metal steps.

Those haunting, horrible steps resumed, somehow he was already at the same door she had just passed through, staggering slowly down the ladder. It slowed him down some, but not enough, not nearly enough. The place was dark, too, emergency lighting slinging terrifyingly large shadows in every which direction. Pestilence's mind raced. Null was fast, he seemed to be healing as he went, and for someone who had just been caught in an explosion, his hearing was still near perfect. She needed noise, and weaponry, anything to slow him down. Then she spotted what she needed- the factory's main control console. This one was shut off in a glass-windowed office with a card key slot. Pestilence smashed her elbow through the window, yanking open the door, and stood in front of the console.

Unfortunately, there was no big red button that said 'Start Sawmill'. But Pestilence had the engineering and technical know-how, and the setup was fairly simple. She set everything to top allowable speed, started all arms on 'Auto-Grab', and after running the automatic systems and power check, began the startup sequence. Within moments, the plant sprung to life.

A moment later, and she felt a sharp pain lance through her side; only his damaged vision had saved Pestilence from being cut in two. The machete swung awkwardly, and cut into the control panel, the lights on it flickering wildly, then dimming. There would be no going back now...and with a whimper of pain, she staggered away from him as he turned to follow. Pestilence turned left, the bleeding in her side intensifying as she tried to reach up to grip a ladder. She winced, gritting her teeth, and forced herself up it rung by rung, glancing over her shoulder. Null was walking towards her underneath, with that calm and fascinated stare on his face. And, was it her imagination, or did his face look slightly less broken? She started to climb faster. Null readily followed her, seeming to always prefer the most direct path to an alerted prey. But this time he paid for it- as soon as he was at the top of the ladder, Pestilence had wrenched a fire extinguisher free and was swinging for his head.

She struck him solidly, and his grip slackened on the ladder. With a cry that was equal parts desperation and rage, she hit him again, and sent him plummeting tot he bottom of the ladder again. She'd bought herself time, but how much? Sawblades, conveyer belts, the noise was incredible! Even as he lay there though, she saw him slowly sit up, and yes, his cracked optic was now whole!

"I'm just going to keep fighting you! I'm not afraid of you, Null!" Pestilence shouted above the din, glaring down the ladder at him with the severely dented extinguisher in her grip. She was unable to keep a tremor out of her voice as she said it. Null was silent as he slowly stood up, testing his injured leg and looking up at her.

"It won't matter," he predicted, and began to climb again, seemingly uncaring of the fire extinguisher she held! "I'll keep coming."

Pestilence swung the extinguisher again, knowing in the back of her mind it wouldn't work this time, and it didn't- Null just reached an arm up to catch it, knocking it aside. The moth femmebot turned and started to run down the catwalk, but Null was still so quick, so frighteningly quick. His hand caught her ankle and she slammed hard onto the metal walkway, struggling to crawl away from him as he continued his ascent up the remainder of the ladder. Somehow she managed to gain enough distance, his machete arcing down and sparking off of the catwalk. At the same time, a whirring sawblade swung nearby, barely missing Null! Whatever he had done to the console Pestilence had activated had driven most of the equipment in here haywire!

Pestilence got to her feet, and promptly ducked again to avoid a spasming robot arm. Null stood up and headed swiftly for her, seeming to grow both darker and less substantial as he passed between lit portions of the catwalk, his limp already becoming more mild. He swung the machete and Pestilence diverted the robot arm into his way. It cut through, and deeply, but not all the way, and as the arm swung back out, Null was wrenched forward. He refused to give up his weapon, however, and paid for it when the cutting arm came back, dicing neatly into his already damaged leg. Pestilence slammed her shoulder into him, forcing him to drop the machete. The damaged robot arm swiveled away, with the battered blade still stuck in it.

Pestilence started to kick at his damaged leg, but with an eerie swiftness, he had snagged a length of chain connecting to the catwalk in his other arm and looped it around her neck! Worse still, pivoting on his good leg, he suddenly swung her over the edge, dangling her by the chain over the catwalk, hanging above the factory-gone-mad! Pestilence let out a strangled gasp as she kicked at empty air, holding the chain around her neck on one hand and fighting to keep hold of the catwalk's rails with the other. Below her, tree-trunks were being fed into a massive alloy-blade woodchipper with deafening buzzes and crashes. She couldn't suffocate like a human, but he could snap her neck and sever power to her neural net, and so she started to thrash wildly in his grasp, fighting to stay online.

