Shapeshift town, located around the hilly country south of Iwaku city borders the forest and acts as a safehaven for those who feel shunned or persecuted by the main populous.
The largest and most successful of the cults other than Dystopia the Shapeshift village spans several acres and has spread across several hills. The town center sitting on the highest, offering a view of the plains and Iwaku city.
The town is a bustling place, with architecture from all walks of life due to it's mixed races. The streets are cobbled and carts are used far more than cars here. To the south west lie the chocobo stables.
"...Oh, and three of those jars of coffee. The big ones, over there."
Myrnodyn pointed at one of the shelves behind the shopkeeper with a short five fingered paw. His eyes were narrowed to slits to keep out the sunlight that seemed determined to burn his retinas. Of course, the sunlight would not have bothered him half as much if he hadn't spend the last three days (and the last night as well.) locked in his dimly lit laboratory to look over the results of the recent testing and start of a whole new line of products.
The new invention (an idea originally brought to his attention by archy.) seemed to have some issues that would needed to be worked out before any mass production could formally start. Unfortunately, free will couldn't be removed from the bioroids, as they needed it to make their own decisions and be accountable for their actions. Without it, they might as well have made robots. This meant the neural programming was extremely delicate and would need an encryption key added to it. Of course, they had to lose the prototype just before final modifications.
"Sir?" The voice of the skunkgirl behind the counter shook him from his thinking, and the puppy scientist took the bag she was holding out for him, and threw some engels on the counter. He nodded a goodbye at her and winked merrily before he left the shop and went back out to the main-street. Myrnodyn's puppy-ish facial features then went back to their tired positions and the shapeshifter sighed.
It had been fun, creating something new altogether, but where Archy could simply take off and search for what he/she had dubbed his/her daughter, Myrnodyn had other responsibilities.
There were still other projects running at the labs, there were council decisions that needed to be made, production of new magiscientific applications were his responsibility too, and of course, he still needed to come up with a solid application for the bioroids. Forty-eight hours in a day would not be enough to do it all (which reminded him, he needed to have a word with the guilds mages about that time machine project) and yet he somehow managed.
Myrnodyn needed a break from his usual work, and soon, or he would lose all creativity. The puppy sighed once more, and purposely let his mind wander away from work. He wondered how Jack was doing. He hadn't seen ANY part of Porg in quite a long time, maybe it was time to seek one out again...
(Musical Ambience: Firestorm Menu, Frank Klepacki, C&C Tiberian Sun: Firestorm)
Independent State Armed Forces-Expeditionary Forces Firebase
Two miles from Shapeshift Town...
Daily operations in a Firebase often entailed maintaining equipment, taking up hours in the workday. The soldiers couldn't complain. Compared to most Firebases, Firebase Sparta was in a much better position allowing for quicker turnover on leave and quicker resupply, making for better morale amongts the soldiers.
It's presence was a condition of alliance between the Shapeshifters and Dystopia. Should war break out the Firebase would be quick to defend their allies.
Or attack them. The base commander has orders to hold the facility until reinforcements arrive or until nuclear weapons can be brought up to wipe every trace of the base from the face of the earth. The officers were well aware of this however they were not about to tell that to the enlisted ranks.
(Musical Ambience: Baby, Please Don't Go, Them, The British Invasion: History of British Rock, Vol. 5)
"Johnny, toss me a nine sixteenths. The half inch gets me only so far in here." a mechanic shouted down to one of his fellow Rangers as they worked to rip the Governor system off a Crusader's turbine engine. Doing so gave them another ten to twelve MPH of road speed. Johnny dug into a toolbox, coming up with the requested tool.
"Why doesn't the factory build them without these things?" he asked his compatriot as he loosened some nuts.
"I don't know. Maybe I'll ask the ArmsTek tech rep next time he's around." the mechanic replied. Tech reps only came out whenever there was something that the mechanics and engineers couldn't fix through troubleshooting or a 'Deviation from Specifications.' The DfS methods were more common among ISAF-EF units. Depending on the distance determined whether or not tech reps could be sent out, resulting in many soldiers cross training into mechanical, technical, engineering, and electrician roles.
"Hey, Johnny, Carmine, knock off. Workday's over." a Lieutenant shouted to the two soldiers as a pack of Minigunners ran past, barking out a running cadence. Carmine wiped sweat from his brow then looked at his watch.
"Well shit... I wish someone would have told me earlier we were getting off early." he shouted as he descended from the tank.
"Patriots Day's tomorrow." the Lieutenant said, a pair of F-22A Raptors flying overhead. Carmine grabbed his canteen from the shadow of a Paladin II Improved and emptied it, first into his mouth then onto his head. He looked across the base to the airfield where a pair of Sea Comanches were turning and burning, preparing for another routine patrol.
"Must be nice for the boys in the home office to get leave." Johnny commented as he gathered the tools and loose parts, putting them in their designated places.
"Yeah, no shit. Wish I knew what that was like." Carmine replied as the three men walked away from the tank depot.
-Description of Firebase Sparta's mission.
-Slice of life for ISAF-EF Mechanics.
