I usually write or draw or play games when i'm bored. Minecraft was a gift from God in that department as i'm not as bored as usual, but a man can take so much of pixels before his eyes start to bleed and explode. This is a short(?) story i wrote a few weeks back, for the New Secca Rpg here. I found it today in my Documents, expanded it and decided to post it. This is the first story of mine i put up in this forum, so i'd like some comments. Keep in mind, English is NOT my mother tongue. The story sounds better in Greek, but i did what i could. Here it is: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Where is he? Can you hear him Mike?", the boy heard one of the mercenaries yell. "Shut your trap, for chrissakes! This thing is dangerous and it would be prudent to find it and catch it...silently. Now do your job and check your share of the sewer, got it?" Billy did not retort, which was weird considering the young mercenary was known throughout the Conlave's Ragnarok Project for being...generous in the way of conversation. Quite a few brawls had started in the cantina, not only because of his inability to control the yammering that exited his mouth, but also because he often talked before thinking, if thinking was even part of the garbage processor he had for a brain. That being said, Mike started to worry. "Billy?", he whispered. The murky waters of the sewers beneath the conclave and a low screeching sound that originated from his radio were all that greeted his ears.That and a rythmic drip-drip-drip that came from a busted down pipe, probably one that led to one of the Rainbow Rooms, Mike reasoned, as the liquid that spashed down and mingled with the rest of the sewage water, was red...and thick. Mike felt the hair on his hands stand straight, remembering the only time he had ever been to the Playground, to deliver a memo for Director Alistair. The Rainbow Rooms were a joke, a name given them by a, possibly sick and twisted, scientist, back when this particular Conclave Facility was founded, 53 years ago. It was partly meant to give off a false meaning of security and adventure for the little kids that they brought here, but in the mind of the scientist, in *that* screwed up blackness that was devoid of feeling, it meant a place where someone can witness all the colors that a broken, mangled, cut up and heavily experimented upon body can produce. "Bill..." he whispered once more, hoping that the insufferable soldier they paired him with would respond. There was only silence. "Screw this!", Mike spat and reached for the intra-net on his arm. He was about to report Bill missing, when he heard a rustle from his right and what sounded like deep breathing. His hand went immediately for his weapon, a modified assault rifle given to Coclave Security in case of an escape or insurrection amongst the specimens. Mike never had to fire it before but knew what would happen if he did. A single bullet from the gun contained 10 micro-darts with enough tranquilizer to put in stasis even a Helruvian Methargor. And they were gonna use them on a kid. Mike took that to show how dangerous that kid really was. And if the darts did not work, the gun's alternate fire, could disintegrate a person down to its atoms in nanoseconds. If he was given enough time to fire that is. Mike turned on his flashlight and waited. His hand was steady but the sweat from his forehead trickled down to his eyes and somewhat obscured his line of fire. He didn't brush it away. He was too afraid to do anything that would require that one of his hands was not on his gun. Yet nothing moved down the corridor that the light illuminated. Another rustle, this time from his left. He quickly spun about and the light from his suit came to rest upon a face, too close to his own for comfort. "Boo!", the face said and in the nanoseconds that it took for Mike to realize that it was that stupid S.O.B. that crept up his flank, a few thoughts crossed his mind. A. Shoot the f*cking idiot in the face and leave him paralyzed for the rest of the week. Let's see how he'd like that. B.Put the gun down, then fake a laugh at Billy's prank, wait for him to lower his guard, then punch the hell out of his stupid face. C. Do none of the above. As tragic as it is, Billy's his back-up and there's a monster on the loose here, one that is probably watching them right now. Save it for later. Mike chose C.Although his fingers had whitened from grabbing the gun too tight, he managed to relax them a bit and slowly lowered his weapon, all the while glaring at Billy who suddenly got the weird impression that there would be hell to pay later on. "C'mon man, it's just a joke!" Billy stammered. Mike did not answer him. He just went for his radio and contacted the rest of the search party. "Stalker Two to Nest. Come in, Over." "Nest receiving.What's your status?" "Zero subject still eludes us. How are things on your end?" "Subjects One, Three and Seven are all accounted for. Six, Five, Eleven and Fourteen resisted and were vaporized. HQ insists on capturing Zero alive. Have you made contact yet?Over. "Not yet, but the little bastard is here somewhere. Could use some reinforcements to help with the search." "Understood. Stalkers Three and Four are on their way.Over." "Over." Mike sighed. Alive? Zero was not a subject that could be taken in alive. Not with just the two of them, and