|Season 1, Episode 10|
|Air date||August 7th, 2015|
The Measure Of A Man: Part 1
Hope Nevermore is the tenth episode of Tech 10: Rebooted.
“Are you sure about this?”
Two figures were standing a poorly-lit room. The only lights were the red, filtered glow coming through the tiny, translucent windows, and the small white glow emitting from one the figures. The glowing figure raised a hand to their temple in annoyance.
“I was created with far more calculating potential than any organic life form.” They replied. “I am never uncertain. Unless, of course, you do not believe your operative can accomplish the objective presented.”
“I assure you, all of our active operatives are all but perfect in their precision and efficiency. They know the consequences for failure.”
“Then what is your concern?”
“It is simply...rare, let’s say, for anyone to purposefully contract out our human operative, especially given their unassuming age.”
“All of my steps have been perfectly calculated. Anything less would be shameful. I assure you, I know what I’m doing.”
“But of course. In that case, I believe we should finalize this arrangement.”
“As soon as possible, if you would.”
The other figure performed a slight bow and gestured towards the door on the far side of the room, then began leading the glowing figure to it. Before following, the glowing figure paused to peer at the light coming through one of the small windows.
“I do not believe our universe has much time.”
“Well, this is it.”
The three synthetic Magisters stood outside an unassuming warehouse on the dwarf planet Selus, an overpopulated, crime-ridden planetoid in the Magnillum system.
“What would Hope be doing on a planet like Selus?” Magister Blue asked. “She never seemed the type to mingle with criminals.”
“It’s been ten thousand years, Blue.” Magister Yellow replied. “That’s a whole lot of time for people to change. I know we haven’t been the same since coming out of stasis and regenerating.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, for one thing, I look great! Well, I always looked great, but I look even better! You’re a lot more serious,” She pointed to Magister Blue. “and he’s even grumpier than I remember.” She pointed to Magister Red.
“I assure you, I have always been this unpleasant.” Magister Red rebutted. “Let’s not forget why we’re here, shall we?”
“You’re the one with the scanning stuff, Red.” Magister Blue replied. “We’re just waiting on you.”
Magister Red grumbled a bit, then sent out his third eye to scan the building. After a few minutes, his eye returned to his forehead, prompting him to pull up a holographic interface filled with lines of code and data. Once the data was processed, the interface doubled in size and displayed a large image of the galaxy with planetary coordinates.
“There wasn’t much to go off of,” Magister Red explained. “but I was able to retrieve a few uncorrupted chunks of code from a computer that seems to have crashed in the middle of a data dump. If she’ll actually be at these coordinates is uncertain, but it’s really all we have to go on for now.”
“Hold on a second, I recognize those coordinates.” Magister Blue said. “Are we-”
“Yes.” Magister Red interrupted, rolling his eyes. “It looks like we’re heading back to Earth.”
“So I was thinking that if I concentrated the fire using a spinning motion, I could cut through metal like a welding torch.”
Tech was sitting in the office with Aquadilus and Alvono, discussing technique ideas for his aliens.
“Interesting idea.” Alvono said. “But why not just go Ultimate and melt it down really quickly?”
“I can’t just go Ultimate all willy-nilly!” Tech replied.
“Because...uh...” After a few seconds of blank staring, he turned to Aquadilus. “Hey, why can’t I go Ultimate all willy-nilly?”
“Energy usage, inexperience with the SpecTrix, more power than you can really handle properly, take your pick.” Aquadilus replied. “That’s just off the top of my head.”
“There, you see?” Tech said. “This is why I need techniques for my regular forms.”
“I’m just saying-”
Alvono was interrupted by a rough knocking on the door of the office. Tech grumbled a bit, getting out of his chair and walking to the door.
“What do you-” He began, swinging open the door.
Upon opening the door, he realized there was nobody in the shop. They didn’t even open for another couple of hours, and whoever had knocked on the door was nowhere to be seen.
“Okay, that’s a bit disconcerting.”
Looking down, he found a small envelope lying next to the wall. He picked it up and opened it, pulling out the letter inside.
“What’s that?” Alvono asked from inside the office room.
“It’s a letter.” Tech replied. “Not any sort of paper I recognize, though.”
“Well, what does it say?”
“Let’s see...blah blah blah...yadda yadda yadda...yep, I know what this is.”
Tech turned around with a smug look on his face.
“It’s a trap.”
After an uneventful fifteen-hour flight to Earth’s main spaceport, Magisters Blue, Red, and Yellow were more than ready and willing to start looking for the person they were after. There was just one problem.