Kaitlyn sighed as she dusted off the newly made sign and hung it up outside of her new home and business. Dusting her hands off after centering the sign she stepped back as a smile curled on her lips "Perfect!" she said clasping her hands together happily. Humming softly she picked up her tool kit and headed inside the building. Kaitlyn was new to Shapeshift town, but so far things seemed well enough. She'd manged to find a building to rent so that she could start her dream, and it even had a living space above so she wouldn't be homeless. Now all she needed was some customers and perhaps a few employees.
Heading inside tables and chairs were haphazardly scattered around, boxes were piled about, and random odds and ends were partially unpacked "man..guess I should start cleaning this place up!" she said with another grin as she got to it. There would be a slight racket inside as she quickly moved to unload things in her 'own way'. Dust flew from the open door making it look as if a hurricane were occurring inside. She didn't really know who the owner of the building was, but she'd received confirmation on the deal with rent. She simply needed to apy a monthly fee to a particular mail drop off and she'd be good to go. No strings attached as far as she knew.
After a moment she paused as she opened a large box and her smile widened. It was her cooking gear, and first and foremost were her frying pans. Taking out the large cast-iron skillet before her she stroked it affectionately "i'm sorry I had to lock you up so long, but you're free now" She smiled as she began to move things into the kitchen and organize. After a few hours things were starting to finally be put together and it was looking like a real bar/restaurant. Taking a break, she pushed the boxes into storage and went to pour herself a nice drink. "So it begins"
[[Kaitlyn is just moving her things into the location of her home/restaurant-bar]]
A garbled radio alert from Captain Vasilev was all the warning they got...
A gargantuan slurping noise shook the edge of Anirune Forest, and then a lazer beam, 20ft wide, tore across the plains. The rooftops of Shapeshifter Town were vapourized and Firebase Sparta was struck, part of its compound exploding in a chain reaction.
The nearby forest was ripped apart and three spheres, each 100ft across, bounced across the plains towards the town.
One of them crashed through the streets of Shapeshifter Town like a bowling ball, crushing shops and houses, while the other two came to a halt on the outskirts.
There was another slurping noise which sent buildings toppling under the vibrations. Then the lower parts of each sphere split apart, folding into eight legs which took the weight of the upper section.
The Stone Spiders attacked, their eyes firing lazer beams of boiling red. The two on the outskirts scuttled towards Firebase Sparta, striking it from both sides, vapourizing tanks and aircraft. And the one in the centre of town remained as a sphere, spinning rapidly and sending out gale-force winds. Anyone still in the street was flung away.
There was a third slurping noise, and the one in the middle of town started transforming. This time, it was the upper section that divided, the lower part settling on the ground while the upper divided into 8. It looked like a stone crown coming to rest on the floor.
The spider legs curved towards the centre, and a web of amber light began to be spun. The thread soldified into a crystal substance, forming capsules which the legs then picked up and deployed.
And as each capsule was set on the ground, it shattered, revealing great tears in the fabric of space and time. People started rushing through these breaches - barbarians wielding alien flags, lone individuals firing guns, Noob berserkers, trolls and pyromaniacs.
The Invaders rushed into the streets, looting and pillaging, planting the flags of whatever world they had come from.
In the space of two minutes, Shapeshifter Town was in chaos, and Firebase Sparta was lost in fire and smoke.
The Elder Invasion had begun.
[SUMMARY: Shapeshifter Town and Firebase Sparta come under a sudden horrifying attack from Anirune Forest. Three massive stone creatures, resembling spiders, attack with lazer-beams, sphere-forms, and dimensional portals which allow Noobs and Flamers from beyond Iwaku to invade.]
Shapeshift town: Centre.
Myrnodyn got knocked to his feet despite being a fair amount away from ground zero. He coughed to clear away some dust from his lungs and got on all fours before standing up again. Down the street he could see the giant mechanical spider unfolding and he looked on with interest as the highly advanced machination began to take control of space and time. "We have to salvage some of that if it's possible, but for now shape-shifter town needs action." Was the first thing to flash through his logical mind. Concentrating for a moment, he popped out of existence, the rushing sound of air the only indication someone had been there before.
Shapeshift town: Mage Academy. The sudden air replacement was the first warning that once again the scientist had popped into the magical sanctuary without any warning. Of course, this time the council of mages had expected him, as they too had noticed the recent attack.
Walking into the middle of the giant, dome-roofed room, The shape-shifter Councilor Myrnodyn held his paws out to demand silence, and amazingly enough it worked.
"We are under attack by an, as of yet, unidentified mechanical construct. I'm not sure if we can expect any help soon, so for now, assume we are on our own."
The Puppy paused for a moment to formulate his plans properly, which allowed one of the assembled mages to ask something. "What of Firebase Sparta? I'm sure they know how to handle these things, and aren't we allied with them?"
Myrnodyn sighed. "Last I saw Firebase Sparta had enough problems on their own, I hope they know how to handle this, because they are neck deep into this shit."
He looked around at the shape-shifter mages and followed up on his explanation. "I want you to round up the students and have them sent to the castle, the trainstation, and the labs to erect magical barriers. We need some safe places to fall back to, so make sure they realise the importance of this. I suggest sending your healers along with them, so they can help erect the barriers and heal any injured that are brought in. Furthermore I want your ten best battlemages to attempt and close or destroy whatever that big fucking spider uses to summon it's minions, whatever the hell they are. The rest of you activate the golems and help the fight in the streets, and evacuate any civilians to aforementioned safe-points, if you are pushed back, defend the tower and turn it into another safe-point."
