This is possibly a radical idea, but...

 
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Elena, aka Leto Bucher
Jihaddi


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Waldemar, ON

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject: This is possibly a radical idea, but... Reply with quote

Leto's Choice

Chapter 1: A Normal Day at the Office
Leto was laid back in an office chair, headphones on, music turned up very loud, a pair of sneakers that had been creatively ripped into sandal form up on the desk. There was also something called ‘paperwork’ scattered around, but she’d learned some very valuable lessons on such things from one of her superiors about dealing with such things.

Last minute panic, for one.

The office wasn’t hers, for another. She was only ‘watching’ it for one of many 'slightly more superior' officers while said officer was on a much needed vacation. Good experience for her, apparently. If she wanted to get past Operative, she’d have to get more familiar with paperwork. And fast. Or so the Senior Operative had said.

“Just another version off ‘Oh no, I don’t want to deal with a mountain when I get back from vacation. Bah.” Leto mumbled to herself, lost in the strains of Snuff. She cracked an eye open and idly bounced a light ball back and forth from one hand to another. She didn’t hear the door open.

“Ahem.” The person in the doorway coughed. “AHEM!” Still nothing. The tall figure sighed, flexed his fingers, and snapped them in the direction of the young woman. There was a brief blast of energy, but Leto, not even looking up, raised her hand and it was neatly deflected. She continued juggling. The man sighed and walked over.

“Really, how loud can it be? And I know you...” he stared at the headphones, which were mildly vibrating. Well, that explained a few things. He coughed and gently plucked them off Leto’s head, and spoke very politely over the sudden, raucous burst of sound. “If I may have your attention for a moment?”

“What the fuck? Who do you think you…oh. Heh. Sorry, Adam.” Leto jumped to her feet, snarled, and was sheepishly apologetic in an astonishingly short period of time. She scratched her other hand and lowered her eyes, dissolving the lightball. He was amused.

“Well, I guess you can say you were doing something remotely resembling productivity. Nice to know you were practicing your magic skills.”

“And my combat reflexes, too.”

“How’s that work?”

“Well, juggling improves my hand-to-eye coordination.” Brother Adam chuckled.

“Hah, fair enough. Listen, I know the SO asked to you to come in here and take care of things, but your CO sent me over to ask you a question.”

Leto raised an eyebrow. “You mean, someone wants to give me an order and they do not wish to put up with my bitching about it, so they sent you.”

Adam seemed to think for a minute. “You know, I always wonder how well you can read minds. That’s pretty much what Katze said.”

“Well, thank you so much for the input, Brother Adam. It is nice to know I have my best friend come and visit me, as well as drop off the daily delivery of St. Dino’s finest, and then have my boss use him as a buffer cushion. And does Katze know that I am supposed to taking care of this place and doing work?”

“Yes. And she said you probably weren’t, so she doesn’t feel any compunction about asking you to come up.”

“Great. I am now a relatively low level flunky being used gratuitously by anyone of a higher rank then me.”

“Welcome to the army, girlie. This is why I headed out to St. Dino’s. You think this is bad, be glad that TRES report never made it to who counted over there. Bond is such an asshole sometimes.”

“Wait a minute…were not you the one who submitted the bulk of information?” Leto narrowed her eyes at the larger man. He raised his hands.

“Hey, the way I see it, you gave that info over pretty deliberately.”

“Grrr…”

“Ah, shoot, not again.” Brother Adam turned around and ran from the room, a very large kitty chasing after him.

***

Okay, hopefully this won't get too many people mad at me. Thanks to Mal for the inspiration.

Basically, the story explores the idea I fiddled with in Leto's char development, involving the Maenads and the Holy Albino. A slightly different (okay, a LOT different) take then what I had originally planned, however. So, to keep things safe, this is only a short intro piece till I can get more information for my char. Very Happy

Enjoy! (and please forgive the n00b's writing Very Happy )

(note: okay, so it isn't just an intro anymore Very Happy )
_________________
Mors Principium Est
Remember... PILLAGE before you BURN!
“Usually I ask only two questions- what are we dealing with and how do I kill it."
Everything I know I learned from killing smart people and eating their brains Wink


Last edited by Elena, aka Leto Bucher on Mon Sep 19, 2005 9:39 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Elena, aka Leto Bucher
Jihaddi


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Waldemar, ON

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 10:30 pm    Post subject: moving on Reply with quote

Chapter 2: The Assignment
Leto slid around the corner, her paws skidding on the waxed floor, and slammed into the opposite wall. Yes, her panther form gave her speed and the ability to scatter people about, but it was harder the more people there were and the smaller the halls were. She took off again after Adam, who was laughing and running down the hallway, various people either jumping, startled expressions on their face (the newbies), out of the way, or casually stepping to one side (anyone who'd been there longer than a few months). She stretched out, gaining on the Brother, leaped, and keeping her claws sheathed, jumped him.

They rolled to a stop right outside Katze's door.

After the varying cries of outrage died down, the door opened and Katze stood there, looking down at a 600 pound panther who held a 200 pound man by the back of the neck like an oversized kitten. The two both looked up, and Leto hurriedly 'spat' Brother Adam out, putting her ears down and doing an anime-esque grin.