“Where the hell are we going?!”
“I don’t know, Red!” Magister Blue replied. “You’re the one with the built in map!”
“Maps are only useful if you have a destination in mind!” Magister Red snapped. “We currently have nothing of the sort!”
“Why not ask any of the locals?” Magister Yellow suggested. “I don’t think anybody looking like us blends in too much with humans.”
“I don’t think Hope would walk around in broad daylight.” Magister Blue said. “She’s too smart for that.”
“This conjecture is all fine and dandy, but we need to get moving, and fast.” Magister Red interjected. “This might be our last chance to catch up with her.”
“You just said you didn’t know where we’re going.” Magister Yellow rebutted.
“Well, unlike you two, I’ve been a little more proactive for the past few moments. Using this planet’s new ‘inter-net’, I’ve found a tourist shop that specializes in alien hotspots. We might be able to figure out someplace she would probably go from there.”
“...That kinda stretching would make a Polymorph blush.”
“If you have any better ideas, which is highly unlikely, I’d certainly be willing to hear them.”
“Knock it off, you two.” Magister Blue said. “Let’s just go to wherever this shop is. It’s not like we could get any more lost.”
“What do you mean, ‘it’s a trap’?” Aquadilus asked.
“It’s a trap.” Tech answered. “I mean, come on, it’s not even subtle! Here, you take a look!”
Tech handed the letter to Aquadilus.
“Let’s see...anonymous informant...have info on the weapons ring we’re tracking...abandoned warehouse...come alone.”
Aquadilus handed the paper back to Tech.
“That’s...honestly kind of incredible in how transparent it was.” He said. “Either something’s up or these people are stupid.”
“Okay, where do people keep finding these abandoned warehouses?!” Alvono snapped, throwing his hands up in frustration. “Are there really that many of them?!”
Tech was about to respond with a snarky comment about the American economy, but was interrupted by another knocking sound, this one coming from the front door of the shop.
“Oh, for the love of...” He grumbled, going to check on the door. “We have a ‘Closed’ sign! Why do people never read?”
He reached the door and lifted the blinds in front of the glass, preparing to chew out whatever ignorant customer was standing outside, only to find three mildly confused synthetic Magisters standing there.
“Oh boy, here we go.”
Tech dropped the blinds and opened the door.
“Hey, you’re that kid we ran into on Veritum.” Magister Red said. “What are you doing here?”
“This is my shop.” Tech answered in annoyance.
“Since when do Earth labor laws allow teenagers to own and operate interplanetary businesses?”
“They don’t. I managed to open up my shop in the narrow sliver of time where interplanetary trade laws were kinda fuzzy, and at this point, they figured shutting me down would be too much of a hassle.”
“Better question: what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be out on assignment or something?”
“Actually, we are on an assignment.” Magister Blue explained. “We’re trying to track someone down, and we were trying to find somewhere that could tell us Earth’s more popular extraterrestrial hotspots. Your shop was the closest thing we could find.”
“Well, on the one hand, I’m not technically open yet. On the other hand, I don’t have anything else to do, so...Eh, screw it, let’s see what we can do.”
Tech gestured for the Magisters to enter the shop, closing the door behind them and walking behind the shop counter.
“Alien hotspots, right?”
Tech dug through some boxes behind the counter for a few seconds, then popped back up holding a few maps.
“Okay, from what I can tell, there are only a few real ‘hotspots’ as far as alien activity goes.” He explained, unrolling the maps. “First thing would be Roswell.” He pointed to a small town in New Mexico. “A lot of aliens go there for the museum, just to see how hilariously screwed up human perception on the whole incident was. Been there myself once, but it’s kinda boring my opinion. They do have a restaurant with some good chicken tenders, though.”
“I don’t think the person we’re looking for would go to ‘touristy’ places like this.” Magister Blue interjected. “Just sort of...places where aliens go in general.”
“Hm...” Tech scratched his head. “I don’t know how much I could tell you about that; I mean, I run a tourist shop, not an ‘in general’ shop. I guess the obvious answer would be Undertown in Bellwood, but it’s probably not the only place.”
“Is there anything else you could tell us?”
“Not really. Might help if I knew what kind of person you’re looking for.”
Magister Blue paused for a moment, then sighed.
“To be frank, we hardly know ourselves. Last time we saw her was ten thousand years ago.”
“So it’s a ‘her’. That’s something.”