The already tired councilor took a step back and closed his eyes to teleport, but then remembered something. "Oh...And see if you can't contact Archy in some way. y'know, the random one. This is no time to be chasing prototypes." With that final remark he popped out.
...And appeared again in the barracks situated inside the Head Councilors residence, scaring the living daylights out of the sergeant he appeared next to.
"I don't have much time." Myrnodyn said. "We are under attack by some giant stone spider, inform Lady Kitti if you can find her and your superiors. I want most of the army to move out and clean the streets, orders are to engage with the spiders minions and gather reconnaissance on the thing in question. DO NOT ENGAGE the monster untill we know how to defeat it or untill the mages have gotten rid of it's portals. Save one unit each for the three designated Safe-Points: The train station, the castle, and the labs. Now go!"
As the sergeant ran off, the puppy sighed and concentrated on it's next destination.
Shapeshifter labs: Storage unit zero. The air rushing out displaced the dust of several years that had build up on the rocky floor of this secret area. There was no entrance or exit to this place, and only those who knew about it's existence and exact location could enter it through magical means.
Myrn walked to the wall, and transformed into a human, using the forms more agile fingers to type in the seven digit code he had memorised. It would be dangerous to make a mistake there. Several lights went on in what appeared to be a cave, and revealed row upon row of contraptions, weapons, and containers deemd too lethal to be left in the hands of mere mortals.
It was a risk of mad science, Myrnodyn knew. There was always that irksome habit of wanting to create something extra-ordinarily dangerous, if only just because you could.
Many of the inventions stored here worked fine in the areas they were build for, but and fatal design flaws in less logical traits, like not killing their user and unmalignent sentience.
Therefor, Myrnodyn rarely came here. It was not worth the risk of dying, let alone letting these contraptions out in the world where just about anyone could fall victim to them.
These circumstances were exceptional though, he figured, and he would certainly not remove the world shattering items. Instead, he walked past shelves forty till sixty without even looking and went straight towards shelve eighty-six.
On it was stored a lightweight bodysuit, with a two devices seperately next to it. The usefulness of the suit in this situation was unquestionable. The devices next to it, meant to be strapped on the wrists, fed on the suits power to create two energy claws, easily able to cut through most substances they had tested it on. The suit itself increased ones agility, strength, and stamina proportionally to the wearer. It would have been the ideal weapon for close combat, except that none of the scientist could figure out a proper powersource for the device. Then, one morning, they found the lead scientist on the floor, wearing the suit and dead as a doornail.
After some asking around the situation became clear: The head scientist had asked a mage to help with his problem, and together they had agreed that the most effective way to power the suit would be one owns life-force: It was cheap, efficient, and ultra light. Not to mention that people would think twice about using it unless things were desperate, instead of conquering the world with an army dressed in suits.
Unfortunately, they miscalculated the power the suit would require, and after fifteen minutes of testing the suit, the overzealous scientist had collapsed to the floor.
After the incident, Myrnodyn had decided to store it here, only to be used in crisis situations.
Now, he removed it from the shelve and carefully folded it and put it in a bag next to him. The suit didn't have an on switch, so as soon as he wore it, it would start draining his life force, and he wanted as much time as possible. Now, feeling prepared for any eventuality, Myrnodyn left the chamber the same way as he had come. He still had to prepare his scientists for the assault.
Myrn readies the Shapeshifter defenses and teleports to Storage unit Zero: A well defended underground compound where all highly dangerous Shapeshifter prototypes are stored. He retrieves one specific item and leaves to inform his scientists of what's happening.
As the Attack force flew out from the barship's hangar bay, the doors to the Cargo ramps opened with a dull clunking noise, Guardsmen in bunkers went into lockdown, the bunkers closing all acess to the outside world as an armor regiment roared down the ramps, the various Leman Russ tanks engines screaming as their treads shredded the ground beneath them, the tanks headed for shapeshift town.
As soon as the tanks had left the cargo bay, all eterior doors on the Barship closed, and as the noob hordes closed in on the Ominous Drunkardus the monolithinc barship fired it's VTOL thrusters, the intense heat burning all not in a thermally sheilded bunker for at least a kilomitre around and burning the earth so badly that it would never heal.
as the Barship rose, spiders soon began to stomp towards the ship, waves of sonic destruction buffetting the ship, shaking it rather violently, but still the barship rose.
the spiders drew close, and although all were scorched by the exhaust flames, by now the barship was high enough that most of the heat didnt reach the spiders, though the spider's heat rays rose almost as one, and peircing flashes of red slammed into the barship, crashing through layers of armor and melting point defence batteries.
The barship still rose, and as the spiders fired a second burst of heat, it was high enough to fire it's main engines, the rear thrusters of the barship came to life in a flash of blinding light and with a deafening sonic boom.
by now the Barship had slipped out of range of the heat rays, and in the ground where they had once occupied was swarming with noobs, though as one the bunker networks oped their shutters as one, their onening salvos of lascannon, heavy bolter and small arms fire taking out countless noobs and downing three of the spiders with lucky shots to the legs.
though despite this the noobs clambered over their dead to reach the bunkers, Trolls smashing open the concrete fortresses so that spammers and flamers could get at the guardsmen inside.
in just under half an hour, the Barship's position on the poutskirts of shapeshift town had been overrun, the Tank regiment that by now had split up and arrived at both Firebasse Sparta and Shapeshift town were the only Barship defensive forces in the area.
