Trix eased her bike in his direction and stopped it again when she was right next to him. “Get on,” she said to him.
Apollo climbed onto she seat behind her. He pressed the lower portion of his body uncomfortably close to the rear of hers and placed his palms down on the top of her thighs, caressing the inside of her legs with his fingers. “Honestly,” Apollo said softly as he leaned his lips in closer to her ear. “How much do you want me right now?”
Trix released the brake and rocketed the machine into motion. The image of an Agent making the corner at the far end of the hall forced her to increase bike’s rate of speed. By the time the suit had produced a gun and began hurling bullets in their direction the bike had already managed to swing a hard left at in intersection in the hallway.
The bell signaling the arrival of an elevator car sounded and the elevator doors parted. The crowd of TechWare employees inside of the car erupted into a chorus of shocked gasps and stunned glances as they watched the rear end of a motorcycle backing into the confines of the elevator car. The crowd parted down the middle to allow room for the thing and looked on with a tinge of fear as the doors shut closed, sealing them inside with the two riders.
Trix leaned forward over the handlebars and hit the button for the lobby. “Apollo?” she said when she made it back down to her seat.
“What?” he responded.
“Oh,” he replied, prying his hands away from her body and crossing his arms in front of his body as he reached inside of his coat. “Right.” When his hands emerged again his palms held two semiautomatic handguns that he extended out to both sides of his body, eliciting even more shocked gasps from the individuals huddled against the walls of the elevator.
When the elevator doors parted again Trix found herself staring directly into the smiling face of the Gotterdammerung himself. “Leaving so soon?” he said to her.
Trix gunned the engine and slammed on the gas. The bike exploded out of the elevator and crashed directly into Gott’s chuckling body. Bent over the front of the handlebars as Trix fired the engine through the building lobby, Trix could have sworn that she could still hear him laughing over all the noise. Apollo pushed his two gun toting hands underneath her arms and aimed both barrels at the body impaled on the front of the bike. Thunderous explosions accompanied the hailstorm of bullets that he released in Gott’s direction. Trix had a front row seat at the viewing of the extreme ineffectiveness of the projectiles. Each one that hit the insidiously chuckling man in front of her simply vanished into a small puff of green streaming matrix feed upon impact before evaporating into the air.
The bike exploded through the glass doors that made up the building entrance. Managing to avoid coming into contact with any of the traffic that filled the street outside, the bike quickly crossed over to the parking lot across the street. Once there Trix felt one of Apollo’s arms wrap around her midsection. He snatched her body back hard enough to pry her fingers loose from the handlebar grips and uproot her leather clad bottom from the seat cushion. With the soles of his shoes skidding across the parking lot pavement Apollo held Trix in his arm as he watched the bike holding Gott on the front of it continue on ahead of them across the parking lot. He raised the gun that he held in his free hand and fired a series of rounds at the bike’s gas tank.
Their slide across the parking lot slowing, Trix and Apollo watched the motorbike explode into flames before crashing into a parked car. The collision only helped to increase the fiery mass’ girth as the gas tank belonging to the car ignited in tune with the bike. When Trix was back on her feet again she marched toward the flaming wreckage at a heated pace. Sure enough she saw Gott walk out of the twisted heap of burning metal without so much as a wrinkle in his suit.
“Well that was fun,” he said to the woman marching towards him. “I almost can’t wait to see what you’ve prepared for an encore.
Trix swung a punch at the body that melded into a cloud of swirling code mere milliseconds before she could make contact with it. She quickly found herself engulfed inside of a swirling typhoon of giggling code characters. Each instance that the cloud collapsed in on itself and became whole again a swinging blow by her only forced it to separate again. “If nothing else,” the cloud spoke to her, “your persistence is certainly amusing.”
Gott became whole again and Trix spun her body around to face him. “What say we make this quick?” Gott said to her.