He held her there, looking over the edge, still curious as he glanced from machine to machine, wondering which one would finish her off, not wanting to do it himself now. Pestilence's optics rolled upwards slightly, and she noticed another machine swining in towards him...fate conspiring in her favor as a heavy lifting arm came down, slamming onto the catwalk, bending it nearly in half! Null kept his grip though, even as both he and Pestilence slid towards the very animated floor! Pestilence finally unlooped the chain around her neck, but as the catwalk bent, her grip on its railing slipped. She and Null plummeted, seemingly for an endless time to Pestilence's exhausted and terror-fueled senses, before her torso slammed into the railing of the next catwalk below. She cried out in pain, and then yelped as she realized Null was still holding onto her! She started to heave herself over the bent railing, calling upon strength and energy reserves she barely realized she had, as Null hung onto her legs with both hands, his expression still implacably blank.

A loud whine began to sound, as Null not only hung on, but pulled, hard, making Pestilence's arms ache painfully, feeling like the gears and joints would simply pop! The whine began to sizzle, and Pestilence looked down, seeing a cutting laser slowly making its way towards them. It was just high enough that it was burning through the catwalk, and at that height, it would sever her legs at the knees! Uncaring if he fell, Null simply held on, swaying side to side, her arms feeling like blocks of lead! Pestilence looked at the laser, boring with frightful intensity through the metal supports of the catwalk, then downward, at the whirring, gnashing abyss of the tree-shredder. She made a quick calculation in her mind, weighing just the right time to do this, and just how much strength she'd need to use for it. She let her grip on the railing start to slide, appearing to lose traction, and Null tightened his grasp. The laser moved closer, closer, until she could feel its intense heat boring nearer- and with a final surge of power, Pestilence pulled herself up the railing and hiked up her legs, bringing Null torso-first in front of the laser.

It cut through him as easily as it had the catwalk, and Pestilence let out a yell as her arms trembled, looking down at him...and he never looked away. Never said a word, never let out a cry of pain or even looked like it hurt him. And when the laser finished its work, sending his lower body plummeting to the floor proper, he didn't let go. Pestilence struggled under the catwalk railing, and though the platform creaked warningly, it held. She rolled over on the platform, seeing Null gaze with a monstrous serenity at her, and start to reach for her. She kicked out one final time, and he was knocked free.

His legs had already fallen into the rending machine below, the teeth slowing down somewhat; it wasn't designed to manage armor, especially armor and mech limbs that slowly regenerated! Null's torso fell down and followed his legs, landing in the chipper, but the gears only slowed further...grinding to a stop just as the light in his optics began to flicker. Pestilence crouched on the swaying catwalk, staring down at him with horror. Mechfluid was running down his chin, and he just reached with his remaining arm for her. His hand stopped in midair, and he just gazed silently up at her. It dawned on him then, perhaps, that he couldn't reach her, and his hand slowly lowered, smoke rising from the machine as it was unable to commit its intended purpose. And instead, he just looked. And watched.

Pestilence stood up, clutching at her slashed and beaten torso, and started to limp away along the catwalk. She took the steps gingerly down to the floor, heading for the nearby emergency exit, always keeping her optics locked on Null. Threatener would've undoubtedly told her to watch for a final scare- he'd pop out from nowhere, crawl after her, something- but he remained stuck in the woodchipper, its teeth intermittently sliding or gnawing a little deeper into him, looking at her in silence.

The last thing she saw as he left the room was Null. Staring.

It was a slow, painful walk through the emergency exit to one of the escape pods. Pestilence began the launch sequence, and had little trouble reaching one of the nearest colony worlds' Cybertronian police lines. 'Too little, too late', she thought regretfully as she sank into her seat.

"Hello? This is...Pestilence. I've just survived an encounter with a...project at the Infinitech biosphere. There's been an incident. I'm launching an escape pod, please intercept and provide medical help. These are the coordinates." she said, as the pod launched out into the calm blackness of space, leaving the killer behind.

"Roger that, Pestilence. S&R is on the way. ETA six megacycles."

"Thanks." Pestilence leaned her head back on the seat, closing her optics, wanting badly to just go into stasis and sleep for about a year.

"Are there any other survivors?" the radio prompted her.

"One survivor...don't let him out from where he is. He can never be let out again. Do you understand?" Pestilence struggled to say.

"...roger that, we'll make sure to alert the proper authorities."

"Don't let the proper authorities anywhere near him! They'll want to use him! Just lock him up. Someone like that...should've stayed dead."

And with that, Pestilence laid her head back, and waited for someone to take her back to safety. And she remembered those who'd been lost. She always would.


THE END



(Thanks for reading this far. It's been a lot of fun for both Pyre and I. It couldn't have happened without his skilled writing and my memory retention of dozens of cheesy slasher movies. Hope you enjoyed this thread, and please remember this isn't actual AUG canon continuity. Though Null may still be lurking somewhere on a board...be careful.)


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