"My bad."

Leto reared up and shifted right in front of Katze, dusting herself off. She then extended a hand to Brother Adam, who took it, got up, and nodded at Katze, somewhat abashed.

"Sorry, 'bout that ma'am."

"Sorry, Katze. You said you wanted to see me?" Leto grinned again as she faced her. "I am at least supposed to be busy, Senior Operative Jansen asked me to watch his office while he was on vacation. I mean, I cannot leave him with all that paperwork to finish."

"And have you actually done any paperwork so far?" Katze's expression was somewhere around exasperation and frustration, an expression that Leto was familiar with.

"Well, it is funny that you ask…"

Brother Adam coughed. "Ah, well, I see my job is done here. Nice seeing you, ma'am. You too Leto." He tipped a hand to his forehead, the salute an almost involuntary reaction from his days at TRES. Katze nodded back and Leto raised an eyebrow.

"Traitor!" she called after him. He turned, shrugged, and grinned.

"Love you too, B. See ya!" Adam quickly disappeared around a corner before Leto could launch her ire or a minor spell at him. She grimaced for a moment, then shrugged.

"He thinks he is funny."

"Ahem. Do you think you might step inside so I can talk to you?" Katze said patiently. Leto smiled sweetly at her and nodded.

"Of course, whatever you say." She sauntered in after Katze and shut the door, then sat down as Katze sat behind her desk. Katze leaned her elbows on the desk.

"So, I was thinking, you've been with us for a while, and have been doing an all right job so far, I might add." Her eyes twinkled. "So maybe it's time to give you a little more responsibility."

Leto eyed her suspicisously. "Like what?"

Katze picked up a folder from the desk top and flipped through the papers inside. "Nothing fancy, just a quick phenomenon survey. We've picked up a funny blip in southern Louisana and I'd like you to go scan the area." She handed the folder over to Leto and smiled. "Hey, you might enjoy it. Your dad's family is from that area, aren't they?" Leto took the file and grunted, her casual attitude gone at the mention of Lousiana.

"Yes, they are. Dammit, why there? Isn't there some other…"

"Don't start, okay? Can you please just take an order for once?" Katze's said, exasperated. "And why wouldn't you want to meet your father's family? I'll give you a day off once you're done, if you need it."

"I have already met my father's family…do you remember the 4th of July weekend, when I got back right in the middle of the party, after I had said I would be gone?" Leto sighed deeply and Katze nodded. "I had finally found them, where they lived. I decided to go there to meet them. And when I got there, I saw the reason why my father chose Berkeley, so he could get as far away from them as possible and still be in the States. I just…I really do not wish to be near them again. They are not pleasant people."

Katze nodded in sympathy. "I'm sorry. But I would like you to do this for me."

"Yes, I know, I will do it." Leto grumbled half-heartedly. "When do you want me to leave?"

"As soon as possible would be nice. It's probably nothing, but…"

"Ah, yes, 'but'." Leto snarled to herself. "I am to bring some others with me?"

"Might be an idea." Katze grinned. "Back-up tends to come in handy, I've found. Five others should be good."

"Rrrrof." Leto grumbled again and idly looked through the file. "Oh, ugh, it is near Thibodaux. Where my father's family is. So why use me, anyways? I am sure that…oh." She stopped and looked closer at the file. Katze nodded.

"I thought it might be good for someone with your skills to cover. It also might be an idea to bring an extra mage along."

Leto nodded, distracted by the information she was reading over. According to it, there had been a number of strange sightings, a few disappearances, and a strange, single pulse of nagenta-coloured light that had stood up from one of the swamps one night. The local station had picked up an increase in spongin activity in the area as well, but the real worry was the report from the local mage. 'We can't seem to pinpoint anything, the activity is scattered all over, and any thing we pick up is there and then gone before we can trace it. Definitly B'harnate, though.'

She hummed while tracing her finger over the single photo present, of the light pulse, almost forgetting Katze, and closed her eyes, trying for a residual 'feel'. "Hmm… yes, yes, I see what you want."

"Good. Can you tell anything right off?" Leto opened her eyes and handed the photo back. She shook her head.

"No, not really. But it is puzzling. I would think any magic used would be easy to detect."

"Usually, yes. That's why you're going. Hopefully you can give those guys down there a hand." She smiled. "Listen, it shouldn't be too hard. If you come across anything serious, stop and call for back up." They both stood up and Katze extended her hand. Leto huffed, shook it, and turned to leave. Just as she was going out the door, she shot back,

"That leave you mentioned, I can take it New Orleans, yes?" she laughed as she skipped out, hearing Katze's groan.
_________________
Mors Principium Est
Remember... PILLAGE before you BURN!
“Usually I ask only two questions- what are we dealing with and how do I kill it."
Everything I know I learned from killing smart people and eating their brains Wink
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Elena, aka Leto Bucher
Jihaddi


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Waldemar, ON

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:13 am    Post subject: And on... Reply with quote

Chapter 3: Arrival in Louisiana.