The Barship takes off, leaving behind the guardsmen in their bunkers around the vessel and deploying a regiment of tanks to help shapeshift town and firebase sparta.
the guardsmen are overrun by noobs, and although the ground the barship once occupied is now choked with corpses and ash, still invaders pour forth over their dead to get at the defenders.
(Musical Ambience: Soccent Attack, Steve Jablonsky, Transformers: The Score)
It was total chaos. The Rangers and Marines posted at Firebase Sparta had trained to fight the Iwakuans and the Bread Cultists but not Noobs. They weren't ready for the hordes of Noobs that were now inside of their base, fighting them on their very doorsteps. Already half the garrison had been wiped out by the spiders, the rest barely hanging on by a thread.
"SUPPRESSION FIRE!!!" a Lieutenant shouted as the first of the Trolls plowed through the gates, full metal jackets peppering the beasts. They didn't seem to register the pain until a round took out soft tissue, particularly a lucky shot at an eye. This served to anger them more as they began their slaughter. One troll raised it's axe to cleave a Minigunner in half and lost it's head, facilitated by a Crusader tank, the main cannon smoking. Noobs pressed their attack on all sides, threatening to overrun the base. In the TOC the base commander tried desperately to raise Underbase IV, hoping to get reinforcements or a nuclear strike.
"Sparta to Scrap Iron City, do you read me? We're being overrun here! We need a solution!" Brigadier Carter shouted into the handset, the facility rocking with explosions. "Either get us more men or get us some nukes!" A hijacker appeared in the room, several noobs with him. The TOC became a flurry of activity as Bullpups and pistols contended with fireballs and knives, radio equipment and computers suffering in the crossfire.
Underbase IV had heard the calls but the personnel of Sparta could not reply.
She knew she should've left sooner. She knew she should've gone back to her apartment in Iwaku City the moment her business here in Shapeshifter Town was completed. But goddammit if she hadn't taken her sweet, lazy time... Giant, stone spiders. Perfect. Just perfect. And hordes of enemies to boot.
She stood on the roof of the small hotel she had been staying at, fingering the jeweled necklace she wore as she stared grimly at the source of the destruction; she'd been lucky, as it were, to be staying at a place far from the center of the town. The chaos had yet to fully reach her location. It also gave her a perfect view of the source of that chaos, and she didn't like what she saw.
The spider was... enormous. Bigger than anything she even recalled going up against in the War. And despite the whispering growls of creatures that wanted to fight, wanted to be let loose to fight, she felt a cold prickle of fear. Not even the biggest and most powerful of her forms could so much as crack the armour of that leviathan.
She doubted that anything short of one of the ISAF's secret weapons could.
Yet still... people were here. People who were being killed by the hordes that thing was summoning. They needed a chance, a shot at escape, something to keep the invaders busy while the town was evacuated.
She couldn't do a damn thing about the spider, but she sure as hell could make those invaders wish they'd never set foot on Iwaku soil.
Baring her teeth in a snarl, she wrapped her fingers around the necklace, gripping it tightly, and the jewel at the centererupted with blue light.
The transformation took hold swiftly; almost immediately, fur spread and grew rapidly across her body, her clothes vanished beneath the thick, pale blue coat; horns burst from her head, curling around her skull and her ears lengthened and grew until they hung down. Her skeleton shifted with a loud crack and she fell onto all fours, nails growing into long bear-like claws, face pushing forward into a snout. As her eyes became opaque, fading entirely to white before deepening into a solid, dark green, she felt the most important part of this change begin- she grew.
She grew and grew, muscle mass and bone density increasing until she could hear the roof beneath her groaning and beginning to crack with the strain, and then she leapt from the building's roof, by then so big that her landing on the street below barely caused her to stumble. She grew until her head, dog-like and snarling, cleared the rooftops of the smaller, nearby buildings.
Eighteen feet and several tons of angry alien canine couldn't do a whole lot against a stone spider at least a hundred feet in diameter, but it could still make life hell for the invaders it brought with it. With a howl, she leapt forward, the ground shaking as she charged for the center of the Town, where the fighting was taking place.
She came upon them almost immediately. It was hard to keep running when her poor vision made it impossible to see if there were people underfoot, but she used her sense of hearing for a guide and kept the spider in sightl where the spider was, there would be invaders. She tossed her head from side to side angrily, nostrils flaring as she tried to pick out a target; then something came into view in the haze of greytones and small, burry shapes- something way too large to be a typical Iwakuan resident. With a growl, she swatted at the Troll, and sent it flying into the next building.
If the invaders had been uncertain how to respond to her arrival before, this decided their reactions for them.
