PDA

View Full Version : Mas 4



Amazeroth
30th Jun 2002, 09:41
Ok here's my last chapter btw would be nice if you could notify me of any (bad) spelling or grammar mistakes...



Seven

If anything, the rain had gotten only worse at the time Hall quit the former hypermarket. He squeezed past two police paramedics through the broken entrance door and bent his head to avoid getting a wet face.

The noise of the city, even though omnipresent no matter what time, had become noticeably louder. Car engines, klaxons, factories, construction works drowned every sound farther away from him than 10 metres... every gunshot and every scream of dying people.

Hall pulled a grimace and spat the cigarette-end into the large puddle before him. Another car had arrived, the hearse that’d bring the body to the ELPD. He didn’t feel like staying here any longer. The sooner he got to work, the better.

As he’d almost reached his car, he heard Lockhart shout after him: „Gabe, wait a sec. We’re finished here. Care to take me to the next crime scene? I’ve still like, 2 or 3 corpses to handle today.“

Staring on a piece of paper swimming on the water in front of his feet, Hall leaned onto the car.

„Sure,“ he answered when he knelt down and took a closer look at the paper. It was a photograph, upside down and apparently as soaked as it could be. He carefully picked it up by its edges and put it into a small plastic bag, some of which he always carried around in his coat. Jesus, those must have been in that pocket for, what, 10 years?

„What’s that?“ Lockhart asked. She looked down on him, frowning.

„Something your guys missed,“ Hall replied wryly and unlocked the car.

Lockhart tapped her feet. „Probably it’s their snot so they didn’t bother to pick it up. Now spill it already.“

„A picture. And if you stop whining at me out here in the rain maybe we can even take a look at it.“

Lockhart sighed. They got into the car and as Hall drove off, she examined the photograph. „Seems to have resisted the wetness quite well,“ she stated. „I’ve no idea who this guy is though. Looks like a corp nerd to me. We’ll have a look at it at the prints section, and we’ll feed the database with it. What’s up? What kinda sour grape did you bite in now?“

„Of all the people, you should be the first to get it, Lynn,“ Hall snarled, handing over the plastic bag to her. „A corp nerd. Corps. You know what it’s like to investigate a case with those guys involved. They’ll piss on our heads first, then kick our behind and there’s nothing we can do about it.“

Lockhart sighed again. She stared at the grey scenery of beton giants, the anonymous mass of people in their cars they were passing. „Alright, alright, let’s see what we can do and try not to get pissed upon by them.“

Hall didn’t answer. They sat in the car silently while stuck in one of the typical morning jams. He looked down the pillars supporting the road, onto the wasted downtown alleys littered with all kinds of debris and potholes. It was hard to make out any people there, except a hoverbike gang roaming the streets, probably for victims, or customers, or prostitutes.

„You ever heard of a guy called ‚The Razorblade Ripper‘?“ he suddenly asked.

The wailing of police sirens came closer from somewhere behind them. „Uh, no, no idea. Why?“

„They’re executing him tonight. Saw it on IJN. Supposed to have killed at least 11 people.“

Lockhart snorted. „Say, why do you watch this pointless ****? I mean, that’s as sick as what you see on the telly can get.“

Hall frowned. „Hmm. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because...“

He never got to end his sentence when the the flare of an explosion illuminated the highway, making the supportive pillars and their car tremble.

As they’d recovered from the shock, both turned their heads to see the burning remnants of the blown-up car, and in the same moment, an expensive-looking, silver hovercar whizzed past them with an insane speed. The sirens seemed to be right behind them.

Milliseconds later, the seeking beam of a hovercopter’s headlight glided over Hall’s car, and the words of a police officer rang: „All casualties and damages caused during this pursuit will be added to your charge sheet. Surrender before making things even worse.“

It wasn’t for long before they were left behind by the hovercopters and police cars with their blaring sirens. They dismissed the incident, an everyday sight as quickly, yet Hall said after some minutes of silence, while they were waiting in a queue before the security checkpoint on the exit lane: „That must’ve been a real hellride. You see how fast it’d been?“

„Well... yeah.“ She smirked. „Dream on, would-be hoverracer... you haven’t really thought of driving such a ride youself.“

Hall pulled a grimace. „So why’d you come with me? I’m sure your boys have more than enough cars of their own.“

„Guess I figured I’d enjoy your company more than that of my boys,“ she replied with a faint smile.

The metallic voice of the checkpoint computer system -all checkpoints were equipped with a minor artificial intelligence as well as several auto-aimed laser cannons- interrupted them, asking for identification.

„In a reminiscent mood, are we?“ Hall took up their conversation when they drove on. Lockhart looked at him and made a long pause before she answered. „I guess,“ she finally spoke up thoughtfully. „So... anything wrong with that?“ she asked with a faintly defensive overtone while staring at him.

Hall’s answer came hollow and emotionless, and even though he withstood her gaze, he seemed to look right through her, at some place far away from here... or nowhere at all. „Lynn. You know as well that we’re way beyond that. There is nothing left. Nothing – at all. We really should rather be spending our time thinking over what happened to that boy in the hypermarket.“

Like Hall had expected, Lockhart didn’t seem to be hurt by his rather harsh reaction... she took it up with the indifference of somebody who had lived through too many disappointments already... or did she really? He dismissed the doubt quickly.

The area they had entered still was far from being neat and orderly, but the missing of shots and screams clearly indicated this was one of the less run-down niehgbourhoods of the precinct’s scope of responsibility. Still, the cyberbars and bodyshops hedging the street evoked a rather dubious aura, as did several drunkards staggering by, lonesome or in groups.

„That boy,“ Lockhart began. „You know, I’ve had this job for a while and I’ve seen a lot of bodies and I thought I knew all of Joe Random Criminal’s tricks by now, but this... there was something in his eyes I’ve never ever seen before... this expression of fear was downright – unnatural, like... he realized that... the worst thing in the entire world he could imagine would happen to him. Whoever’d done this, he must be... I don’t know.“

Hall frowned. „Maybe some local mob boss known for his particular cruelty’d sent for him?“

„Could be... but there’s gotta be more to... hey! Wait! Pull over there. That mall. Looks like my boys’ve been faster than us again.“ Lockhart jumped out of Hall’s car as soon as he’d stopped. „And to think you imagined to drive like that madman did, lame-***,“ she scoffed at him, tightening her grip on her coat when the wind hit her.

„Why, thanks for the lift, Gabe,“ he answered, and drove off.

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

Back at the precinct, Hall didn’t bother talking with a lot of colleagues; the police station was a large building harboring hundreds of employees and he didn’t know half of them at all.

Instead, when he hurried to the stand-duty quarters to take the shower he’d missed out at home this morning, his surroundings faded to gray, as they did so often when he retreated from this bleak world into the nothingness he created in his brain. Mindlessly putting one foot before the other, he fought his way over the gray floor through gray hallways and gray doors, past small windows showing a gray sky, hardly taking notice of the officers in gray uniforms with gray faces nodding at him or walking past him

The automatic shower’s shockingly cold water tossed him back into reality ungently; he jerked and nearly slipped on the wet, sterile floor, which reminded him of the hypermarket again –and the boy’s corpse.

‚Now let’s see,‘ he recalled, ‚he was obviously not done in asleep, but he seemed to have been taken by surprise. Bad surprise, really... and still I’m totally clueless how he might’ve died. I can’t believe his heart was already going that bad.... damn.“ Hall rubbed water out of his eyes, wiped the water from his face and brushed over his short hair with his hands. „This won’t get me any further. Now why would anybody want to kill a barely grown-up, addicted homeless boy in this way. This is what freaks me out the most. I mean, wouldn’t a simple gunshot’ve done either? Lynn was right... something stinks about this, and damn the hell it does. I’m really anxious to see what Ton will dig out this time.‘ He chortled at his own, macabre pun and briefly nodded towards an officer entering the shower room. He knew him, Rinaud, a man who preferred to talk away the fact that he was once again eluding any real work by sharing all kinds of more or less pleasant gossip.

„Hey Hall,“ Rinaud started just as Hall had expected. „You won’t believe what I picked up last night. You know there’s this buddy of mine the friend of whom’s working at ReBornTech’s as a researcher... you know, genetic engineering and stuff. You know what he told em?“

„No,“ Hall said, listening with one ear only. „But I guess you’ll tell me now.“

„Right,“ Rinaud continued. „Well he said they were doing secret research down below sea level in an undersea research lab... they’re trying to create supersoldiers... ain’t that just crazy? I mean what do you think’d happen if some corp came up with some million of cloned Rambos? And you know it gets even better... something seemed to ave went awfully wrong down there and now they got a high-ranking ReBorn manager on the loose infected with some... crazy combat virus making the people go berserk.“

„O-kay,“ Hall replied, his irritation clearly audible. „That sounds just... crazy. Now just how drunk was your... friend’s friend when he gave away all this... top-secret information?“

Rinaud seemed a little confused by the sarcastic question. „Not at all! Hey, I tell you! Hey Hall, where you going?“

Hall fled from the stand duty quarters, drying his hair with a towel from the shower room when he had already left it far behind him. He made his way to his workplace in the desk room. The large hall was already almost full, and the clicking sounds of hundreds of fingers typing reports was omnipresent, only to be outnoised be an occasional shouted order.