“Not a very useful something.” Magister Red remarked.
“I guess the best way to describe her is that she’s a synthetic like us.” Magister Blue continued. “Although depending on whether she was ever finished, she could look radically different.”
“Wait, what do you mean ‘ever finished’?”
“The Galvan who created us first created her, as a prototype. Named the whole thing ‘Project Hope’. Thing is, he wasn’t able to create the intended combat systems for her, and ended up using a somewhat different process for creating us. He always meant to finish the job himself, but age caught up to him before that could happen.”
“And you think that she ended up on Earth somehow?”
“Sort of. We’ve been tracking her movements, and she’s been to quite a few different planets recently. No idea why she’d come to this planet of all places, but it’s all we’ve got to go on.”
“Well, unless she plans on swinging by the tourist shop, I don’t think I can help you.” Tech replied, rolling the maps back up. “Besides, I’ve sorta got my own thing to deal with right now.”
“Yeah, we’re walking into a trap!” Alvono yelled from the back room.
“Hey, I never said we were going!”
“You were totally thinking it, though!”
“Yeah, but that’s besides the point!”
“What are you talking about?” Magister Blue asked in confusion.
“Oh, nothing you need to worry about.” Tech replied, putting the maps back behind the counter. “You should probably head out ASAP if you want to find whoever you’re looking for.”
“Right. Thanks for trying to help.”
“Not a problem.”
As the Magisters left the building, Tech went back into the back room and slumped down in his office chair.
“What was that?” Aquadilus asked.
“What was what?” Tech responded.
“Since when are you willing to help out some random people?”
“First off, they aren’t ‘random people’, I’ve met them once before. The blue guy a couple times actually. Second, I don’t need to explain myself to you, I do what I want.”
“My god.” Aquadilus replied in mock horror. “Don’t tell me you’re...developing empathy like a real person!”
“I can literally fire you whenever I want.”
“And yet you never do.”
As Tech stepped up to the warehouse specified in the letter, he paused for a moment to survey the area. After a few seconds, Alvono popped his head out of the Pyronaut Blade.
“What’s up?” He asked. “Aren’t we meeting inside the scary abandoned warehouse?”
“Yeah, we are.” Tech replied. “I was just thinking.”
“Don’t hurt yourself.”
“Hilarious. Anyways, a thought occurred to me just then. If we know we’re walking into a trap...”
“...If we know we’re walking into a trap what?”
“Why don’t we set up a few traps of our own?”
Tech pulled up the SpecTrix and started turning the dial.
“Let’s see what I can do.”
Tech walked into the warehouse, carefully surveying his surroundings. Massive stacks of crates were piled haphazardly around the large open space. A dim light seeped through the dimly-lit windows, illuminating only a small portion of the area.
“As if this being a trap wasn’t obvious enough.” Tech remarked.
Suddenly, a large bang resounded from the rafters. Alvono reacted immediately, firing off a plasma beam from the Pyronaut Blade in the blink of an eye, deflecting a rather impressively-sized bullet.
“What the hell was that?!” Tech exclaimed, whirling around.
“Someone tried to headshot you, man!” Alvono answered. “You really should transform before going into places like this!”
“Good point. Let’s go!”
Tech twisted the SpecTrix dial and quickly transformed into Rebide.
“This guy?” Alvono asked. “Isn’t he, like, super slow?”
“Well, since I don’t know where to aim anything anyways, absorbing the bullet’s impacts seems like the best option.” Tech replied. “On another note, why is...whoever this is using any sort of projectile weapon over a laser rifle?”
“Actually, back at the weapons ring, I had to make a lot of projectile-based weaponry. See, laser rifles are good for carving through things, but considering that they cauterize the wound upon impact, it makes them extremely unreliable for outright killing someone. Hit someone practically anywhere with a regular bullet, and your target has a high chance of just bleeding out if you don’t get a clean kill.”
“You seem to know a lot about this stuff.”
“Picked it up in the forge.”
Suddenly, a knife flew out from behind a pile of crates, nearly lodging itself in Tech’s head. He was able to deflect it at the last second, knocking it aside with his arm and absorbing the kinetic energy of the impact. Before he had time to think, several more knives were launched from around various piles of crates, Tech barely managing to deflect them all. Once the barrage of blades had ended, he quickly started forming a ball of energy with his barbels.
“Not very much energy to work with, but it’ll have to do.” Tech remarked.