The next thing she became aware of were flames, being launched at her from all around as the invaders surrounded her. Only a few of them were causing the conflagration, but the others were launching themselves at her with a vengeance; her fur was so thick that many of their physical attacks could not harm her, but it was an advantage being turned against her as the flames caught a foothold in the thick hair and began to burn. The acrid smell of the burning fur made her nose hurt and her eyes water, and then the heat was searing her flesh below, and she roared in pain; she retaliated, rearing onto her hind legs to swing her claws at the invaders surrounding her, killing many of them on contact and sending the corpses flying. Landing back on all fours once more, she spun, trampling many of those who remained, and when the initial assault had been crushed, quickly rolled; it would cover her in gore that would not disappear when she turned back, but it was the only way to put out the flames that would otherwise continue to harm her.
When she at last rose again, she still felt the pain of her seared flesh- this form was not meant to handle heat, let alone flames- but that only focused the otherwise chaotic mind of the creature, and made it easier for her to direct it, launching it forward and closer to the spider where the invaders were being spawned.
Kill them all,she urged it, and the Mutt readily agreed.
[SUMMARY] Psychosis, who was in Shapeshifter Town for unknown business, has joined the fray. She has nothing large enough to try and fight the Elder with, so she takes her Mutt form to fight the Invaders it is summoning instead, to try and buy time for the inhabitants to evacuate.
The elder spiders trampled through an evacuated part of shapeshift town, their warbling sonic weaponry bringing huts, shacks and brick buildings down with impunity, the shifter defenders having fallen back to Psychosis' position, noobs hot on their heels.
as they ran, several were cut down and fell, their cries for help drowned out by gutteral cries of victory from the noobs, who had long awaited their chance to wreak havoc on the people that had so stubbornly denied them so long ago.
as the last of the shifters reached Psy's position, they turned and raised their TF guns, firing at the invaders and turning them into small inanimate objects.
but still the Noobs approached and were their once more loosed cries of victory as they went to leap over the barricades, an elder Spider behind them taking aim at Mutt.
4.44* The sound of several heavy duty cannons firing as one echoed from to the left of the defenders adn explosions rocked the spider, which toppeled to the ground, large cratorous holes blasted into it's side.
as the feet of the first noobs left the ground and came down on the barricade, their bodies were flung violently to the defender's right by a hail of large shells, the noobs exploding in welters of blood and gore.
as the noobs fell back in dissarray into the tuins of the outskirts, the Defenders felt the rumble of tracks and heard the marching of combat boots on the cobblestones of the shifter streets had several lycans holwing with joy, the chanting four letters into the sky.
I-S-A-F! I-S-A-F! they cheered, although the cheer faded as the tanks came into sight, along with infantrymen walking besides them.
Commissar Hyrkan gave a series of short snappy orders, and a a few squads of tanks rumbled onwards towards other shifter positions, two chimeras and twenty four guardsmen going with every three tanks.
as Mutt and Psy continued to target the enemy spiders and the remaining two tank squadronsthe Legio Metallica took up defensive positions around them, their cannons aiding to bring down another of the spiders with a concentrated blast of firepower.
a full platoon of sixty men took up positions with the shifters, so that the guardsmen and shifters were intermingled at the barricades, the seven chimera APCs taking up positions at the weak points, turning the series of ruins into a fortification that the noobs would have to climb over a mountain of the blooding corpses of their kin to take.
The Commissar looked to the leader of the shifter defenders with a stoic smile
"Allies to the last, we will fight and bleed with you here, while a single guardsmen stands, no noob will get past this line to get at your noncombatants" he declared as a wave of noobs sprinted towards the allied lines, the chimeras opened fire first, turret mounted autocannons sending noobs flying backwards, large head sized holes in their torsos.
the hull mounted flamethrowers lit their pilot lights and awaited the order to fire.
The Shifter Town Guard Reinforcements arrive, half a tank regiment and a full mechanised infantry regiment suppliment shifter defender positions, creating a defensive line to give the shifter civilians time to escape.
psykers prevent hijackers from gerring past the line and battle tanks are targetting the spiders, of which they have destroyed two.
Myrnodyn landed in the alleyway and rolled swiftly across the concrete. The scientist twirled up onto his feet, twin TF-pistols firing from the hip. The cavorting Deviants and Spammers giving chase were struck, dropping into the forms of rats and panicked doves. He carried on running, sliding beneath the swinging club of a troll and firing from the ground. The lumbering creature became a gerbil and was crushed beneath its own weapon.
In the street ahead, Mutt went running by, dragging a horde of Pimprats who had tried to chain the beast. Myrnodyn made it to the street and watched as Mutt flung the Invaders away, a savage growl sending the others fleeing. And at the other side of the street, a column of Barship Chimeras rolled into view, their turret cannons cleansing the other alleyways. Myrn walked out into the cleared streets, brushing down his coat and watching another Spider collapse in the distance.
The Town had been saved.
But the eerie quiet that was coming was nothing but the calm before the storm. Myrn looked over as the column of tanks halted and the turret gunners looked upwards. And elsewhere in the streets, he could hear commotion from other Shapeshifters, animal whines and squawks of alarm.
Some of the Barship soldiers were standing on top of their tanks to get a better view of the horizon. Myrnodyn ran over and hopped up beside them. "What is it?"
But the question was unnecessary. There, in the northern skies, the scientist saw the five lights of the descending nuclear missiles. They were falling towards Firebase Sparta, where the other Spiders were still attacking.
In less than ten seconds, the whole of Shapeshifter Town would be vapourised... a nuclear inferno that they could not begin to comprehend.