Hall checked his mailbox for any messages, and quickly skimmed through them. Several inquiries from colleagues and superiors, a statistical file he’d requested, and a note from the pathologist, Dr. Son Ton. The examination of the boy’s corpse would be finished by 2 pm.

He spent his time working on formalities. Time passed painfully slowly, so Hall already left the desk room at 13.30 to search out Ton.

Hall found the lanky physician finishing a plate of fast food in the canteen. „Howza, doc. Got an appetite after your most recent dissection huh?“

The doctor turned his attention to him with a jerk of his head. He grinned amiably at Hall’s comment. „Ah, inspector. You’re kind of early. But nevermind, I’ve finished your case, why don’t you sit down here and we can talk about it over another plate?“

Hall couldn’t tell whether the doctor was joking or, which was entirely possible, dead serious, so with a incertain, short laugh he sat down and muttered: „No thanks, not yet. The food, I mean. But please fill me in... what do you got?“

„Well, this boy is certainly a most fascinating subject.“ As always, the Chinese seemed to gesture with his hands unknowingly while giving one of his reports, this time with a fork and a knife, which made Hall back away a little instinctively. „There are definitely no signs of any use of violence on the body. I couldn’t find any toxic or generally harmful substances in his blood, which of course doesn’t disprove he was possibly affected by such... however the apparent reaction on whatever caused his death and the fact that –to put it simply- there had been an extremely high concentration of adrenaline in his circulation at the apparent time of his death leads me to another conclusion... inspector, this boy most likely did as a result of an immense shock.“

„Shock, huh. You wouldn’t happen to have any explanation as to why he died from this shock, doctor?“ Hall inquired.

„Err, no. That’s your job, correct me if I’m wrong.“

„Right. Say, doc, could I take a look at that body once again. I mean, is his face still... preserved?“

Ton shrugged. „It is. I mean, of course you can, inspector. Now?“

„Yes, please.“

They left the canteen and Hall had to keep a firm pace to keep up with the doctor who, whatever he was doing, always seemed to be in a hurry. Still, he did a good job, as far as Hall could tell, although he’d probably never feel entirely comfortable about the indifference those pathologists made between, for example, the weather and a freshly opened corpse. It wasn’t the actual cynicism of this behavior that bothered him rather than the way it reminded him of his own indifference. Trying to distract himself, he turned to the doctor: „So, doctor, how was...“

The piercing yells of a man, sounding near the brink of insanity interrupted him: „I swear, it was them! The shadows! Are you even listening?! Please, you have to listen to me!! They were hunting me and then – and then they spoke to me!!“ The man’s voice had become more and more shrill the more he was shouting around... and there was something clearly audible in it... fear, unconcealed, indescribable fear.

Hall grabbed the doctor by his sleeve. „Hold on for a moment, doc... I think there’s somebody I’d really like to talk with right now.“

vakusuma
1st Jul 2002, 05:48
It's a lengthy but good chapter, and of course I can appreciate that reference to the car chase! :)

Who's writing next, by the way?

Dell
1st Jul 2002, 16:52
I said it once before, but it bears repeating: You are getting downright professional in your writing Amazeroth...very good work. :)

Arkron
2nd Jul 2002, 10:44
Grats on your chapter Amazeroth :)

Guess it's my turn now.. well, I have some good ideas (I hope)

Amazeroth
2nd Jul 2002, 20:39
Thanks again everybody, and good luck Arkron

Mouze1
2nd Jul 2002, 22:00
Excellent chapter Amazeroth. It is good to see the story moving again. Have been enjoying reading it.

Again, good job.
:)

4Eyes
3rd Jul 2002, 09:45
Like I said back over at the old forum: Great chapter, Amaze!

Arkron: Good luck writing!

Arkron
3rd Jul 2002, 21:40
Thanks for the support guys! I've started writing today.. should be finished in the weekend and post it on monday.

vakusuma
5th Jul 2002, 19:28
Okay. If you're an MAS 4 writer and you haven't received an email from me with the attached bundle of previous MAS 4 chapters (swear words included) ... gimme a holler ;)

Arkron
5th Jul 2002, 23:32
Thanks :)

Arkron
13th Jul 2002, 21:01
Ok, thanks to a black out (didn't that happen one time before when I was writing), my evergrowing senility and general forgetfullness, it has taken me somewhat longer to finish the chapter then I had expected. But anyways, here it is. I hope you'll enjoy it:

Edit: Edited in a spelling-checked and partly corrected version

Chapter 8: Potential

Where was she? What was the time? How long had it been since… She wanted to shake her head to ignore the thoughts, but the throbbing headache reminded her that it was probably a very bad idea. She slowly opened her eyes. The sunlight that was shining down the alley hurt her eyes. How long had she been lying here? She couldn’t remember. The last couple of days were not much more then a confused scenery of blurs, of drug enhanced slumbers and who knows what else.

She shivered. The headache and nervousness indicated that she needed her dose... badly. Perhaps she could find her way back to the house and.. Suddenly the image of Lilly entered her mind again. Any thought of the house, drugs, and dozens of other things seemed to bring up that image. She was happy, sad, angry. Her face seemed to contain all emotions at once. There wasn’t a ‘happy Lilly’ or a ‘sad Lilly’. There was just Lilly and it pained Samantha all the time.

But most of the money was still at the house. It was only chance that Samantha had not emptied her pockets when she got home on that day. Some of the money remained in her coat and that money had guided her through the days. Or rather the drugs that had been bought with it. Only now, when nothing was left, did she begin to feel the hunger for not eating for two days, and the thirst for drinking only slightly more frequent.

She managed to stand up, leaning heavily against a wall, her head screaming in protest. Her legs buckled as she staggered out onto the adjoining street. A man passing by gave her a momentarily glance of contempt. Cars passed with not so much as a sign of recognition that she was standing there. Did it really matter? There wasn’t anything to live for.

No! She would not give up. Not now. She would get over it. She would go on with her life. She straightened her head and tried to form some sort of plan. Obviously, she needed money. Perhaps there would be someone she could steal a briefcase, or a handbag from. But this was not the kind of street where stealing should be attempted. This street was still guarded by the occasional police patrol.

She looked around for any signs of a street or neighborhood that might be more suitable for thievery, but from this street, she didn’t find anything suitable. There were now two options. Go towards the centre or away from it. She decided to walk a bit towards the center. If anything, she could probably find another neighborhood there. She turned left and started walking. Or at least, her mind did. Her legs didn’t agree and, unbalanced, she fell forward on her belly.

Tears streamed down her face as she lay there. Why did everything seem to go out of its way to hurt her? Did she not at least try? She got up and sat against a wall. Topics blurred in and out of her mind, randomly, unconnected. But at least it distracted her for a while from the real world.

She didn’t notice the van stopping in front of her. She didn’t notice the three man stepping out of it, and she even didn’t notice that they picked her up, put her in the van and drove of. Only when she felt a needle injected into her arm, she was pulled back to the world. She turned and half expected to face Lilly, smiling as she gave her a dose. But instead, she looked into the sunglasses of a man she didn’t recognize and two others holding her down.

“What is..” she began, but her limbs already felt heavy and her eyelids slowly closed. Unable to fight, she relaxed all muscles. Just before sleep carried her of someplace else, she heard the fragments of a man talking over a mobile phone. “Yes.. took.. easy this time.. potential.”
---

The accursed light! They again forgot to put out the light. It seemed as if they did it on purpose. No doubt did they sense his restlessness and they were probably staring at him right now, laughing, making fun of him, mocking him. It made him wanting to smash the glass what to him was a mirror and to everyone on the other side a window into his miserable life.

As if somebody has heard his silent plea, the light bulb in the centre of the ceiling dimmed. It wasn’t dark enough, but at least it was something, he decided, as he sat against the wall under what he called ‘the mirror of life-reflection’. When he looked into it, instead of his physical body, he saw his mind, played like a book before him. Like a never-ending story. It frightened him. He couldn’t bear to look at it for long, not from only a few inches away and not from a distance. Only when he sat down under it, he felt safe, because he couldn’t see it.

How long had it been since he was put here? Weeks? Months? He remembered seeing a movie when he was but a child about a prisoner who carved stripes into the wall of his prison. He had tried to do the same, but the walls, floors and even ceiling that were made of some metal-plastic alloy resisted every carving attempt. There was nothing pointy enough in the room and he had reduced three nails to small particles of dust before he had given up. One wall was made of a bullet proof glass, looking into another cell like his, but it was empty. It had always been. He had tried to break it until the chair he used broke. And everything was a mind numbing white.