With that, he splayed out his barbels in opposite direction, breaking the orb of energy into multiple beams and blowing up the stacks of crates. Through the smoke, he caught a quick glimpse of a figure running towards the exit.
“Not today!” He yelled, firing a considerably smaller energy blast towards the door. Upon impact, the energy fizzled for a bit, then threw out a massive burst of electrical energy, knocking his assailant backwards.
“Rigged the wiring to explode on impact!” He said smugly. “You’re not the only one that can set a trap!”
The figure leapt to its feet and pulled out two blades, taking advantage of the smoke to rush Tech, who managed to transform into Sandrill and disperse into sand, avoiding the blow. He launched a drill attack from the sand, but missed as the figure leapt into the air, dodging his attack, then pulled a small orb from the belt around its torso and lobbed it into the sand.
Upon impact, the orb beeped momentarily, then exploded into a controlled yet devastating heat wave, turning Tech’s body to glass. The SpecTrix let out a harsh buzz, turning Tech back into his normal human form. The figure, having grabbed onto a chain hanging from the ceiling, took swift advantage of this, dropping towards Tech sword-first. Tech quickly grabbed the Pyronaut Blade and swung it in front of himself, barely managing to deflect the blow. As the figure leapt quickly to the side and Tech shot to his feet, the smoke finally cleared up, revealing his attacker to be-
“Some teenage girl?!” Tech exclaimed. “How many intergalactic combat-trained teens are there?!”
His opponent was a human female around his height, wearing a black and purple outfit made from a kevlar-like material. Her eyes were an unnatural purple, and her brown hair was set out of the way with a ponytail. She wore a belt around her torso, and was dual-wielding two longswords that appeared to be coated with a layer of Taydenite. She stood in battle-ready stance, wearing a particularly sharp glare.
“Okay, I’m going to admit, I have no idea what’s going on here other than you trying to kill me.” Tech remarked. “Unfortunately for you, I’m the kind of person to punch first and ask questions later.”
Tech quickly sheathed his sword and slammed down on the SpecTrix dial, transforming into Electrolite.
“Have fun trying to spear a guy made of electricity!”
His opponent’s only response was to wordlessly pull out a small, black rock and toss it on the ground. Tech stared for a moment in confusion, then put his hands together and started forming an electricity ball.
“Not sure what that rock was supposed to do, but okay!”
Tech finished charging the orb and launched it at his opponent. It flew directly towards her until it got within a few feet, at which point it stopped its current flight path and dispersed into several bolts of electricity, which were all absorbed into the small rock she had tossed.
“That’s some sort of magnetic rock, isn’t it?” Tech sighed. “Well, let’s try this!”
With that, he slammed down on the SpecTrix dial again and transformed into Terminano, then took off running in circles around the warehouse.
“Good luck hitting something you can’t see!”
His opponent wordlessly watched the yellow blur Tech left behind as he ran, carefully tracking its pattern. After a few moments of this, she reared back and kicked the now-electrified rock directly in front of Tech, who was running too fast to dodge in time. Upon impact, the rock let out an explosion of electricity, knocking Tech backwards.
“Question.” His opponent said, shaking her head. “Do you ever think before you act?’
“Occasionally.” Tech answered, transforming into Heatjet. “Not that much, though.”
His opponent took one look at his new form and sheathed one of her swords, then pulled out a small pistol and shot upwards, above Tech. Her shot snapped the nozzle of a fire sprinkler, dumping a stream of water onto Tech’s body. As he was currently composed of flames, this did not end well.
“Ow!” Tech yelled, detransforming. “Son of a-”
He was unable to finish that statement, as his opponent had taken advantage of his distracted state and rushed him, pulling out the sword she had sheathed. Barely jumping out of the way in time, Tech quickly slammed down on the SpecTrix, transforming into Overtide.
“Okay, I know you don’t have anything to take out something made of water!” He proclaimed.
“And I see you can’t get out of striking distance without running your mouth.” His opponent replied.
With that, she whipped around and drove one of her swords into the SpecTrix symbol, cracking it. The SpecTrix let out a crackling sound, then created a green explosion that detransformed Tecch, and sent him and his opponent flying away from each other. Tech smacked unceremoniously into the wall of the warehouse, whereas his opponent nimbly landed on her feet. After rubbing his head for a few seconds, Tech looked up to find his opponent only a few meters away and walking towards him.
“Oh, come on!” Tech snapped. “Doesn’t anything faze you?!”
“I was raised from birth by an interplanetary assassins guild, and trained to defend against any fighting technique I might come across.” She responded. “In other words: no.”