"Shit..." whispered Myrn, "We have to get..."
The explosion startled everyone in the street, dazzling their eyes. A mushroom cloud blossomed in the north and Myrn almost fell from the tank.
But it wasn't nuclear. He blinked, refocussing.
The five missiles were still falling, but there was another explosion now... a smaller one at street level. Myrnodyn gasped as Shapeshifter Station was torn apart, a speeding train crashing through the barriers and derailing in a flurry of destruction.
There was a Spider behind it, and from the sky a flying carriage dropped, landing on top of the train and joining it in the violent crash.
Then the big one came. The sky turned to blinding white as the five nukes detonated and the shockwave ripped out in all directions. The mushroom clouds lifted, and apocalyptic fire filled the horizon.
A fireball of untold fury rushed out from Firebase Sparta.
And at Shapeshifter Station, the train rolled, together with Nylock's carriage, crashing into a line of houses.
The wall of nuclear fire was seconds behind. The pursuing Spider was vapourised, and the edges of the town were torn apart. The blast raced towards the train and the street where Myrn and Mutt were standing.
But then... then the world was changed.
A wall of ornate stone took shape around the derailed train, extending otutwards and upwards with incredible speed. It blossomed like a shell, racing faster and stronger than the nuclear wave. A sky of white and red was replaced with brown and gold, every inch of fire erased as if some god were repainting the world.
The wall shuddered and the sun was blotted from the sky. Myrn and the others were knocked to the ground, but there was no heat, no fire... only a deafening thunder muffled by the fortress-like expanse of stone.
Shapeshifter Town remained...
And on the side of the overturned train that had crashed on the town outskirts... the angel Asmodeus stood.... the Sheathe of Iwaku held aloft in his hands.
[SUMMARY: Seconds before the ISAF nuclear strike on Firebase Sparta, a train crashes into Shapeshifter Station. A great wall of stone extends around it, blocking the fireball of the nuclear missiles and saving the town from annihilation. As the lives of the Shapeshifters are spared, it is revealed that Asmodeus has taken the Sheathe of Iwaku from Jack and used it to block the explosion.]
Once again the train was on its side, one again fire came for them, once again the angel saved them.
Amongst the wreckage and moaning bodies Aki held Aya. They had Arrived in the Shifter town just like they had planned, but the world had changed. What was left of the city, their home? One question burned into Aki's mind.......Why?
“Whey don't have a reason silly.” Aya almost giggled “They are doing what they know to do and they don't know anything else.” she looked at his and stood, most of the passengers were exiting the train. Taking what luggage they had left with but the twins stayed hear Mr. Tea, for some reason the old man had know of the strike, and even Asmodeus seemed to rely on his knowledge. Just who was he? And could he help them out of this?
Aki walked over to the old man, while Aya struggled to help Framond up “Did you know this would happen? he asked “When we were at south gate... “
Amid the tangled remains of his steam steeds, a bruised and battered human pushed two charred corpses off of him and frowned. The extra mass had helped to keep the human from breaking his bones in the resulting explosion...but as a direct result he had been given NO leads on the spider creature and almost no samples to work with of the invading forces...absolutely inexcusable.
Brushing off his lab coat, Nylock surveyed the damage to his poor laboratory. The external shell was spiderwebbed with splintered cracks. It seemed only the alternate dimension's constitution had spared the wagon itself...but his cannon was hopelessly ruined and there was no telling what sort of damage his laboratory had faced at the hands of such crude savages.
The ISAF and their firebombs...excessive force and posturing in a probably compensation for masculine complexes...distasteful and degenerate...every last one of them.
But at least something of a godsend had been born from all that failure. The angel held a sheathe...a simple thing...but the ability it had illustrated was almost too intoxicating to dismiss. He must have it...must...experiment on it, replicate it. It could only be one thing, of course...an Absolute. Memories of another time were brought, unbidden, to the scientist's mind as he began painstakingly picking up various pieces of his ill fated cannon.
An Absolute...part of the Cycle...his need to be like Paorou...the cycle itself...true immortality.
But he would need to be tactful. The only thing worse then an angel was a hero...made it twice as hard to approach and say...incapacitate with intents to rob.
Casting a sideways glance at a bearded...say Shapeshifter...who knew in this backwards place?...Nylock indicated him with a jerk of his head.
"You there...don't just stand and gape...come help me salvage what's left of this wreckage."
Picking up a piece of a train wheel, Nylock frowned and tossed it behind him. "On second thought, direct me to your nearest laboratory...I'm in need of supplies to repair my research facility."
"Wait, what?" Faramond thought as looked around him. Aya struggled to help him up while Aki walked over to the old man.
It would be useless to ask them what happened, as he himself was there during the events, but for some reason, those events never managed to etch themselves into his memory. Not even the violent explosion nearby registered into his consciousness. All he knew was everything and everyone was in chaos. Everyone ended up being dragged into some fast-moving plot, and they had little choice.
"Did you know this would happen?" Aki asked the old man, "When we were at south gate... "
"Of course he did," Faramond coudn't help but blurt out. He had already managed to get out of the trainwreck, with Aya's help, and was now surveying the surroundings. Surroundings as chaotic as his thoughts and memories.