He looked around. The bed in a corner with soft sheets he never slept on, the table turned up side down that he never used. The chair that he had broken a while back and unusable since. The hated light bulb on the ceiling. And the mirror. That was it. That was all that he had to fill his days with. He was surprised he didn’t lose his sanity… or at least he didn’t believe that he lost it.

His stomach groaned. It was almost time for his daily food supply, he surmised. For some reason, he didn’t really feel hungry today. Should he stop eating? He tried that once before. When he lost consciousness, they put him on some sort of infuse that returned his strength to him, then dumped him back into this prison.

Suddenly rage gripped him. How dare they keep him like this? There wasn’t any plausible reason. He half-jumped up and turned around, looking straight into the mirror. “How dare you!” he screamed. “How dare you do this to me? I hate you!” He didn’t notice the foam that was dripping from his lips. Instead, he banged his fists against the window and kept doing it until he was too tired to lift his arm, screaming at the top of his lungs all the while. When he was done, he slowly sat down, his head in his hands, shaking violently.

He heard a tuneless buzz, the indication that he could get his daily food from a hatch fixed in a wall. Though he was hungry, he felt to tired to eat. He decided to sleep and eat tomorrow. He lay down on the floor under the mirror, his back towards it and closed his eyes. Immediately the noises began. He couldn’t place them, he couldn’t recognize them, but they had been there all the time. It was a strange comfort listening to them. A kind of relaxing feeling one might here when a train passes far away, your ears just within hearing range as you try to sleep. He slept in a short time.

It was the sound of voices that awakened him. As he opened his eyes, he happened to lay facing the glass wall, and he saw the people that had put them here. They were the first he had seen in a long time, and although he suspected he would be glad to see a fellow human again, he instead was filled with anger. They were carrying another human into the cell next to his. Another one was to share his faith. He lunged forward, his hands banging against the glass, his nails screeching as he threw curses at the men. If they heard him, they made no indication of it. Sound proof cells or not, he kept screaming until the men had laid down their prisoner on the bad and left the room.

When he came to his senses again, he studied the female lying on the bed. She was dressed in the same white pajama as he was. Coupled with her pale face and deep sunk eyes, it almost made her look like a ghost. Only her long black hair and occasional breathing movement indicated that she was alive. He sat close, watching her, watching the only new thing he had seen in God knows how long.
---

She had the same dream again. At first, she just stood there. Something had happened in the real world. Something that should be alarming to her, but she couldn’t recall exactly what it was. She decided not to go chase it, and looked up to the unchanged scenery.

The buildings were still lopsided, the people still faceless. The road ahead still split in three, and not one of them differed from the rest. Yet, there was something wrong. She tried to recall the memories of her previous dreams here, but it was difficult. Suddenly she saw it. She was standing a few steps closer to the scene. Did she advance somehow then? She remembered that she didn’t walk in the last dream and she was a few meters back at the time. She wanted to look back, but for some reason it was difficult. When she did look back, Lilly was standing at the exact spot where she had been standing before.

Something in the back of Samantha’s mind screamed that something was wrong, but she ignored it. Thinking was hard in this place, so she wouldn’t do it unless she thought it had to be done. She wanted to walk towards Lilly, but she couldn’t move her feet.

“Don’t walk back Samantha” Lilly said. “You know what’s here, and you know you don’t want to go back.”

“I know,” Samantha replied, “but it’s just... I can’t really explain.”
“Don’t dwell on your losses. Learn from them. Try to prevent it from happening again. Isn’t that what the learning process is all about.”

Samantha turned and looked at the tree roads again. “There still isn’t one path that seems more appealing then the rest you know. Why go on ahead if you don’t know which path to follow?”

“You’ll find it eventually. Remember that in the end you will have to make a choice. For now, let your experiences be your guide.”

“What experiences?”

“You’ll learn. For now, remember never to give up, no matter how hard it’ll get.”

“I didn’t have any intentions of doing that.”

“You were pretty close though. Know that I’ll be with you always. I owe you that much.”

And with that, she awoke. She didn’t recognize the room which she was in. Everything was white. She didn’t like white. It made her sad more then black did. She was wearing some sort of pajama. Also white. Then she remembered the men with the sunglasses. She quickly sat up. She didn’t like the idea that strangers dressed her. It gave her a slightly violated feeling.

That’s when she saw him, looking at her from behind a glass wall. She resisted an urge to scream. He was lean but muscular. His auburn hair, although pretty in color, was long, matted and he didn’t really look as if he had either washed or shaved for months. He wore the same white clothes as she did, although they were food-stained and ripped in some places. What frightened him most though, were his eyes. They were yellow. They seemed unnatural, and with those yellow eyes he was staring at her. A strong, unemotional stare.

Their gazes had locked for a couple of minutes. Then the man knocked on the class and beckoned at her. Curious, she got up and sat in front of him. Again, they did nothing but look at each other for a minute or two. He seemed to judge her or something like it. She wasn’t really sure. Finally, he looked her in her eyes again.

“Can you hear me?” ha asked. She was half surprised that she could understand him, but answered nonetheless.

“Y… Yes. Where are we?”

“I’d tell you if I knew. What’s your name?”

“Samantha”

“I’m called Raen. So, you’re one of the potentials huh?”

“Potentials?” Samantha remembered the words of the man just before she drifted to sleep.

“Yeah. I’ve heard that I’m one. I guess you’re one as well. I was hoping you could tell me what it means, but I guess you don’t know either.”

“Why?”

“Why? Because it makes us important enough to lock us away for I don’t know how long.”

mitochondria eve
14th Jul 2002, 17:18
Hey guys :). Been a while since I posted. You may not reconise me by my username, but I am (or was) Samrules45. I am keeping up with the mas4 and to let arkon know He did a great job. Hey, I decided for myself, my usename was getting old, so I changed it to mitochondria eve. It might take a few minutes to believe me, but I swear, I am samrules45, or actually, I should have said I was, samrules45. :rolleyes:

Dell
14th Jul 2002, 18:36
so mitochondria eve...female name and context. Interesting, Samrules. Could you explain that choice? Hmmm?

And the beast in me is my dearest friend...from the primeval ooze of the beginning, we have known and understood each other.

mitochondria eve
14th Jul 2002, 18:41
Yes, I have a good reason. Its from one of my new favorite games. IT may be strange, but I like it. So, just don't think of me as a female, and we'll be fine. :(

Dell
15th Jul 2002, 10:11
I would not dream of thinking that! It is just such a very long and ponderous name to post! How about me calling you ME?

That is clever. Almost like talking to myself, right ME? http://www.data-techniques.net/cwm/otn/angels/newangel.gif

vakusuma
15th Jul 2002, 16:22
Daaaaaamn. Another nice chapter.





So, I assume I'm next in line then?

mitochondria eve
15th Jul 2002, 16:32
I don't mind dell, but insted of me say mi, so I get it. you know mitochondria eve mi-tochondria, you get the picture.

Amazeroth
15th Jul 2002, 19:53
Great chapter Arkron! I have to say that, of all you wrote, I liked your MAS 4 chapters best so far :)
Have any plans about those mysterious sun-glassed guys yet? If so I'd love to hear them.

Dell
15th Jul 2002, 20:09
I want to say I am also very impressed with the talent Arkron has been displaying here in MAS 4. The work is outstanding...potential....cannot wait to read more about this. :)

Arkron
15th Jul 2002, 20:18
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it :)

About the sunglasses: I have some ideas flowing around in my mind, but I haven't made it into one complete thing yet.. I'll see what I can do to enlighten you :)

vakusuma
16th Jul 2002, 07:11
Chapter part done.

I'll be doing final editing, distributing it internally for comments, before posting it on the board.

Man, I'm on fire.

vakusuma
16th Jul 2002, 21:51
Update: chapter edited and sent for comments. 2 out of 3 received. Waiting for third comment before posting.

Maybe next time I shouldn't write these chapters in two hours.

Amazeroth
17th Jul 2002, 11:06
Hehe. Well, I'm only whining cos I can't keep up with that speed. Not in my entire life. So don't expect this from *me* :p

vakusuma
17th Jul 2002, 15:25
I know :)

Interesting isn't it... two hours to write the chapter... twenty minutes to rewrite some parts of it... at least two days to wait for the comments :D

4eyes, you here? If I don't hear from you, I'm going to post it tonight since I'll be going to a conference tomorrow.

vakusuma
17th Jul 2002, 20:47
Alright, can't wait. I'm going for the conference tomorrow and the whole weekend. If I don't post it now, I never will.

I counted eleven words that will never make it through the swear filter :)


Nine

Interrogation

They put him in an empty room, devoid of anything save for a table and two chairs. The walls of the room were painted completely white, and even the door was almost completely invisible to him. Typical. Very ****ing typical.