Billy didn't count. That idiot still thought that they were out here on a safari. Hunting game that was not likely to hunt them back. But Zero was created to be the first of a line of super-soldiers, creatures so powerful in the Art that they could push back and eradicate the Elder Races that spewed forth into this Universe 60 years ago, during the Collision of the Stars. For an illegal, pro-human organization like the Conclave, Zero was the epitome of what they strove to accomplish. The only problem was that they couldn't replicate the results they had with him. And, most importantly, they couldn't put a leash on him. So when the insurrection to the Ragnarok facility occurred and power to the Playground went out, most Security forces where directed toward the wing that housed the stasis-cell he was held in. And, of course, he was nowhere to be found. "This sucks. We'd better pull back and wait for the others. If he is here...Billy?" Something liquid splashed across the back of Mike's neck and a low cackle made the hair on his skin stand attention. Billy was at it again. "That's it you devolved ape!I'm tired of your pitiful excuse for pranks! I'm gonna...", said Mike as he turned around, fully prepared to smash the young mercenary's face in. Instead he found the pulverized remains of Billy's head, staring at him for a few seconds before the rest of his body caved in under its own weight. "F**********CK!" Mike yelled as he turned one of his proton globes on. Light enveloped the corridor and Mike started whirling around himself, his gun searching for a target that was not there. "Shit,shit,shit,shit,SHIT! HQ! I've made contact with subject Zero! Request immediate back-up!Billy's down!I repeat!Billy's down!" You said you were going to hurt me. And they can't hear you. "Where are you!?!" Everywhere. It took Mike a while to realize that the words were not spoken.They were heard inside his mind. He pushed that realization away, too afraid to let it sink in his trail of thought, too afraid to let it register within his mind. A million thoughts crossed his mind and all of them screamed for him to run away. You are too loud. Too confused. You're hurting me. Stop yelling. "HQ! Where the hell are you!HQ!" Enough. Mike felt his blood boil inside his veins for a moment, then the pain subsided quickly. His brain, continued thinking for a while, even though the rest of his body had exploded, his innards painting the walls of the sewers a deep red. What...Mike thought. You died too suddenly. It will take a short while for your brain to stop functioning. Do you want to go somewhere? I...Yes...please. Nar Gaia...I want to go to Nar Gaia. What is in Nar Gaia? My...home. The one...i was going to...retire to. Still free...Elder Races. Human only...Two more months...just two more... As you wish. And Mike went to Nar Gaia and spent a lifetime there. He had a family, he bought a house and he watched holovids of old football matches from Earth. He grew old and he became a grandpa. He lived an entire life in those few moments his brain was left to live. And then he moved on. ************************************* Zero removed the holo-goggles from his eyes. He was smiling, and he knew why. That death, Mike's death was the first in his career that he actually cherished. The first that made him feel whole. "I don't understand why you keep inter-crossing with a brain that died an eon ago? Where's the fun in that? The man died, why do you have to relive his death oven and over again? You destroyed the Conclave two hundred years ago, Zero" came a voice from the intranet on his arm. He pushed a button on it and a holo-image of a miniature golden girl, appeared. The girl had her arms crossed in front of her chest and was trying to frown. He stood up from his multi-chair and walked to the balcony of his castle, atop the FireCrag Mountains, on the planet Oberon. This was his home now, a single man occupying an entire planet. "It's my proof. Back then, Soul Cams where only attached to Conclave Personnel, not to the subjects. We...had a high mortality rate, and making and attaching a soul cam to us when we could die the next day was not economically efficient. This Vid, Mike's Vid, is the only proof that i existed as a boy. You would not understand Laksmi. AIs have no need to evolve or to grow up." "And you do? You've been looking like that for the past hundred years...oh.", Laksmi bit her tongue. "Evolution, growing up, dying, feeling. Human things. I was a boy, therefore i existed as a human. What am i now?" "The most powerful warrior in the galaxy?" "Titles. Nothing more, nothing less." "Oh, c'mon, Z! Let's get a contract or something! It's been 50 years since we last left Oberron...Let's hunt some space pirates or assassinate a senator or better yet..." "The galaxy has forgotten about me, Laksmi. I live only in legends now. And i prefer it that way." Laksmi frowned and crossed her hands in front of her chest. "You need another goal, Zero. Another purpose to live. Because, right now, you remind me of those things that they buried in that desert country 3 thousand years ago...What were they called?" "You know full well what they were called, Laksmi. There's pretty much nothing you don't know about so, stop imitating human emotions." "Fine. Mummies. You're like a mummy. And you need to get out." "We'll see, Laksmi. We'll see."