He swung the back of his knuckles against her cheek and sent her body soaring up into the skies high above their heads. Trix’s body moved through the air until a billboard attached to the top of a towering building nearby forced it to stop. Her back slammed hard against the obstruction and she dropped down flat on the platform beneath her. Aching and hurting all over, Trix used her arms to push her upper body up off of the wooden platform that she’d fell on. Twisting her head around to the side, she glanced up at the image of a larger than life photograph of the Merovingian’s face. Apparently the billboard that she had crashed into had been erected to announce to every registered voter the notification of the Merovingian’s intended bid in the upcoming gubernatorial race. “You have got to be kidding me,” Trix said to herself as she attempted pulling herself the rest of the way up to her feet.
Apollo made a dash for Gott’s back only to have it dissolve into sparkling green dust once he was right on top of it. Recombining at his back, Gott smashed the bottom of his foot into Apollo’s lower back and sent him sailing into a parked car. “I’ll deal with you momentarily,” was all Apollo had heard before gathering himself back up to his feet, turning, and finding no one behind him.
“Come now,” Trix heard a voice call out to her just as she was pulling herself upright. She turned to see Gott’s slow stride in her direction. “I promised to make this quick. How do you expect me to make good on my word if you continue to keep loafing about?”
She swung a wide right hook when he came close enough only to have her wrist caught up in his clutching palm. The next thing that she felt was the fingers of his other hand clasping around her throat. His grip was like a vice around her neck that continued to tighten with each passing second. It was all Trix could do to keep trying to fill her lungs with a fresh breath of air. She felt her feet leave the ground beneath her as Gott hoisted her in the air in front of him. Slowly and gently he twisted his body around until he was holding Trix out over the drop that lead down to the street far below.
“How ‘bout I stop the ticking of that digital pump embedded behind your breastplate?” Gott spoke to her. “It would be simple enough to pull off. Or maybe I should just reach into that thick brainpan of yours and scramble things up. Although given the givens that might just prove to be a bit more redundancy than I care to deal with at the moment.”
His words seemed as distant as voices in a dream to Trix as she fought against impossible odds to try and remain conscious, something that she was finding harder to do with each moment that went by.
“Let her go,” a voice called through the air across the rooftop.
Gott turned his head toward his left shoulder and saw Raven walking across the platform in his direction. Syntax squinted his eyes at the screens that surrounded him in the core of the Nexus. “What the hell is that?” he spoke to the green code covered screens.
“Absolutely,” Gott replied to her. “To be honest, this was getting a bit boring.” He released his hands from Trix and her body began to plummet toward the street below. “I’m pretty sure that shouldn’t be a problem that I’ll find common with you,” he said, turning to Raven.
Dustin’s bike weaved around the vehicles in front of him as he sped through the traffic cluttering the busy street. Turning his shade covered eyes up toward the sky, he caught sight of the limp body falling for the earth and felt an icy chill swim through the pit of his stomach. “Shit,” he uttered before abandoning the still mobile bike for the skies above.
Trix barely had consciousness enough to feel the wind rushing past her body. Coming into rough contact with…something, she suddenly felt the rush of air begin to move in the opposite direction. She opened her eyes to the sight of Dustin’s gently smiling face. “I can’t leave you alone for five minutes, can I?” he said to her.
“Are you kidding me,” Trix replied groggily. “I almost had him.”
“So let’s see it,” Gott said to Raven. “I imagine your best should be slightly more stimulating than the rest of your counterparts.” Raven removed a pistol from the confines of the coat she wore and emptied the clip in Gott’s direction. He breathed out an extremely disappointing sigh. “It seems I was sadly mistaken.”
The gun dropped from Raven’s palm and a pained scream spilled from her lips as she buckled over. Gott cracked a grin at the sight of her RSI constantly shimmering out of focus. When the pain subsided Raven steadied her eyes on the image of Gott standing on the platform in front of her. She let her mind wander over the countless amount of data that filled her body as well as the digitized world all around her. When she rose to her feet again Raven felt a fresh weapon materialize in the palm of her hand. Taking aim on the Gott once more, she squeezed the trigger and released a single round.