He looked around nervously. The interrogation room was brightly and uniformly lit. Other than his own shadow, he didn’t see another shade in the room. Then again, he wouldn’t want to see another damn shadow in the room anyway. He hummed softly as he stared at a portion of the wall that he was sure to be a one-way mirror.

Hall frowned as he looked through the one-way mirror into the room, at the man who was sitting on one of the chairs nervously. The man was still in his twenties, but there was already a certain edge in his deep brown eyes that revealed a harsh life in the streets. His brown, unkempt hair betrayed the man’s indifference to his appearance, but the scars on his angular face portrayed an unmistakable menace. This man had definitely been shaped by his life on the streets. But somehow, the man looked extremely nervous; definitely not an attitude that streetwise men would develop. He had been fed some sedatives, but not even those could calm him down. Whatever happened to the man had shaken him to his very core… as if his darkest hidden nightmare had come true.

Just like the victim in the hypermart, he thought uneasily.

“So what’s the case on this one?” Hall asked his colleague as he leaned back on his chair.

Jose Gomez, the interrogations officer, shrugged on his own chair. “Looks to me like a regular car booster gone nuts. Max Ventura’s the name. We’ve been getting reports about him stealing cars around town… so we baited him with a Z42 in Middle Park. He took the bait, and he almost escaped us… when he suddenly ejected himself for no reason.” He grimaced. “Of course, that’s after he caused significant property damage. When we got him, he was screaming his head off and speaking that gibberish about the shadows as if they’re coming out of the ground to bite his head off.”

“What exactly did he say about the shadows?” Hall asked impatiently.

“He said something about the shadows talking to him,” Gomez said as he looked at the man again. The man was still shaking his head and tapping his feet, his gaze penetrating as if he could see the two men behind the mirror. “Whatever really happened, he was freaked right out of his pants. I’ve given him enough sedatives to knock out an elephant.”

Hall nodded as he rose from the chair and walked to the door. “I’m going in. I think I can fork an interesting story out of this guy.”

“What the hell do you expect, Gabe?” the other officer asked curiously.

“Just let me speak, okay?” Hall snorted. “And for God’s sake, keep the tape rolling. Don’t miss a word.” With that he walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. Seconds later, the door on the interrogation room opened, and Hall walked in. The prisoner started visibly at the inspector, his face turning ashen. Gomez frowned, and pushed the record button on the tape as he sat back and listened.

“Calm down, will ya?” Hall snapped as he sat on the other chair. “What’s the matter with you, man, seeing ghosts?”

“Ghosts?” Ventura laughed harshly. “Hell, if it can make the shadows go away, I’ll gladly go ahead and screw the **** out of any ghost.”

Hall frowned. “Alright, let’s do this from the beginning.” He opened the file that was sitting on the table and started to read as he spoke. “So you boosted the car. You left your toolbox in the car, and your fingerprints are all over it, so no use denying that. You tried to escape at three times the normal speed limit, destroyed a car, and finally you ejected in the middle of nowhere.” He closed the file and stared at the prisoner, awaiting his response.

“It’s not me. Your boys shot at that car,” Ventura growled as his hands unconsciously fingered the scars on his face. “And good luck trying not to eject yourself out of the car if you have the shadows talking to you.”

There it was again. Shadows. “OK, so basically the shadows scared the **** out of you, and you jumped off,” Hall stated matter-of-factly, then shook his head.

“You don’t believe me, do you?” Ventura demanded, his eyes dark with anger.

Smoothly, Hall tried a different approach. “Okay, say that the shadows really did talk to you. What happened then?”

“They got hold of the car and spoke to me through the speakers.”

Hall’s smile was a bit ironic. “So you’re saying that a shadow pushed a button somewhere, assuming that it can do that with its immaterial body, and spoke to you.” He shook his head again and continued, “And also assuming that is true, what did the shadow say?”

Ventura’s body shook, and perspiration streamed down his face. Even under the effect of the sedatives, it was evident that his fear was so basic, so… primal. When he spoke, he did so tonelessly, as if his soul has departed from his body. “So, you have succeeded. Very clever and daring of you, and for that I congratulate you.” Ventura chuckled hollowly, and continued, “Alas for you, this shall be your most successful boost… and your last.” He laughed softly. “Max Ventura, your days… are over. The shadows have waited too long for this. And it is now time for them…” he paused, “… to feast,” he continued with a very soft voice. “You can never escape your fate. Embrace the darkness and yield to us.” Then he fell silent.

Hall looked at the man. Unconsciously he wiped the sweat off his face. The man’s tone has been so chilling, so devoid of emotion, and he spoke with no hesitation, but with cold certainty. The words had certainly been ingrained in his consciousness so deeply, that much was certain. For a long time, Hall just stared at the car thief, who stared back at him with hollow stare.

“Well, I have to admit that you scared the **** out of me,” Hall finally conceded. “But trust me, that **** was no more than a figment of your own imagination.”

“It’s certainly not a figment of my ****ing imagination!” suddenly Ventura exploded, rising from his seat and slamming his fists onto the table. “The shadows were there, right behind me. I could ****ing see them looking at me, closing in at me, hungry for a taste of my flesh! And that’s not the first time I see them either! They’re always there, hidden, waiting for the ****ing moment my back is turned!”

Hall snapped, “Sit down!” Ventura, however, didn’t do as he was ordered and continued to stare at the inspector. “I said, sit down!” Hall repeated more forcefully. Slowly, with obvious effort to control himself, Ventura sank to his seat, his smoldering eyes still on the inspector’s.

Hall was thinking fast as he held the gaze of the crazed man. The shadows might not exist, but it was obvious that something had scared the daylights out of this fellow. He had been afraid of the shadows before, but something had happened during the boost that tripped him over the edge. The man’s decision to eject after his successful boost was so irrational that it either indicated mental disorder, or intense psychological distress. But this man seemed completely sane to him. Angry, yes, hysterical even, but sane nonetheless. What is it then? Is it related to the murder in the hypermarket?

One of the ceiling lights started to flicker. Hall looked up in annoyance, but Ventura started violently. His eyes widened in absolute fear, and his whisper was hoarse as he lurched back into his feet. “The shadows!” he hissed. “They’re back!”

Hall lowered his eyebrows as he looked behind him. The flickering light was casting a faint shadow of the chair and himself on the floor, but he certainly didn’t see anything else out of the ordinary. “Relax, man!” he snapped. “There are no shadows in here to get you!”

By this time, however, Ventura’s face has gone completely pale, and his eyes bulged. “It’s behind you, damn it!” he whispered again. “It’s reaching for your neck! Run away, you fool!” He tried to take a step back, but his feet got tangled on the chair and he stumbled. He fell hard on top of the wooden chair, and he started to gibber as his body jerked spasmodically. Hall rose in alarm. “Jose! More sedatives!” he shouted. “And hurry!”

There was a sound of sudden flurry of activity, and seconds later the door flew open. Jose Gomez stormed into the room and fumbled with something inside his pocket.

---
Ventura opened his eyes slowly. His eyelids felt like lead, and similarly with his head, but something inside him urged him to open his eyes anyway. At first, he could only discern the light, streaming into his eyes painfully, but gradually he was able to resolve shapes. The first thing he saw, of course, was the inspector leaning forward and staring at him. He groaned. “Shadows…” he said weakly.

“There’s no more ****ing shadows, okay?” Hall snapped. “I got that light fixed. How are you feeling?”

Ventura shut his eyes wearily. “Better,” he mumbled. “I am surprised that the shadow didn’t get you, though. I must’ve scared it off… just about as much as it scared me off.”

He heard an impatient clucking sound. “The shadows don’t exist,” Hall snapped. “But whatever it was you saw, can’t deny that it’s scaring you to death.”

“How perceptive,” Ventura snapped back weakly, his eyes still closed.

“Problem is, there’s another one like you,” Hall continued.

Ventura opened his eyes. “Another believer in the sea of heretics,” he sighed ironically.

“Another dead believer,” Hall said, unperturbed. “This morning, a bum was apparently, literally scared to death. He died from adrenaline overdose. His body’s in forensics now. And when you fell just now, you looked just like his corpse. As if you’re ready to die right then.”

Hall waited for his response, but there was none. “I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt,” he continued. “I can’t deny that someone’s scaring you, planting that nonsense in your head… somehow. And I don’t think he’s gonna stop what he started. So now I’m gonna give you two options. One, you’re gonna cooperate with us. We’ll let you go around the city, but we’re gonna put several officers to watch you. You are to wander around until whoever gave you the scare gets to you, and then we’ll nab him. The officers will keep you safe, and keep you away from further mischief. In return, when and if we nab whoever is scaring you, I’ll give my word that we’ll let you go free despite your criminal records.”

The prisoner closed his eyes wearily. “**** you,” he said tonelessly.

“Or,” Hall raised his voice threateningly, “we’ll lock you up in a nice, dark cell in the mental hospital where there are plenty shadows around you to keep you company until hell freezes over or until you die of fright, whichever comes first.”