He looked back at Aki helping the old man out of the train. "He might not have an idea as to exactly how things would have happened," Faramond said, "but I am sure he had an idea."
Faramond looked into the old man, and then to Aki whom the old man leaned for support, "He dragged us from our own little adventure into this huge, and chaotic plot."
He drew a sigh and addressed the old man, "Now, I am not blaming you for this mess, but, I think we -- me, Aki and Aya -- want to know what you think we should do."
There were several flashes in the sky as the nuke went off. Somewhere in Shape Shifter town a man had appeared out a dimensional rift. He wore a dark blue suit of light armor and had his hair dyed to match. There was an assortment of items on his waste the three that stood out the most was the two chakrams, an emerald green one and a sapphire blue one. The other was a light grey box shaped device about the size of the palm and looked like a GPS. The device was called the Inter-dimensional Stability Device or IDSD. It was able to create a protective bubble around this man has he passed through dimensions. From his face, one could tell that he was slightly annoyed by that item on his waste. “I hope this is the right place. Five jumps and so far no Iwaku. Maybe the Elders are trying to cover their tracks.” Instead of dwell on those thoughts he decided to take a look around. Walking forward he was outside on one of the main streets of Shape Shifter town. The sky right in front of him changed colors, a sickly brown to a habitable blue. The traveler looked around on the ground this time for any kind of life. The street was vacant as a few papers rolled along the street. One was whisked right onto the man’s leg. It read:
Elders Attack Cities: What will Iwaku do?
From the looks of it, the paper was a draft and had not yet been printed. “So I am in the right place. And from the looks of things, no Elders around.” He moved on down the street until he saw an overturned train with several people talking and bickering amongst themselves. He took a moment to think it over but his mind was set. No matter how much he wanted to take these Elders on alone he needed help. “For now Pirogeth…only for now.”
[Summary: Pirogeth arrives in Shape Shifter Town and finds the train that had been blasted back.]
Eyes wide and terrified, Sakura pulled herself off the floor of the rooftop where she had landed in the midst of the blast. Now, shocked and dumbfounded, the girl stumbled over to the edge of roof, placing her hands on the banister and squinting into the distance.
It really did happen! I saw it! she thought with wonder. She had seen the train crash and the nuclear explosion and she was sure they were all going to die, but somehow, someone had saved them! She let out a breath of relief, clasping her hands together around the small heart pendant in her necklace. A bright light swirled about her hands as the pendant transformed into a wand. Grasping it tightly, Sakura threw a pink card into the air & struck the face of the card with her wand, "Jump!" she exclaimed, as a light emanating from the card formed little wings on either sides of her shoes.
Taking a few steps back and letting her wand dissipate into sparkling dust, Sakura ran forward, pushing off the banister of the rooftop and leaping over it. When she landed on the ground safely, the little wings faded, reverting back into the little card, which flew into her hand. She continued to run towards the train wreck.
I have to help the people! They must be injured!" Sakura thought worriedly, dashing through rubble. She bit her lip as she reached the derailed train, staring wide-eyed at its remains and the people scurrying outside. She rushed to their aid, scrambling through the train to help survivors get out of the wreckage safely.
She knew very little about the attack of the spiders. Only something she'd overheard about spiders and elders and trouble over at Shapeshifter Town. She'd hurried over to possibly be of some help just in time to see the massive explosion. But for now, Sakura pushed these thoughts away, setting her mind to concentrate on the current situation, helping the passengers out safely and tending to their injuries. As she helped a few civilians safely outside, she flipped through the contents of her messenger bag. Remind me to bring medical supplies the next time I go flying into battle... She thought to herself.
As she went about trying to help the people out of the train, she also stopped to help those already outside. As she slipped in between people, Sakura used her power of SoulArts to help console their worries. Through the use of LuminousAffinity, she attempted to affect their emotional state of mind by spreading her own calm into the air. She hoped that they would be less frantic about the situation. [Sakura rushes to help the survivors of the train wreck, using her SoulArts power to affect their emotions into becoming calmer.]
Standing in front of the onlooking Shapeshifters, his lab-coat lightly moving in the wind. Myrnodyn crossed his arms. Having shifted into his human form out of respect for new visitors (who did not always take his puppy form too serious) he looked skeptically at the man holding the sheathe of Iwaku. He noticed Jack amongst the new arrivals and sent a brief smile at the familiar and muchly missed face before his attention was crudely forced into another direction.
"I'll stand and gape as long as I want in my own town, Sir. You're addressing Councilor Myrnodyn of the Shapeshifters Guild." He answered before briefly looking back at that haunting face from it's past, the face of someone that should have been dead for a while now.
Turning back to Nylock, The Shapeshifter scientist waved towards the center of town. "The Shapeshifters labs are in the center, but the scientists have orders not to let anyone in. I can arrange for some materials to be brought outside, though nothing too expensive. That's all I can do for you. Now if you'll excuse me..."
Without listening to anything the other man might have to say, Myrnodyn pushed past him and towards the man who looked like Asmodeus, the roleplay angel. It couldn't be Asmodeus, could it? If he was, this man was responsible for the last Shapeshifter Massacre, together with the mad king Paorou.