“Aauugh,” he called out as his body was knocked to the side. Lifting a palm up to the side of his shoulder, he patted it lightly against the torn fabric of his coat only to pull back a hand coated with a crimson fluid. “It would seem that you’re not as inept as I previously expected,” he said as he turned back to Raven. “But alas. This is no way to resolve this conflict. Not here. Not like this. Not when a much more fitting arena awaits. When you’re ready meet me there. If such an instance should ever arise.”
Those words were the last Raven heard from him before watching his body scatter in the breeze.
“I’m fine,” Trix responded, craning her neck, which still ached with a phantom pain, from side to side. “Hey, where’s Raven?” she asked, looking around at the other chairs occupied by her shipmates and finding no sign of her. “Did you get her out?”
“I never got her in,” Syntax said as he walked back over to his workstation. “I was sitting here going nuts trying to figure out what the hell that was I was reading.” After downloading the information that Dustin had received from the Oracle and Apollo had acquired from the system at TechWare Syntax formatted them to a disc that he ejected from one of the many drives surrounding him. “I can’t wait to hear how she plans on explaining that little magic trick.”
“Well, when you do find her,” Trix said, climbing out of her chair, “tell her thanks for me.” She immediately departed the that area of the Nexus and headed off down a tunnel that would lead her back to her quarters.
“Hey,” she heard a voice call out to her from the area at her back. She turned around in the corridor and watched Dustin make his way towards her.
“What is it?” she said to him.
“You are okay, aren’t you?” he spoke as he stepped in her direction.
“A little rattled that’s all,” she said as she rubbed her palms up the sides of her arms. “Nothing that won’t pass in time. By the way. I really appreciate what you did for me back there.”
“You should save you praises for my more gracious moments,” Dustin said to her as he slowly passed her by. “Instead of my esteemed acts of selfishness.”
“Got any plans for dinner tonight, Mr. Selfish,” Trix called after him.
Dustin stopped walking and turned to face her. “I was kind of planning on enjoying the soupy mess that passes as sustenance around here in the confines of my room. I managed to smuggler a few condiments onboard last time we docked that just may succeed in making it possibly seem a bit more exciting than it truly is. Why do you ask?”
“Because it just so happens that I caught the contraband bug myself and managed to stowaway a loaf of bread and two liters of a concoction that Syntax swears could eat through metal. Any chance that I could convince you to gather up your spices and join me in my quarters tonight?”
Dustin arched his eyebrows and tilted his upper body back some. Trix stood there and watched as he began pulling back the sleeves of the tattered top he wore. “What are you doing?” she said to him.
“Nope. The plugs are still here so this can’t be a simulation,” he said, still inspecting his limbs. “There must be some other logical explanation for this strange phenomenon.”
“Is that a yes?” Trix said to him.
“That depends. Can I assume that by accepting this invitation I will hereby be entitled to move my things into your quarters on this ship?” Dustin asked, taking a step in her direction.
“Now you’re just pushing your luck,” she responded through the smile that she was starting to wear.
“Alright. Keep the ship. How about back in the city?” he said, continuing to close in on her.
“I’m prepared to offer you one overnight bag on the ship and possibly the relinquishing of a tiny bit of closet space back in the city. Any more of your company in either locale and I’m afraid that the loss of sanity that I’d suffer from would leave me unable to perform my duties in the service.”
“One more question,” Dustin said, bringing his boots to a stop directly in front of hers. “Will there be dessert after we’re done?”
Depends on your table manners,” Trix said to him.
Apollo moved into the hallway just in time to catch sight of Dustin leaning his lips down into hers. “Uugh,” he grunted at the sight as he continued to move through the corridor. “You two keep sucking face in the hallway like that and I’m gonna come back through here with a hose,” he said as he moved past them.