That achieved the intended effect. Ventura shuddered and opened his eyes. “You’re really not giving me any choices, aren’t you?”

“No,” Hall said flatly.

Ventura again closed his eyes, this time in resignation. “Well, let’s get on with the ****ing program then,” he mumbled.

mitochondria eve
18th Jul 2002, 00:27
I have to say vaksuma. That was a great chapter. I applaud. *claps approvingly*. Now if I'm right in keeping track, I'm next right? Or if anyone else is next just let me now.

Rengar
18th Jul 2002, 23:08
Hey!!!!!!!!!! I have a real project for you writers:


http://forums.qhimm.com/viewtopic.php?t=1456

vakusuma
22nd Jul 2002, 04:35
Cool.


I'm starting to feel just a little bit underappreciated here though.


We writers are sensitive about such things.



















*sigh*
If I really suck that bad, please don't hesitate to tell me. I won't mind.

Dell
22nd Jul 2002, 08:46
You don't suck at all! And it is not fair to not be praised for good work. Shame on all you guys...except M.E.

This is an outstanding chapter! And you know I think so, too! It is a very good chapter and I am intrigued! The conversation is handled beautifully...

4Eyes
22nd Jul 2002, 09:52
Sorry for not replying sooner, I must concede I haven't visited this place as regularly as I should have.

I have read both chapters and both were great stuff. I have some pretty good ideas for my next chapter already.

So, is it my turn already? Or is Samrules first?

Amazeroth
23rd Jul 2002, 18:58
Sorry too for not replying so far... but hey I was away at the weekend, too. ^^ (yeah I know I'm lazy.)
Anyway I already told you by email that I think it's great, like all of your chapters. Making a chapter that good consisting of only one single dialogue is something I would've had my trouble with...
I think it's sam's turn next. Might be wrong tho, we should put up a rotation.
Maybe like this?

Sam
4eyes
Amazeroth
Arkron
vak

Arkron
24th Jul 2002, 22:00
Looks good enough for me

4Eyes
25th Jul 2002, 05:45
Fine with me!

vakusuma
25th Jul 2002, 13:43
*nods*

Sam, I sent the chapter back to you. Review it. Also read Arkron's response.

vakusuma
25th Jul 2002, 18:14
*sigh*

Sam, I got bored today and decided to give the chapter a rewrite. I'm sending them to you. The rewrite was quite extensive, and I also took into account Arkron's concerns. Look it up and tell me what you think.

Amazeroth
25th Jul 2002, 18:30
How long did it take you? 5 mins? =p
Good to have you. Gonna read it now.

mitochondria eve
25th Jul 2002, 19:06
Hey Vak, would you mind sending them to ff7rulesam@hotmail.com, for some reason, I can't view them on my yahoo adress. Thanks.

mitochondria eve
25th Jul 2002, 21:44
Hay guys! Here's my chapter. Thanks to Vaksuma editing it, It is what you are about to read! Enjoy!


Ten-Capture and Escape
Mitochondria Eve (A.K.A. Samrules45)

Rewritten by vakusuma


The light streamed into the alley, its gentle but persistent glow invaded the slit between her closed eyelids and stunning her into wakefulness. The first thing she noticed around her was the overpowering smell of garbage. Gagging, she exhaled sharply and opened her eyes, sweeping her gaze throughout the alley. She had spent the rest of the night there. Slowly, she lifted her body from the muddy, dirty ground and leaned against the wall as she tried to get her bearing. “Ugh, my head,” she groaned to herself as she rubbed her aching head. After a moment’s contemplation, she shook her head, brushed herself as best as she could, and walked into the street. She looked at the people around her, rushing past her to do their own business, paying not the slightest attention to the lost woman around them. On the streets, cars honked their horns impatiently, eager to beat the morning rush hour traffic.

The previous night’s event at the hotel suddenly came back to her as she walked, and she shuddered. Never, she vowed silently, never should it happen again to me. She crossed the street carefully and continued to walk down before her growling stomach got the best of her. Seeing a café next to her, she entered. She could only spare a cup of coffee for breakfast, but it would suffice.

She looked around as she entered the shop. At first glance, the café seemed packed, but she managed to squeeze her way into an empty table. Soon, a waiter came over to her and asked, “Good morning, miss. So what will it be?” She quickly considered, “Coffee. Give me some honey too,” she ordered. That had never failed to prepare her for the day. The waitress left after she scribbled down her order, but minutes later she came back with a pot of coffee and a cup. As she slowly sipped her coffee, time slipped by and the café began to empty until she was the only one left. Relieved of her duty, the waitress came over and sat down across her on her table.

“Don’t you have a job to attend to?” the waitress asked curiously. She shook her head, still sipping her coffee slowly. “That must be sad, y’know,” the waitress continued sympathetically, “I can’t imagine not having work to put the bread on your table.”

She put down her empty coffee cup and said coldly, “You don’t know what I really need.” As she got up and turned to leave, the waitress said simply, “I can offer you a job here, y’know.” She stopped in her tracks, turned around in disbelief and looked at the waitress with narrowed eyes. “Working here is simple, y’know. I just need extra help for five hours a day. After that, you’re free to do whatever you choose. And of course, you get to keep whatever tips you got, y’know.” She mulled it over as the waitress continued, “I can pay you 4.50 Eurodollars per hour, and we can even provide you a place to stay, y’know.”

Finally, she nodded her assent. “Great!” the waitress smiled. “You have no idea how hard it is to find good help nowadays, y’know. By the way, what’s your name?”

“Saeki Ransia,” she said after a moment of hesitation.

“Well, Saeki, congratulations. You’ve just got yourself a job, y’know.”

------

As promised, working in the café was simple. The five hours allocated to her were the slowest of the day, and the rush of customers began as she was finishing her shift for the day. At the end of her shift, she waved her goodbye to Jude the waitress, who held up her hand to stop her. “You can stay here for the night for no charge, y’know.”

Saeki frowned as she shook her head. “I wouldn’t want to bring harm on you,” she called back. Hearing that, Jude lowered her eyebrows, confused. “It wouldn’t be right for me to stay. Too many people who shared a roof with me had been harmed before.”

Jude sighed as her eyes softened. “Just stay for a night,” she insisted. “You don’t have a lot for a hotel, y’know.”

Touched by her concern, Saeki too sighed and said, “Alright, but just one night.”

Jude took her to the back of the shop, where an old and battered trailer stood on the narrow lawn. “You can sleep here,” Jude gestured. Saeki murmured her thanks, but as she climbed the door to the trailer, she made up her mind not to stay. It wouldn’t be fair to Jude if she brought the shadows to the waitress after all that she had done for her.

------

The night has enveloped the city with its inky darkness when the trailer door swung open slowly with a creak. Saeki’s head cautiously peered out, and seconds later she was over the fence and on the street once again. The street was deserted, save for a few cars. Slowly, she began to walk along the unlit street in hope of finding another alley for her to sleep in.

As she walked, she felt a sudden but familiar cold rush, sending chills throughout her body. Without looking, she whispered hoarsely but defiantly to the wind, “I know you’re there. Show yourself!” She got no response, but the chill remained, accompanied now by a certainty that she wasn’t alone. Slowly but inconspicuously, she turned her head to look behind her and saw several shadowy figures following her on the distance. Slowly she drew her Stenza from her jacket and caressed it for a moment. Her luck has definitely changed for the better ever since she obtained the pistol from the unconscious body of that bum who tried to force himself into her… but didn’t count on the quickness and the ferociousness of her kick.

Without even looking, she put her hand behind her and shot the pistol. The sudden blast of sound reverberated throughout the neighborhood. There was a sudden howl of surprise. She turned around to see the figures fleeing, their shadowy bodies outlined by the light caused by the momentary flash of her pistol. She grinned in satisfaction, brought her pistol near her sensuous lips and blew the smoke off it indifferently.

Satisfied that there were no more shadows following her, she took a deep breath and slipped into another alley just like last night before the undoubtedly alarmed neighbors called the police to investigate. Almost regretfully, she returned the pistol into the deepest corner of her jacket, and she sighed as she sat with her back against the wall to sleep.

-----

The light streamed into the alley, its gentle but persistent glow invaded the slit between her closed eyelids and stunning her into wakefulness. This time, however, it was not the morning sunlight… instead it was the bright headlights from a car that was parked in front of the alley directly facing her.

She opened her eyes slowly, but shut it again as she stared into the glare of the headlights. But in that instant, she had noticed the shadow of a man silhouetted against the headlights. Opening her eyes slightly to look at the man again, straining to see against the light, she noticed that the man was wearing white robes and black sunglasses.

And he held a syringe on his hand.

The sudden shock of realization jerked her completely awake. But before she could even raise her voice to shout, two men tackled her roughly from the side and pinned her on the ground. There was a visible smirk on the man’s cruel face as he walked closer to her, his syringe-bearing hand lowered as he stalked his prey.