"I Suppose I should be thanking you, sir, for bringing us the Sheathe in our time of need. Our Alliance with Dystopia WILL be formally annulled after this, firing weapons of mass destruction at the vicinity of Shapeshifter town, without warning even, is unforgivable."
The Shapeshifter looked down briefly, and then up again, carefully examining Asmodeus face for inconsistancies. The previous little speech was for the public behind him more than for the crowd in front of him. The real talk would be beginning now.
"Now that the pleasantries are out of the way... Who are you and why are you wearing a dead mans face? The face of a man many of us rue ever following I might add. You can't have done it to win a popularity contest, so explain yourself!"
The demand was made in a firm tone, though not quite angry. His stance made it quite clear: He'd get his answers, one way or another.
Myrnodyn, having shifted to human form, starts speaking, first helping Nylock get some parts (though perhaps less than he had hoped for) and then moving on to Asmodeus, believing him to be an impostor and asking him for an explanation.
"Hey, shut up, would you?" Stumbling out of the passenger car of the train, highly disoriented by the sudden actions and still trying to get his bearings, Turd nonetheless was able to notice that somebody was disrespecting a man who had, once again, saved everybody's lives. It was like a page out of a superhero comic that he had read, where no matter how much a person did for his community, they still hated him and wanted him arrested. Of course, real life wasn't like comic books, but he digressed.
Still having difficulties with walking in a straight line, Turd finally settled to leaning on a pillar and saying, "This is Asmodeus. My master, Palonis, was certain of it, and so am I." Pulling himself back up to walk towards Myrnodyn, he added, "And if you had your eyes open, then you would have noticed that this man just protected us from a very large bomb, so back off of him."
If Palonis had been there, he would have been rightfully offended at Turd's casual mention of his name. At this rate, the ninja's existence would be common knowledge. Still, the summoner felt that name recognition was the only way he could add authenticity to his words, considering his lack of reputation. Finally standing straight in front of the shapeshifter, but still only coming up to the man's chin, Turd concluded, "I am Anton, apprentice to the ninja Palonis. I will not allow you to disrespect this man."
(Summary: Asmo has a fanboy named Turd, and that fanboy don't take no guff from doggies.)
Jack sighed as he stood, swaying a little as he did so. He clutched his head a little, and took a look around, taking in the monstrous power of the sheathe unleashed and who was holding the artefact. He was a little groggy, so he shook his head, which proved to be a mistake as a thumping pain shot through his forehead.
He grunted a bit as he grabbed his head, but pulled himself up and moved forwards to stand by Asmodeus. With a heavy sigh he spoke to the angel, quietly though, it was a private thing, "Guess you were right Asmo, I should have handed over the sheathe, guess I was just the courier after all." As he finished he sat on the edge of the train and pushed himself gently off, landing with a little thump in the dirt.
He clutched his aching head as he stood and had a look around for his bag, rummaging through it and finding some pain killers and some water before putting it on, and walking off passing Myrnodyn as it he went. "Hey Myrn, give him some slack, he's not trying to kill everyone this time" Jack said gloomily as he passed. "I'm going home though, I'll see you later dude, good to know you're doing well.."
With that Jack walked away from the bustle, heading for the forest to the west.
[Jack gets up, and deciding he was only needed to deliver the sheathe decides to leave for his house in Porg's Meadow.]
Like some surreal umbrella, the archaic wall of stone held against the northern skies, blotting out the nuclear fire and honing to a fine point where Asmodeus held it. He was like some Arthurian knight, gripping the Sheathe as it buried into the great expanse of stone. The words of the others were fleet and fading, barely heard as he put his effort into holding up the wall. Blood and sweat dripped from his unmasked face.
Jack spoke to him, somewhere in the distance, and then he was gone, departing from the shadow of the wall. The power shifted, ownership of the Sheathe passing from one pair of hands into those perhaps more dangerous and corruptible. Asmodeus felt the energy of the Absolute flow into him, bursting the stitches on his shoulder-wound, opening the bullet-breach and making the necromantic scars bleed afresh.
Then he dropped, tumbling from the train and down towards Sakura and Turd. His hands came away from the Sheathe and the wall swirled back into the haft like water running down a sink-hole.
But he had held it for as long as he had to. As the wall came down, the people of Shapeshifter Town gazed out across a wasteland of smoking ruin, the mushroom cloud now pale and grey, the threat ended.
It was over.
CHAPTER TWO: THE AFTERMATH
When Asmodeus next awoke, it was to the sound of returning birdsong. Silk curtains fluttered lightly to one side, veiling an open balcony that looked out towards the vanishing mushroom cloud.
He was in a bed, his wounds freshly bandaged. Asmodeus looked out across the well-furnished chamber, hung with paintings of Shapeshifters and woodland scenes. Another table had been lain with fruit and freshly-steaming tea.
From below he could hear a steady hum - other survivors being given rooms, the injured being treated, the hungry being fed in the great feast halls.
Myrnodyn and Sakura had granted the hospitality of Shapeshifter Castle, and it was sorely needed.
The Sheathe was lying on the bed beside him. Asmodeus moved his bandaged hand and pressed his palm against it, bathing in the midday sun.
Safe now... safe for a little longer...
[SUMMARY: Asmodeus collapses from the exersion of holding the Sheathe. When he wakes up he finds that he and the other survivors have been gathered at Shapeshifter Castle]