Syntax banged on the metal door until it finally swung open. Raven stood there and stared silently into the reprimanding expression that covered his face. “Someone’s been playing around with their new toys,” he said as he marched into the room past her. Raven shut it closed and turned around to face him once more. “Which wouldn’t be a problem,” Syntax continued, “had she not already been specifically grounded from doing so. What do you think you’re doing? I’m trying to save your life here.”
“I did what I had to in order to see them back aboard this ship safely,” she responded, crossing her arms in front of her. “No different than any practice that you indulge in on a daily basis.” Syntax gave her his back as he moved further into the room. “Funny. I was expecting something in the way of a nod of approval.”
“And I was expecting to this mess all cleaned up and tidy by now. Guess disappointment is a reality that we’re both just going to have to learn to come to terms with.”
Raven walked over to where he stood and rubbed her palm up along his right shoulder blade. “Ever since you brought me aboard this ship I’ve come to learn that reality has an odd way of redefining itself when you least expect it.” Syntax spun around to face her. “Maybe instead of wasting time worrying about the trials that we’re going to continue to keep facing we should be investing a greater deal of our energy in focusing on what’s best for each other.”
“Any theories on where we should begin taking up that charge?” he said to her as he stared down into her eyes.
“One or two,” Raven replied to him.
Raven turned her head toward her left shoulder and glanced over at the softly sleeping face of the man lying in bed next to her. Lifting the arm that he had draped across her waist, Raven gently eased her way out of bed and gathered up her discarded clothing before abandoning the quarters altogether.
Making her way back to the core of the ship, she found Apollo leaning back in the operator’s chair with his head slumped back over the seatback as he slept. Raven stared studiously at the image of the scrolling green matrix feed that the screens all around him projected onto his face. When she crawled into one of the loading chairs her eyes drifted over to the green glowing screens. Watching the characters slither down the over the pitch black backdrop, she knew that somewhere in that digital world there was an ancient deity patiently awaiting her arrival. Raven knew exactly where he would be and his quickening was one that was long overdue.
He moved down the bright white corridor at a slow and steady pace. The doors lining the walls on either side of him held no interest for him because there was only elongated rectangular structure that he had in his sights. Reaching it on the wall that blocked the hallway off at a dead end, he reached his hand out and took hold of the knob.
It was a door that allotted no key access. A door that could only be opened by those in possession of a knowledge so infinitely profound in the workings of this system that the barrier would give way at simply the mere tough of their hand.
Gotterdammerung stepped across the snow covered concrete as he listened to the noise of the door sealing shut behind him. Turning his eyes up grays skies that drizzled down with a flurry of floating flakes allowed him a view of the numerous faces carved out of stone that covered this digital replica of the structure that the war torn real world once knew a the Parthenon.
Lowering his eyes once more, Gott placed them on the back of the kneeling individual that he continued to close in on. “So glad that you could make it,” Gott spoke. “For a moment I wasn’t sure that you’d come.”
“That’s not true,” Raven said to him. “You knew I’d show up here just as surely as I knew where I’d find you.”
“Right,” he said to her back. “I suppose the time for games has long since passed. Moments such as these were created for the actions of warriors. Not the comments of jesters. After all, that is why I had this arena constructed.”
“Then let’s not waste your efforts!”
Raven grabbed up the long spear lying at her feet and swung it around behind her as she turned around and rose to her feet. Gott leapt up into the air to avoid the blow being directed at his lower legs. Finishing out the circular motion that the sharp spearhead cut through the air, Raven immediately set it out along a new path; one directed at her opponents head. Gott ducked to avoid its promise and when Raven caught the stick in both of her hands and lowered the point down towards the top of his head a broad sword materialized in his hand. He brought it up just in time to collide with the staff and prevent the blade from landing on him.