Her streetwise instinct, however, kicked in… or rather, kicked out. The man’s eyes bulged out as her sudden kick caught him squarely on his crotch. Before the men around her could react, she yelled out her piercing cry, and then her foot was upon them as well. As the men lay groaning on the ground, she took her chance and ran out of the alley. Cursing, she ran across the street into the next alley, and as she rounded the next corner, she instinctively reached into her jacket and pulled out her pistol. Quickly, she turned back for a brief instant, fired a shot at the recovering men, and continued to run down the alley as she put the pistol back into her jacket.

It was not long before she heard a sudden screech of tires behind her. Headlights suddenly illuminated her way. Somehow, the same car… a van, she had noticed… had found her and was bearing at her.

Thinking quickly, she turned into yet another alley and began to climb the fire escape stairs on the side of one building. As she did, the van stopped with a screeching sound below her, and men poured out of the van. As they stared at the rapidly climbing woman, some of them started to go after her, while one of them pulled out his radio and whispered urgently into it.

She reached the roof without much difficulty and started to run across it to the other edge. Noticing that the building next to her was quite close, she gritted her teeth, picked up momentum, and jumped towards it. Alas, she fell short. She screamed as she slammed hard against the wall of the building, scraping her arms. The pain was intense, but she had no chance to ponder it as she began to plummet to the ground just inches away from the building.

The ground seemed to rush at her with the promise of swift and sure release. But she wasn’t ready to go yet. Desperately she looked around, her hands clawing wildly at the windowsills that she passed with frightening speed. At the last minute, barely meters from the ground, her hands managed to grab one. Her momentum stopped suddenly, and again she was slammed hard against the building, causing her to gasp as the impact knocked the breath out of her. She breathed deeply for several seconds to calm herself, and resolutely pulled herself up, her knees on the windowsill, to look into the window. The room beyond was empty. Satisfied, she took out her pistol, broke the window with the butt of her weapon, and pulled herself in. She ran out the door of the room, pistol on her hand, and found herself in an apartment building.

She quickly ran over to the elevator and pushed the down button. As the elevator arrived, she rushed into it and punched the button to the ground floor. The elevator moved slowly down, and as the door opened to the ground floor, the light in the elevator went out. A sudden chill passed through her. Desperately, she fired a shot into the hallway. The hallway remained silent, but the flash of the gun illuminated the hallway briefly, dispelling any shadow that may lurk. “Not now, shadows,” she whispered ferociously as she quickly ran out of the open doors of the elevator, down the hallway, and out of the building door past the watch in post. There was a shuffle of feet as a man recovered and protested in vain, “Excuse me miss, you would have to sign out!”

She ignored him as she ran down the other side of the street. She heard sounds coming from the roof of the building she had climbed and saw the men still searching for her up there. “HA!” she yelled in triumph at the men, pleased at having outwitted her pursuers. She quickly turned the corner, away from the building… and suddenly she felt strong arms grabbing her. Too late, she started to fight back, but she felt a needle piercing the skin on her neck. “Hey!” she cried as she struggled anew, but she realized that it was futile as her strength seeped away from her. Slowly, her body started to slump to the ground as the drug took effect, paralyzing her muscles and sending her to unconsciousness.

------

She awakened as she felt cold objects on her body; one each at her wrists, one at each of her ankles, and her neck. She was also uncomfortably aware that she was lying helplessly on her back on a cold surface… and without a scrap of cloth to cover her nakedness. A muffled voice said, “Give her another… she’s waking up.”

Her eyes quickly opened in alarm, but hard it was to keep them open, she fought the impulse the shut her eyes. She saw more of the white robed men looking down at her with unreadable expressions, their eyes covered by dark sunglasses. Her throat was dry, but nonetheless she cried as she demanded, “WHERE AM I!?” She forced herself to look around. The room was devoid of objects, save a well-stocked supply cabinet lying by the wall opposite the door. She had no idea what they contain, but she had a feeling she wouldn’t want to know anyway.

Another man stepped into her view. It was the same man who had confronted her in the alley. His grin was malicious as he held out a syringe. “Hey!” she shouted in protest as she tried to reach the syringe, only to realize that her limbs were strapped to the cold table. Her body trashed out, but the men held her down firmly. Dimly, she noted that the men totally ignored all sense of decency, and they were not averse on holding her down on her breasts. As the needle entered her neck, the dizziness returned, and her muscles felt heavy once again. She was angered beyond words, but she couldn’t fight. Her eyelids felt like lead, forcing her to close them. And once again, she succumbed and drifted to sleep.

-----

Running. Why am I running to nothing? she thought desparately. It was black… darker than night itself. Nothing but darkness surrounded her. She was running straight ahead. Her momentum was absolute; she was unstoppable, not even by herself. Behind her, she saw light, with formless figures running after her. That’s who I’m running from! She willed herself to stop, but her feet disobeyed her. Shaking her head, she looked forward and noticed how a light began to form ahead. Civilization! she cried happily.

Almost there. She looked behind her again, noticing that the formless figures were catching up. The light was so close. So close, in fact, that she realized what it was. A lightbulb, hanging on a bare ceiling. What? She was close. So close.

Suddenly she felt a cold shudder as one arm reached out and grabbed her shoulder. She felt a sudden rush of pain on that shoulder. So close! And yet so far! She screamed in despair as she continued to run… and then, she hit the light.

She blinked and sat up, putting her hand on her head. Her body was aching, but her limbs were once again free. There was sharp pain on her shoulder where the arm had touched her, however. “What happened?” she groaned softly. She held that shoulder as she looked around.

The room she was on was empty save for the bed she was on, a table and a chair. There was a steel door to the room, set against a white-colored wall. One of the walls to her side was made of glass, and she could see clearly through it, but while the other side wall was slightly opaque, she could see through it as well. The wall behind her was like a window, showed the adjoining room where she could see men in white robes sitting inside, watching her. Confused, she stared at the window. Why would they give her a window where she could see them? Surely they would have given her a one-way window? That thought haunted her as she looked at the walls on her side, into rooms similar to hers. The slightly opaque side wall showed her a similarly empty room, as well as another room separated from the first with a glass wall. The glass wall allowed the view to a similarly decorated, but empty. The wall opposite the glass wall was slightly opaque, but she could see also stared through it, into the next room. An auburn-haired man was leaning against the glass wall opposite that wall, staring at woman, who was staring back at the man. The face of the woman was beautiful, and yet strained. Her hair was raven-black. Neither of them showed any indication that they saw her. She got up gingerly, forced her painful body over to the wall and pressed her face against it for a closer look. They were too far away to be seen clearly, however, so she gave up.

She sighed and looked back at the men, who were staring at her indifferently. Defiantly, she walked over to them and demanded, “Can you hear me?” They didn’t answer, but she was sure, somehow, they could hear her nonetheless. “Why am I here? What am I doing here?” she demanded further. The men were still. She sighed and looked down. She had noticed earlier that she was no longer naked, but instead dressed in white pajamas. Her glare that she directed at the men was furious. “How dare you touch me and dress me up like a Barbie doll?” she shouted profanities at them as she banged on the window. “You had no right to touch me, damn it! HOW DARE YOU??” She banged and yelled into the window for a good ten minutes before she stopped, exhausted. The men still didn’t give any indication that they noticed what she was doing. She sat down under the window and mumbled softly, “I’m going to kick their ***** one day. Somehow.” Sighing, she sat down on her bed, then decided to lie down. “I wish people would just leave me alone,” she whispered.

Suddenly a buzzer sounded, and a hatch on the back wall opened. Within the hatch there was a plate of food. The sudden aroma of hot food filled her nose. She quickly sat up and looked at the food. It was fresh, which was unexpected. “Well, if you’re offering me fresh food, I guess I’ll eat,” she said aloud. She gingerly picked up the food, sat down at the table, and peered critically at its contents: a chicken wing, potatoes, and some peas. The food was simple and cheap, but it was better than anything she had had for several days. Briefly, she wondered whether they have poisoned the food, but she didn’t care… she was too hungry. She looked back at the window. “If you guys are always this nice, then let me free,” she said seriously. Again, they kept silent. She sighed and began to devour her food ravenously. The lack of utensils didn’t deter her.

She looked around as she picked the last morsel of food from her plate and licked her long, graceful fingers. That meal satisfied her and restored her energy… but she had no way to tell what kind of meal was that. There was nothing to tell the time with. The cell was brightly lit, and no window opened to the outside. She got up and walked to the window, tapped it to get the men’s attention, and said, “Do you guys know time it is?” The men said nothing. She was beginning to get a bit annoyed at the lack of response they gave her. “OK, that’s it!” she snapped. “I know you guys can hear me! Why would you put me in here and just observe me? I can see you plain as day! Is this supposed to be a one way window? If it is, it’s not a very good one!” she screamed.

Those words seemed to finally catch the men’s attention. They began to lean and talk with each other, and some of the men left the room. She was wondering what was going on. “Did I say something wrong?” she demanded at the men. Suddenly the door opposite the window opened and one of the men looked in and glared at her. “What do you mean? I can’t see through that window!” he demanded.