“Hey, I don’t think you’re gonna win this by yourself.” Alvono piped up from the Pyronaut Blade.
“Well, then why aren’t you helping?!” Tech asked angrily.
“You didn’t ask.”
“Alvono, you son of a-”
Tech was interrupted by a sudden sword blade through his chest.
“Now how did I forget about that?” He said woozily before slumping over.
After a few seconds, his opponent pulled her blade out of his chest and turned away, then began wiping it off.
“It’s never a clean kill, is it?” She grumbled to herself. “They always have to block the bullets and make me use the swords.”
Suddenly, there was a green flash from behind her. She whipped around to find Tech transformed into Viris, shaking a finger at her.
“What the hell?!” She exclaimed. “I broke your transformation device! I put a hole through your chest!”
“Trust me, you aren’t the first one to do that, and probably won’t be the last.” Tech replied. “Good try, though.”
“How did you-” His opponent began, then got a look at the SpecTrix symbol, which was now entirely black with a green ring on it. “The Mechamorph?!”
“Yeah, I forget he’s there most of the time too.”
“I guess I need to be more thorough this time around.” She raised her swords into an attack position.
“You asked earlier if I ever thought before I acted.” Tech interjected. “Well, before I picked a form, I did some of that thinking stuff, and remembered something I learned on the Extranet.”
His opponent wordlessly rushed him, slashing at his body with both her swords; however, this time around, both of them shattered on impact.
“What the-” She started.
“Specifically, that there exists a type of bacteria that secretes an odd, waxy substance that can break down material at the molecular level, making even Taydenite extremely brittle.” Tech explained. “It was technically exterminated in the wild, and only exists contained inside energy fields in certain laboratories nowadays, but that’s besides the point.”
His opponent angrily whipped out a pistol from her belt and took several shots at him, each one simply passing right through his particle-based body. She then jumped backwards and threw another heat grenade at him that exploded upon impact, leaving behind a nasty burning odor and throwing up a cloud of smoke. There was a green flash from the smoke, and momentarily after, Tech, back in his human form, rushed out of the smoke and tackled his distracted opponent, knocking her backwards. He quickly drew the Pyronaut Blade and held it above the SpecTrix. Alvono took the signal and moved to the sword, turning it back into a green and black, claymore-like longsword.
“Suck it, Lancelot!” He yelled, slamming his blade into the ground, causing a wave of green plasma to shoot towards his opponent.
The plasma wave made contact, blasting his opponent backwards through the thin sheet metal making up the warehouse’s walls. Tech paused to stare at the destructive capacity of that one swing.
“Wow.” He remarked. “I should really learn how to use this thing!”
“Uh, should we, like...make sure she’s not dead?” Alvono asked.
“Why? She stabbed me through the chest!”
“If anyone comes around here and finds a dead person and then another person holding a massive sword, they might have a few difficult questions.”
Tech ran out of the warehouse through the hole he had made. His opponent was lying a few meters away, trying to get back up.
“Seriously?!” Tech exclaimed. “Are you made of iron or something?!”
“Not really.” She replied, getting to her feet. “Though I suppose the bone implants would give off that effect.”
“Great, one more thing for me to worry about.”
“Probably not your biggest problem at the moment.”
With that, she pulled out another heat grenade, this time lobbing it between her and Tech, throwing up a huge plume of smoke. Tech quickly ran through the smoke, but found that his opponent had disappeared. Before he could look around, the sound of a snapping twig came from his right, barely giving him enough warning to put up his sword, blocking a vicious kick from his opponent. The kick knocked Tech’s sword from his hands, disarming him and forcing him back.
“Okay, you know what?” He snapped. “Screw this!”
Tech jumped backwards out of the smoke cloud and quickly scooped up a handful of loose dirt. As soon as his opponent exited the smoke, he threw the clump of dirt directly into her eyes, temporarily blinding her.
“Agh, son of a-” She exclaimed. “Dirt?! Who the hell does that?!”
“Just be glad I don’t carry around glitter!” Tech replied, then paused for a second. “Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Plans for later!”
Tech took advantage of his opponent’s distraction to sweep her feet out from under her and run over to his sword, quickly raising it up in a defensive stance. His opponent finally managed to get the dirt out of her eyes and leapt to her feet, reaching into her belt.
“Okay, hold on, time out!” Tech said. “What exactly are you planning on doing here?”
“I think I’ve made that pretty clear.” His opponent responded.