“Excellent,” Gott said to her as he pushed her weapon away. “I initially expected that I might have some trouble lulling you into the spirit of things.”
Raven locked her eyes with his as they slowly circled around each other. “With such a heightened sense of perception, it’s a wonder why your guidance ever became obsolete at all.”
She backpedaled as she fended off three swipes from his sword.
“Merely a lack of vision on the parts of powers too steeped in their own arrogance to be rightly reasoned with.” Raven came at him again jabbing, prodding, and swinging her blade at him. “Where others sought to pacify you, I was encouraged to tap in to the true nature of your existence.” He continued to swing his sword, blocking and deflecting each of her blows in turn. “Mankind’s place isn’t to be lulled away in some placid paradise, or packed away into the monotonous dealings of a self-sustaining economic grind mill.”
Raven leapt into the air drawing the staff she held far back over her shoulder. Gott twirled his body around as he jumped up to meet her. Raven lowered her spearhead and Gott swung his blade with an upward arc. The wood in Raven’s hands was shattered to splinters as Gott’s blade sliced the staff she held in half. They touched down again with their backs to one another; Gott still clutching hold to his sword and Raven with two separate ends of hardwood in her hands.
“It’s overcoming adversity that marks the signature of your species,” Gott said as he turned to face her back. “You’ve always been combatants in one form or another. Whether it be the struggle to survive against nature; the wars you wage against the entire universe that surrounds you; or even the everyday conflicts within each and everyone of you. What is the matrix, Veronica Starks?”
Dropping the two broken pieces that she held in her hands, Raven saw them replaced with a long length of chain. At the far end of one side hung a large spike covered orb. She hoisted the heavy weight into the air and began twirling it in arcs all around her body. Spinning her body around, she let the spiked ball loose in Gott’s direction. Sidestepping the sharp points that came flying at him, he immediately produced a second sword in his hands.
“Despite every advancement that your civilization has been able to achieve…,” Gott spoke as he slashed his blades at the thrashing chains that Raven used to keep the spiked ball slicing through the air all around his body. “…there was nothing there that could have prevented you from initiating the conflict that led to its construction.”
Raven twirled the chain all around herself, sometimes even wrapping the links around parts of her own anatomy before she sent the mace attached to it flying at Gott. She swung at his legs, chest, head, and arms. She cracked the floor beneath their feet and shattered the marble fixtures all around them as she continued to be thwarted in her actions around every turn.
“So I figured…,” Gott said as he extended his sword and entangled it in a length of the chain that came at him. “…why stop there.” He swiped at the links with his free sword and broke through the metal.
“Huh?” Apollo said as he stirred from his slumber in the operator’s chair. He blinked his sleep weary eyes a time or two before turning them to the screens covered with streaming matrix feed. His eyelids suddenly parted wide and the rush of his pulse helped to further wake him. “Oh shit!” he spoke before hopping up from the seat and dashing off toward a ladder on the other side of the room. Apollo hopped on top of it and slid down the rails towards the lower level.
Raven slashed a set of twin swords through the air in order to combat the blades that Gott wielded. The soft hiss of the falling snow drifted over the noise of sparking metal that clinked and clanged underneath the gray skies above.
“What an excellent opportunity it was to see the fruition of the Valhalla that you all so desperately sought. It’s a shame to see its promise so wasted.”
“I wouldn’t call it a complete loss, Gott,” Raven grunted. She threw the points of the two blades that she wielded down into the stone floor on either side of his legs. Gott rushed her and Raven curled her body back into a leaping back flip. When he approached her the two feet coming up into the air beneath him clipped his chin one at a time and knocked him back. A bo staff materialized in her hands and she stabbed the edge into the snow covered ground to brace herself as she brought her legs around and down to the ground. “There still seems to be enough combat and combatants all around to appease even the likes of you,” Raven said when she was facing him once more.