Confused, she looked at the window, at the men sitting beyond, and then back at him. “Are you blind? I could see through it from ten feet away!” she shouted. The man frowned as he stepped closer to see if he could indeed see through it from closer range. He was so intent, however, that he didn’t notice where he was going. Seizing her chance, Saeki yelled her battle cry as she sprang. Before the man could react, he was down as Saeki’s bare feet landed hard on his chin. Alarm started to ring out persistently, startling the two people on the cells beyond. She quickly ran out of the cell.

The hallway was empty as she dashed out. There were doors on either sides of the hallway, and there was one door as well on the end of the hallway to her left. To her right, the hallway ended at another door, far away. Resolutely, she ran into her left amidst the blaring alarm, and she reached the door. She pressed the handle, but the door was firmly locked. Swearing, she looked around and noticed a control panel beside her… with far too many buttons that she was comfortable with. She began to randomly press the buttons, hoping for results. Doors started to open and close throughout the hallway, but the door she faced remained closed.

At last, she hit the right button. The door slid open… and she found herself staring at three guards beyond the door, who were similarly caught unprepared by the sudden opening of the door. Saeki’s fast reflexes saved her, however. A powerful roundhouse kick swept at the man on the left, and as he reeled from the impact, the same foot lashed out to take out the other two. As they staggered back, Saeki hit the button, closed the door, and ran to the opposite direction.

There was no way she could escape by the doors, she realized. Sooner or later, they would catch her and return her to her cell… As she passed the open door to her cell, however, she noticed a grate on the ceiling that indicated the ventilation duct above her. The room beyond was empty; the alarmed men had filed out of that room to gave chase. Quickly, she took the chair below the grate, stood on it, and firmly gave the grate a shove. The grate lifted easily enough, and she lifted herself up into the duct, closing the grate behind her. Within moments she was out of sight.

The air whistled around her, and far away she could hear the air howling through the duct. The duct wall was uniformly metallic grey in color. Sighing, she began to crawl through the duct, praying fervently that she would find her way out of her prison…

-------

vakusuma
25th Jul 2002, 22:33
Heh.

Sam, next time, do you mind posting rewrites after you receive comments from the others? When I rewrote the chapter, I was really following your storyline, and I haven't heard from some of the other writers...

I guess that's my fault. I should've made it clear to you at first... oh well. Sorry to the other writers... :(

Despite having doing the rewrite, I am still subject to criticisms from the others, y'know :D For instance, Arkron suggested that you split this chapter since I made it so long :)

Anyway, your storyline is good, and I've had fun expanding on it :) Please make sure that you don't take me rewriting your stories for granted. I pointed out your mistakes on another file... review it and learn from it, it should help a lot :)

vak

mitochondria eve
26th Jul 2002, 01:02
I'm sorry vaksuma :( . I forgot. The chapter was so good for me I put it up without waiting. I'm sorry. *bows and appoligiezes for hours*

Dell
26th Jul 2002, 17:25
It's a good chapter, but really needs some fine tuning to clean up the minor errors in wording and usage. Unfortunately, spell checkers don't catch errors like using "trashed" instead of "thrashed"...the meanings are totally different, believe me!

We go over every chapter part very carefully on the MAS 3 writing, and that kind of error still gets by a couple of readings by different people...you just keep seeing what it should say rather than what it actually does say. :)

Advice M.E. take your time before you post. Really read your chapter out loud and then compare what you originally wrote with the edited version. Boy, will you be surprised! And learn from it every time.

vakusuma
31st Jul 2002, 16:45
*drums his finger, waiting for Amazeroth*

Amazeroth
31st Jul 2002, 17:51
Me...?
/me thinks you should take a look at the rotation vak =p

vakusuma
31st Jul 2002, 18:21
Whoopsie.

Sorry 4eyes.

4Eyes
1st Aug 2002, 06:18
Yeah, I know I'm up next, but I'm also up for MAS#2, and I want to write there first. Next week's start of my vacation, so I should be able to get some work done.

If it takes too long, I don't mind swapping turns with someone...I haven't written much for MAS#4 yet anyway...

4Eyes

Amazeroth
1st Aug 2002, 20:38
Well I won't have time to write in the next 2 weeks as I'm not at home at that time. Guess we'll have to wait...

Dell
2nd Aug 2002, 13:29
I know where you will be part of the time...:)

4Eyes
17th Sep 2002, 06:30
Bump

Yeah, I know, I should be writing for MAS#4 but I'm suffering from a major lack of inspiration...AND I'm still waiting for Arkron to send me whatever he has thought up about that organisation and those 'potentials'

I'll try to finish the chapter just as soon as I get some inspiration.

Sorry for the long wait,

4Eyes

Amazeroth
17th Sep 2002, 12:11
Arkron said we were free to elaborate on those potentials on ourselves... however he agreed to write some stuff about them if necessary...

Dell
19th Nov 2002, 13:24
This isn't just a bump...it's a hump, thump, clump...uhhh, let's ignore rump, sump, and dump, shall we?

Time to get this excellent story up and moving guys...

I still have this sneaking idea about having our stories meet for a little bit in some place where a Nexus point touches.........

4eyes...please get to it!

4Eyes
20th Nov 2002, 07:40
Like I said, Dell. I'll try to write it this weekend. I've reserved a day off for friday, 'cause I have some stuff to do, but that won't take me all day...plenty of time left to finish the chapter.

I want the stories to continue, too. The plot premise we thought up is really good, and it'd be a shame to see it go to waste.

Dell: Having a crossover? That sounds interesting. Do you have any ideas yet?

mitochondria eve
20th Nov 2002, 12:19
I think I might. You guys don't have to do this, but with a crossover I thought it might be a crossover f ALL Mas stories. But thats just me. Its up to you guys.

Dell
20th Nov 2002, 19:36
Hadn't really plotted it out in concrete form. It would have to be discussed with the other writers to have everyone agree on how to go...we are really structured with out story.

So we will see what emerges...now I'm waiting for you!

ME, not a bad idea...and very interesting...I can see our Nexus group stepping out in the middle of MAS1....oh...or in the MAS2 story! Wow!

Amazeroth
20th Nov 2002, 21:33
Hey... for some reason a crossover with MAS 1 would be particularly cool, it being never quite finished...

Mouze1
21st Nov 2002, 22:59
This crossover concept is really very interesting. What a wow ending could be conjured up.

All these different worlds, each with their own pulses and people, all coming together through a rip in time to try to put it all back together again.

Very interesting indeed.

4Eyes
23rd Nov 2002, 06:38
Finally, here it is. The latest chapter in the MAS#4. Hope you like it, and let me know what you think.

Eleven
The Dream
by 4Eyes

The road ahead is empty
It's paved with miles of the unknown
Whatever seems to be your destination
Take life the way it comes
Take life the way it is

Horizon in the distance
So close, and yet so far away
You shouldn't be surprised when on arrival
The dream has flown away
And fear's not here to stay

The road ahead never gives away the promise
The road ahead is a highway or a dead-end street

Raindrops on your windscreen
They fall, from heaven or from hell
You drive into the light
Or into darkness
Uncertainty as your guide

The road ahead will never give away the promise
The road ahead is a highway or a dead-end street
The road ahead never answers any questions
And nothing is sure along the way, not even tomorrow
With miles of the unknown ahead of you

- City to City: The road ahead

The rain hammered down on the car roof in a seemingly endless staccato, while the windscreen wipers worked overtime trying to keep the windscreen clear. The scene outside reminded Andy of that song. He didn't know how old the song really was; there had been many cover-versions over the years. He looked outside once more. The road ahead was a carpet of gray. The car lights pierced the dark night ahead and played strange games with the raindrops that fell through the beams.

Andy yawned. He had been driving for two hours straight now, and they still had quite a bit to go.

As if he had been reading Andy’s thoughts, Desmond looked at his friend. 'Hey Andy, why don't you let me drive for a while. You've been at it for almost two hours.'

‘Thanks.' Roël said, smiling briefly at Desmond. ‘I guess I am pretty tired.’

'I’d think so. You were yawning so wide, I thought your mouth was a cave entrance. Besides, it's still quite a ways before we get back to El Para*so.'

Andy pulled the car over on the side of the road. Running quickly, their coats pulled up over their heads to avoid getting too wet, the two men quickly exchanged places. Desmond started the car again and drove off, humming a tune to himself.
Andy laid back his head against the headrest of his chair and closed his eyes. Almost immediately, a wave of weariness came over him, and within a few minutes, he was fast asleep.

- - -

He was standing in a square room. It was completely empty, save for two doors and a mirror. The doors were made of wood, with intricate patterns carved on them. The mirror, a full-sized one with a metal frame, stood against the wall. Its reflective surface was covered in a thick layer of dust. Andy looked around on confusion.