“Not what I was talking about.” Tech shook his head in frustration. “Look, I’m going to be honest with you here. Since I have the SpecTrix, I’m probably not going to die, and if I do, I’m not going to stay dead. You, on the other hand, do not have that advantage.”
“What’s your point?”
“My point is, we’re kinda just wasting everybody’s time here." Tech's voice started to get more angry. "Let’s just call it even and go our separate ways. I’d say that sounds like a decent deal.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Why not? Would it hurt your pride too much?”
“Unlike you, I have severe consequences in store for me if I fail.”
“And unlike you, there are people counting on me that could get seriously hurt or die if I fail!” Tech snapped, his voice growing louder with frustration. “Granted, I don’t expect someone like you to understand that, since it would take even a minute piece of human empathy! And, I mean, you know what? I get it! I was the exact same way once! Look out for number one! Take out the people who piss you off!” Tech began accentuating his rant with various arm movements. “Thing is, I got one hell of a wake-up slap from reality! And, okay, maybe in spite of that, it’s still extremely hypocritical for me of all people to be ranting like this, but at the end of the day, I’d like to think that I still have a point!”
“What are you-”
Before his opponent could finish that question, Tech was distracted by a rather sudden hot pinprick sensation on the left side of his head. And the side of his neck. And the side of his chest. After a couple seconds, he felt the distinct sensation of burning in the areas the pinpricks had been. He looked down to find a rather impressive cauterized hole carved into the side of his chest.
“Oh boy, here we go.” He said, then limply fell to the ground.
His opponent looked around in shock, trying to figure out what had just happened, and quickly saw a white and blue, female figure standing on the roof of the warehouse with crossed arms.
“Excuse my impatience.” The figure remarked. “But I don’t exactly have much time on my hands.”
“Wow, you’re back here again? Not that I don’t appreciate the company, but man, are you bad at the whole ‘living’ thing!”
Tech’s only response was a half-hearted grunt of annoyance. He was laying on the ground of a vast, gray area, with an oddly dressed man in a an orange striped suit looking at him.
He was in The Void.
“Hey kid, I feel like there’s something you should probably know about.”
“What now?” Tech grumbled.
“The more time you spend here in The Void, the more Void Energy you soak up.”
“I kinda figured.”
“Right, well, I’m just gonna tell ya right now that no living thing has directly soaked up this amount of raw Void Energy before, so there might be some side effects we don’t know about yet. Try especially to keep your eyes on...well, your eyes! Void Energy and eyes have sort of a weird relationship. That’s actually why I wear this thing!” The Jester pointed to his opaque visor. “Eyes were too hard to make, so I had to just leave them out! Kinda scares the kids if I don’t wear it, ya know.”
“While that’s all very interesting, I have a bit more of a pressing question.” Tech replied, getting to his feet. “What the hell killed me?”
“Oh, I was just getting to that!” The Jester replied. “It’s the funniest thing, actually. You remember who the Magisters were looking for this morning?”
“Who are you?” Tech’s would-be assassin asked. “What just happened?”
The blue and white figure had jumped down nimbly from the roof and was now examining above Tech’s body. After ensuring there wasn’t a pulse, she stood back up and faced the assassin.
“I suppose they wouldn’t tell you who hired you.” The figure replied. “My name is Alpha. As for your second question, I can create and control photonic matter. I simply used some to carve out a few well-placed holes.”
“Wait, you were the one who hired me? But...why didn’t you just let me kill him, then?”
“To be honest, you were never intended to be the one to kill him.” Alpha explained. “You were a distraction.”
“I don’t follow.”
“Humans generally drop their guards around other humans of opposite gender, at least to a point. From what I’ve learned of this one, any other assassin I sent would probably have been defeated very quickly. I needed more time to throw off anyone that might have been following me.”
“You go home and tell your superiors your mission was a resounding success.”
“But I didn’t actually kill him!”
“Why would that matter?” Alpha began calmly walking away from the warehouse. “The only reason you’re not dead is because your opponent easily had twice the morality of you.”
“...If...if that’s true...then why did you want him dead?” The assassin turned after her.
Alpha paused for a few moments before replying.
“...In times such as these, the universe holds no place for good men.”
“One last question, then.”
“How did you get rid of the Mechamorph?”
As soon as this exchange had ended, a green flash exploded from behind the two of them. They whipped around to find a slender black and purple humanoid, with multiple spikes jutting out of his body. The symbol on his chest was black with a green ring in the center of it.