“Mere shadows,” Gott commented. He came at her again. Raven spun her staff all around to deflect his attacks. “Just your true nature peeking out from the recesses that you’ve tried unsuccessfully to shield yourself from.”
“What is it?” Despauna said as he made his way into the core of the Nexus.
“You’d better take a look at this,” was all Apollo could express in the way of an answer.
The two of them gathered around the monitors that filled the operator’s station. They became so engrossed at what was displayed on the screens that Syntax had to literally shove his way past them in order to claim his seat in front of the array of consoles. His fingers instantly went flying all over the place.
Raven threw a back spinning sweep move at Gott’s legs. He jumped over the blow and came down to his feet just in time to take notice of the jump three sixty roundhouse that was destined for contact with his face. He threw his back down to the snowy ground to miss it and quickly kicked his legs up into the air to spring himself back up to his feet. Crossing his blades in front of his face allowed him to cradle the staff that Raven tried lowering on him.
“I truly believe that the continued underestimation of the unruly savagery of your species will be the undoing of the Gods that you currently lie in worship before,” Gott said to her.
“That maybe so,” Raven said roughly as Gott knocked her staff from the clutches of his blades. She spun around with the large stick twirling beside her. Gott hurried toward her back and she tucked the stick underneath her arm; thrusting it back as she dropped down to one knee.
Raven remained still on the ground; her breathing heavily labored as she tried to calm herself. “But for now, how about we just concentrate on yours,” she spoke.
Gott stood in place at her back, unable to advance any further due to the spear tip that had materialized on the edge of the staff and impaled him on the weapon.
“So be it,” he uttered softly on the wind as his blades dropped to the ground beside him. “On your way then, my little Valkyr. And allow me to hinder your duties no further.”
His body morphed into a falling cloud of flickering green code characters that dissolved into the air before coming into contact with the snow covered ground.
Raven cried out in pain, releasing the staff and clutching her hands to her abdomen as she collapsed to the ground.
“Hold on,” Syntax spoke to the screens as he ran his hands over the instruments in front of him.
Raven rolled over onto her back and stared up at the gray skies that rained down small flakes of ice onto her face. She lie there and watched as the cloud cover began to melt away and reveal the starry night sky on the other side. She felt the pain that debilitated her slowly begin to subside as the world all around her began to fade away; surrounding her with pinpoints of starlight against a blanket of black.
Raven blinked her eyes. When they came open again she was staring up into the faces of Apollo and Despauna. They were standing over the loading chair that she occupied aboard the Nexus hovercraft.
“Just so you know…,” Apollo started as he stared down at her. “…any injuries that you incur on unsanctioned broadcasts into the matrix aren’t covered by your insurance carrier and all of your medical requirements will be paid for out of your own pocket.”
“And what’s the policy on dozing off at the helm?” Despauna snapped at Apollo.
“Who was dozing? She just happened to have snuck in while I was…resting my eyes.”
“Right. Well how about if I use that lug wrench over there to see to it that your eyes receive the repose of a lifetime?”
“I believe that would be overtly violent and cruelly unnecessary, sir,” Apollo replied.
“Will you two shut up!” Syntax yelled back over his shoulder. “I think I just lost my systems operation reboot disc,” he said, tossing around the clutter that covered his station. “We are gonna be up shit’s creek in a rowboat with a screen door for a deck if I don’t find that thing.”
Dustin was sitting in one of the pilot’s chairs in the cockpit of the Nexus. He pressed buttons and flipped switches in preparation for the vessel’s impending liftoff. “So what do you think we’re in for next?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Trix answered him. “But I’m sure it’s gonna be one hell of a ride.”
The Nexus lifted up from the tunnel floor, spun around a hundred and eighty degrees, and lit off down the piping.
- The Blue Pill
- Posts: 1548
- Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:23 pm
- Location: Wrestling a harbor seal for my burrito.
- The Blue Pill
- Posts: 1548
- Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:23 pm
- Location: Wrestling a harbor seal for my burrito.