His eyes fell on the mirror. Immediately, the dust seemed to vanish and an image formed in it. He saw a car with two people, two men, in it. One man was driving, while the other was sleeping, it seemed.

'Wait a minute...that's us! What's going on here? Where am I?' Andy thought.

In response to his thought, a massive voice spoke, disrupting the almost oppressive silence. 'This is a room of mirrors, a part of the maze of reflection.'

'Room of mirrors? Maze of Reflection?'

'The mirror shows events that have occurred, are occurring, or will occur in the future. Events that are of impact to you, seeker.'

'But clearly, the mirror isn't functioning properly. Why show me things that are not important.'

'On the contrary. The current event is of tremendous importance. Certain things in life are destined to be, preordained before we were born. You sitting in that car is one of them.'

Andy scoffed. 'How can me sitting in a car be destiny. I have been in cars many times in my life. Why should this one be so important?'

'Did you not wonder why you met Lexington in that bar when you did? Why did you feel compelled to help him escape the town, help him past the roadblock? It is destined that you meet him. Destined that you stay with him...and that he stays with you. Only when you work as a team can you uncover the hidden truths.'

The image in the mirror changed. The surface was troubled for a few seconds, then became clear again. It now showed a face, a woman's face. She looked directly at him, and a feeling of evil radiated from her.

Andy knew he had felt that energy before, but he couldn't quite place it.

'She is like you, she, too, seeks the path to completion, yet she does it in her own way.'

'That woman's an Archon too?' Andy was surprised. He hadn't thought about the possibility of other Archons waking up too, and he silently chided himself for overlooking that fact.

Suddenly, the revelation of the woman's identity struck him like a hammer. There was no doubt about it...Murder.

'So, that's the face you've taken for yourself? It's fitting in a way.' Andy said to the mirror, which, of course, remained silent.
- - -

Murder had been reading the book she had taken from Richard Axton. She sat in a luxurious chair in her penthouse suite. Suddenly, she looked up from her book. A presence was moving around at the very edge of her consciousness. Murder focused on that presence, trying to identify the invader. It took her several minutes; the presence was moving around a lot, hiding itself when she tried to locate it, leaving false trails to shake her off. There was only one Archon she could think of that liked to hide and leave false trails. 'Deception' she said. 'So, he woke up too. It was foolish to think that I was the only one. I wonder if any of the others woke up as well.'

- - -

The image in the mirror remained for several seconds, then faded and disappeared. Andy looked up in surprise. ‘Is that all there is to see?’ he asked tentatively, not really expecting an answer from the voice.

In response to his question, he felt an urge, a driving need to open the door on the far side of the room and see what lay beyond it.

Slowly, he walked towards the door and pulled down the handle. Without a sound, the door opened, giving way to a long corridor, branching off into numerous side corridors.

The voice spoke again, yet it was different this time, somewhat more urgent, it seemed.

‘Hear me, oh Archon of Deception. Hear my words.’

Andy jumped in surprise. It still seemed wrong to him that this voice, whomever or whatever it belonged to, could see through his disguise so easily.

‘You know the feeling of incompleteness. I know you feel it. And it is only logical that you would, because you truly aren't complete yet. I can show you the way to perfection, to completeness with the whole of your being, completeness with your heritage. Find me.’

‘But where are you?’ Andy asked

‘On the other side of the maze I shall await your coming.’

‘But what is the maze, and how do I navigate it?’

‘The maze represents life, its twisting tunnels represent the different choices one makes. But no matter what path one takes, all will eventually lead to the exit. That is inevitable.’ The voice paused for a moment, then spoke again, but much softer this time, almost like a whisper. ’I will await you at the exit of the maze. Seek me out and find the completion you have been yearning for.’

Not really knowing what he was doing, Andy stepped forward into the maze. With a soft thud, the door behind him shut itself.

---

'Will! Will! Come over here for a minute!'

Will Dumont had been overseeing the diving operation when he was suddenly interrupted by the voice of his second man. He turned around to see what the ruckus was all about. His second man was frantically waving his arms at him from the door of the communications shack.

Will walked over to the shack, a slightly frustrated expression on his face.

'What is it!' he said, somewhat stronger than he had meant. Everybody working for Nautical Surveys knew that Will didn't like to be interrupted during an operation.

'It's the President of NATech on a secure Vidlink. He wants to talk to you.'

Will sighed, 'Very well, I'll go see what he wants.'

The communications shack was an electronic jungle. There were three transceivers set up inside, their cables running crisscross over the floor. In the corner stood the Vidlink machine.

'Mr. Dumont. Glad you could find the time to talk to me.' said the man shown in the Vidlink display. He was a man of medium height, with a pale face and short, black hair. His piercing green eyes had something shrewd about them, but were deadly cold at the same time. Will inwardly shuddered every time he looked at the NATech president. Behind the man's face, clearly visible on the wall, was the large NATech logo. In smaller letters, it read Neo-Atlantic Technologies.

'Mr. Ashcroft, sir?'

'Have you made any progress in finding what we are looking for?' Ashcroft asked.

'No, Mr. Ashcroft. We have been unable to find anything yet. The divers went as deep as they could without endangering themselves, but there was nothing. We are preparing the mini-sub as we speak. It should be able to go deep enough to find something.'

'When will it be ready?' Ashcroft asked.

'Preparations will take the rest of the day. We will deploy the mini-sub tomorrow, if the weather conditions are all right. With any luck, we should have something useful by tomorrow evening.'

'I do not care for luck, Mr. Dumont. My only concern is results. This operation is costing us a lot of money, so it had better be worth the investment we've made.'

'It will, Mr. Ashcroft, it will.'

'Make sure that it does, Mr. Dumont.' Ashcroft said as he pressed a button on his desk. The Vidlink was severed and the screen returned to its blank state.

- - -

Andy had been walking through the maze for several minutes, not really knowing where he was going, until finally he came upon another door. Eagerly, he opened the door, hoping it would lead him to the exit. His eagerness quickly faded, however, when he saw he had come upon a room much like the first, save for the fact that the walls of this room were lined with mirrors.

He stepped into the room, and like before, the door closed behind him with a soft sound. Almost immediately, the mirrors all came to life, showing him picture after picture in rapid succession.
The images went by so fast, that only a few stuck in Andy’s mind. He saw the face of a man, a detective, he knew, as immediately another mirror showed him an image of the man’s graduation from police academy, then yet another showed the man’s name...Gabriel Hall.

Another image showed a man with a long raincoat, breaking into a car. The mirror next to it showed in brief flashes the man stealing the car, being chased by the cops as well as something else and finally ejecting, a look of horror and fear on his face. Andy also knew this man’s name...Max Ventura.

Suddenly, all the mirrors went black. Andy waited for a few seconds. Seconds that seemed like minutes to him. One of the mirrors lighted up again and an image was rapidly forming.

‘...ke up! ...Andy, ...ome on!’ Said a familiar voice, trying to pull him away from the dream-maze.

Andy focused hard to see the image in the mirror. It showed a tall building, gothic in design, with stone gargoyles placed on a ledge up high. One of the windows had a circular hole in it.

‘Come on, ...dy! Snap ... of it! Hey!’ interrupted the voice again.

Andy forced all his attention away from the voice and at the image. He had to know the name of the building. It seemed incredibly important, though he didn’t know why.

- - -

‘Hey sleepy-head! Time to wake up, we’re approaching El Para*so.’ Desmond said.

Andy’s eyes flew open as he bolted upright. His movements had been so fast that the blocking mechanism in his seatbelt clicked and prevented the belt from extending any further.

‘The Aerin Towers!’ Andy shouted, not really realizing where he was yet.

‘Yeah, good morning to you too, man!’ Desmond smiled as he turned his head briefly to look at the man besides him.

‘Jeez, that must have been one hell of a ****ing nightmare you had. And what was that about the towers of whatchamacallit?’

‘We have to go to the Aerin Towers building in the upper level of the city, and we have to be fast. We need to get there before the police do.’ Andy said.

‘Whatever you say man. I don’t even WANT to understand how that mind of yours works, okay?’ Desmond turned his attention back to the road outside.

It had stopped raining.

Dell
24th Nov 2002, 22:29
Oh my! What can anyone say to that? Nothing...just read and enjoy and marvel at the intricacy of the plotting and writing...

Great work, 4eyes, great work!

vakusuma
25th Nov 2002, 02:09
I concur. Nice chapter :)

Who'll be writing after this, I wonder?

4Eyes
26th Nov 2002, 11:43
I don't know. Arkron wrote after my first chapter, but Amazeroth did after my second chapter. We should probably make a rotation showing who writes when.

Any volunteers to pick up chapter twelve?

Amazeroth
26th Nov 2002, 19:06
Wow... a new chapter =P
And a nice one too. Even though it somewhat puzzles me. You gotta explain this maze thingy to me...

Anyway... yeah I think it's my turn now. Bear with me, it might take a while ^^