“You know, The Jester told me what you guys were talking about.” Tech, transformed into Umbra, remarked. “For the record, I’d like to consider myself as an equal-opportunity jerk.”
“Impossible!” Alpha said. “How did you manage to transform?!”
Alvono popped his head out of the SpecTrix symbol.
“Since when have you been accompanied by a Galvanic Mechamorph?!” Alpha questioned. “None of my investigations even implied you were traveling with one!”
“Ha!” Tech responded. “Alvono’s general uselessness can fool even the most thorough investigators!”
“Yeah, I missed that one too.” The assassin remarked.
“In that case, I’ll make sure to kill both of you this time.” Alpha replied.
With that, she raised her arms out in front of here. Threads of solid light flew from her fingertips, heading directly towards Tech. He quickly threw up a shield of shadow energy, blocking the attack. Mere seconds afterwards, a massive blow hit the shield, shattering it and knocking Tech back a few feet. The shadow energy dissipated to reveal an eight-foot figure made of solid light similar in shape to Alpha rearing back for another attack. Tech tried to throw up another shield, but was interrupted by an impossibly fast punch to the gut, followed up by a flurry of blows that were each equally as fast.
The mass of punches finally ended with a massive blow to Tech’s chest that sent him flying a good ten meters before hitting the ground with a nasty thud. The light construct wasted no time, its arms turning into blades and rushing towards Tech. The split second before it made contact, it was suddenly blown apart by two missiles that appeared out of seemingly nowhere.
“What now?!” Alpha exclaimed.
As if in response to that question, three figures rounded the corner of the far side of the warehouse.
“You know, for having ten thousand years worth of extra information, you don’t seem to have learned how to properly covered your tracks.” Magister Red replied.
“How did you find me?” Alpha asked.
“Well, first we went back to the spaceport, then we met this fish guy.” Magister Yellow explained. “He pointed us to an underground noodle market, which led us to Chinatown, which led us to this one aquarium, which led us to a one-legged sherpa with a glass eye, who pointed us to-”
“The point is, it was a long and complicated series of events.” Magister Blue interrupted. “I think a better question would be, and, um, excuse me if this is a bit of a stupid question, but-”
“What in the ever-loving blue hell are you doing?!” Magister Red snapped.
“What I have to.” Alpha replied. “You’re right about me having ten thousand years worth of extra information. There are things we have discovered that relics like you couldn’t possibly understand.”
“Uh, Hope?” Magister Yellow interjected. “We’re all younger than you.”
“First off, I have upgraded myself consistently with the newest technology every century or so, keeping me updated.” Alpha explained. “Secondly, I’ve been finished for several millennia or so. I switched to my intended name of Alpha a while ago.”
“What could you possibly know that would justify this?” Magister Blue demanded.
“Thanks to an extra-dimensional entity, our universe is reaching a time limit.” Alpha displayed a hologram of the universe, projected from her Data Crystal. “That time limit can be pushed farther back by halting the progress of civilization. Unfortunately, most species would find a task like that impossible; therefore, the unfortunate truth is that active destruction of these civilizations is the only way to buy time. People such as him,” Alpha gestured to the unconscious, still transformed Tech. “would stand in the way of that destruction.”
“And you just...appointed yourself to the office of deciding who lives and dies?” Magister Blue questioned.
“A necessary measure, if an unfortunate one.”
“You know we can’t let you do this.”
“You don’t have much of a choice.”
Alpha threw out her arm, shooting an array of light beams towards the three Magisters, who barely made it out of the way in time. She took this opportunity to create several solid light attack constructs, all of which rushed the Magisters.
“You three are ten thousand years out date.” She remarked. “You can’t defeat me by yourselves.”
Magister Blue created a massive energy blade, slashing it into one of the attacking constructs. Unfortunately, the blow bounced off its surface, giving it the chance to punch Magister Blue square in the jaw, sending him flying. Magister Red was firing off missiles as fast as he could, trying to destroy the construct attacking him; however, every time he blew it up, it simply reformed and resumed raining down a flurry of blows. Magister Yellow was the only one holding her own very well, but was still unable to destroy the construct attacking her.
“I hate to admit it, but I think she’s right about that.” Magister Red yelled to the other Magisters. “We need to form Omega!”
“You need to watch your backs.” Alpha said.
Immediately after she finished speaking, three light beams curved from around her back and slammed into each of the Magisters, carving a hole through each of their heads. Their bodies flickered for a moment, then suddenly glitched out and dissipated, their Data Crystals dropping to the ground.
“I admit, I never wanted it to tend this way.” Alpha bowed her head slightly. “But I haven't been given much of a choice.”
The three light constructs reared back, ready to land the final blows and destroy the Data Crystals. Suddenly, they were interrupted by a flickering in the air, and were all ripped into pieces simultaneously. Before Alpha could react, a massive golden and purple figure appeared in front of her, several frowning and smiling mouths arranged on its face in a macabre pattern. It stood perfectly still, as if frozen in time, for several tense moments.
“Every man builds his world in his own image.” The thing finally said. “He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.”
It opened its eyes, revealing three ominous, glowing red orbs.
“We share that powerless necessity by design. However, I will not allow the destruction of whatever power I possess.”
With that, the strange creature drew disappeared from view in a paradoxically dark, yet glowing, veil. Alpha quickly turned, looking for where the creature had disappeared to. After a few seconds, there was a quiet, wispy sound behind her, followed by a massive hole through her torso, barely missing her Data Crystal. She barely had the time to register what had just happened before disappearing in a flash of light, her Data Crystal falling to the ground.
“Okay, that’s enough.” Alvono said from the SpecTrix symbol. “This thing is creeping me out.”
The creature was enveloped by a green flash, which faded to reveal Tech holding his head.
“Ow, ow, ow!” He exclaimed. “It’s like brainfreeze, but somehow worse!”
“Hey, what happened to that assassin person?” Alvono asked.
Tech looked around the area, finding no signs of the assassin.
“I guess she left.” Tech said.
“So what now?”
Tech shrugged and began to say something, but was interrupted by the Magisters Data Crystals floating up into the air and beeping. After a few moments, the crystals let out a bright glow, regenerating the Magisters in a pixel-like pattern.
After the regeneration ended, the Magisters dropped to the ground, landing on their feet.
“Well, my first time I’ve been taken out by a shot to the head.” Magister Red remarked.
“Not mine!” Magister Yellow replied.
“Hold on, what happened to Alpha?” Magister Blue asked.
“Over there.” Tech answered, pointing over to Alpha’s Data Crystal.
“Wait, you took her out?” Magister Red asked in disbelief. “You were unconscious last time we checked.”
“That happens a lot more than you’d think.” Tech replied. “You kinda get used to it.”
“That sounds wrong, but I don’t know enough about Humans to dispute it.”
“Yellow, if you would.” Magister Blue said.
Magister Yellow walked over to Alpha’s Data Crystal and formed a stasis field around it, then picked it up.
“Well, I guess that’s that.” Magister Blue said.
“Hold on.” Magister Red argued. “What was this ‘extra-dimensional entity’ she was talking about?”
“I think she was talking about the Anti-Life Entity.” Tech answered.
Magister Red turned to face him.
“You know what it is?”
“Well, just the name.” Tech admitted. “The whole thing surrounding it is what made Dethrouge start rampaging, too.”
“An entity whose mere existence drives people to such fear, they strike against those around them.” Magister Blue remarked grimly. “I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Gee, what tipped you off?” Magister Red snarked.
“Hey, thanks for helping us out with this.” Magister Blue turned to Tech. “We probably would’ve been screwed without some extra firepower.
“Eh, it’s what I do.” Tech shrugged. “My only question is what happened to whoever I was fighting.”
“What, the other human?” Magister Red asked. “I saw her run off somewhere. Probably the best choice she could’ve made in that situation.”
“Hm.” Tech grunted in response, staring off into the distance. “Well, I guess as long as she doesn’t show up again, it’s not really my problem.”
Tech’s would-be assassin and another figure covered in shadows stood in a dark office space, each glaring at the other intensely.
“I’m leaving.” The assassin repeated. “No matter how you look at it, having a human like me in an organization like this is just stupid.”
“You do not question our management decisions!” The other figure snapped. “You cannot just leave!”
“Unless two aliens working for you managed to somehow make a human together, I highly doubt there’s any legal precedence for you to make that statement.”
The assassin turned to leave and began walking towards the door.
“Moranna, if you leave now, I warn you this.” The shadowy figure said. “Our organization will not let such an insult to our honor go unpunished!”
“Then come at me all you want, you crazy bastards.” Moranna walked out the door, letting the metal seal close behind her.
“I’ll be ready for you.”
- Moranna Ceres
- Alpha makes her debut.
- Moranna Ceres makes her debut.
- Blyte is revealed to have a new form.
- Moranna leaves the assassin's guild.