Leto and 3 other people staggered as the Gate deposited them outside the outpost. Leto tripped, fell, and rolled back up again, acting as casual as possible as the assembled people chuckled. The five others managed to keep their feet. She'd brought a fellow mage, a girl who usually went back to the JPV with her, O. Joy Mathers. With them were two techies, Ben Wickam and Peter Kiley. They shouldered their gear and bags and stepped forward.

The outpost belonged to the Doberman Empire, and two men, troopers if Leto was right, stepped forward. They both stood in front of her and saluted.

"Trooper Belenus, ma'am."

"Trooper Sedna, ma'am." Leto looked up at the Troopers, both of whom were quite a bit taller than her 5'6" frame. She raised an eyebrow, looked at their crisp black and red uniforms, at their at-attention stance, and grinned. She really loved the other JAO's sometimes.

"At ease, Troopers. You do not have to be so formal with me. I assume you are the ones that are to help me?"

"Ah…yes ma'am." They relaxed and Sedna spoke. Leto chuckled.

"Please, my name is Leto. You will call me that, yes?"

"Not in earshot of Warrior Bran, ma'am." Belenus whispered, and Leto laughed loudly. The mood relaxed and she punched them both on the arm. The two big men grinned, and Belenus spoke again. "He's not so bad, but a bit tight about the rules sometimes. He just wants to be sure we stay in line for visitors." His eyes were laughing as well. Leto giggled.

"Yes, well, hopefully he and I will get along. Our quarters? I wish to settle in and then make a quick scout before dusk." She was already heading towards the door, nodding and greeting the other troopers present, and stopping and saluting the Warrior in charge of the place. The VR group behind her rolled their eyes and grinned, then the lot of them grabbed their stuff and walked inside, the Troopers following.

***

"Well, do you have a plan, Operative Bucher?" Warrior Bran asked. They were standing around a table in the 'operation room', actually an old bedroom. The DE outpost was an old house on the outskirts of Thibodaux. Leto looked over at him and wondered why his face had a funny expression on it when he looked at her. She was wearing a uniform…sort of. The shorts were military-issue, dark green, and her tank top was white, with 'Marines' written across it. This was offset by her punk-style baldric, and the leather sandals whose thongs went partway up her calf. Her hair was held up out of the way by a bandana in VRDET colours. She stared back, and decided to ignore the expression.

"Yes, I do, Warrior Bran." Her voice held a slightly annoyed note. "You have the locations of the spongin activity?"

"Of course." He rolled out a map, somewhat discomfited at having to deal with a slight 20 year old woman who looked like a teen punker on a relatively equal level. But by all accounts, she wasn't to be underestimated. "Here, here, and here, we've had sightings of spongin. Normally their not too bad, maybe 2 or three at a time, and we've been able to pick them up and despongify them. Now, however…" he gestured over the map, at the large purple splotches that marred it. "Spongin activity has risen sharply over the last few weeks, and…"

"Yes, sir, I know this. I was briefed by Director Brenner earlier." Leto looked down and traced her fingers over the affected area, and hissed. "Grr…spongies."

The Warrior stiffened briefly at her tone, and then looked worried at the quiet hatred in her harsh voice. "Operative, I don't believe we need to use violence in this matter."

Leto looked up at him. Her lips pulled back in a snarl, but she nodded. "You are right. I want to go out for a scout before sunset, to see if I can detect anymore activity. I will do a major search at sundown." She straightened up from the table. "Is that all right with you, Warrior Bran?"

"Yes…yes, seems all right. Why sundown?" He was curious, having not had much experience with magic. Leto smiled and shrugged.

"Things are different during the In-Between time. I will be able to search easier, farther, and in more detail than at other times." She nodded to the Warrior. "Thank you, you have been very helpful. Is there a vehicle we may use?"

Bran was thinking to himself how unusual this woman was. She was fairly young, but seemed experienced and sure of herself. Or maybe he was confusing confidence with a plain insubordinate attitude and a touch of mischievousness. Given the JAO's she belonged to… "Yes, we have a couple of cargo vans we use for recon missions. Will that do?"

"Hmm, I think so." Leto grinned suddenly and touched her forehead in a brief salute. "This will work well. I will see you in a little while, sir." Bran returned the salute and watched in some slight confusion as Leto literally ran from the room. He turned to a Trooper.

"I really need to get used to these mages…"

***

"Oi, Whatcha doing?" Kiley jumped back as Leto yanked a box from where he'd stuffed it underneath a bunk. She slammed it down on the bed. It looked like a first-aid box. Leto knelt and flipped the switches, opened the top, and revealed what looked like a…blow-pipe? Along with many small, tufted darts. She picked on up between finger and thumb and held it up in the light.

"Cool, what's that?" Kiley took the dart from her hand. He noted it was clear, and filled with a small amount of dark liquid.

"Idea I had for de…de…" she grunted and tried to get her tongue around the word. So her English was tricky at times, whatever. "Getting rid of spongies. It's a concentrate of Jolt™ and a few drops of Irish whiskey. All one has to do is hit the spongie, and it is gone." She gleefully picked up the blow-pipe and put a dart in. "See? Quick, easy, and very quiet. And watch this…" she put the blow-pipe to her lips and blew. There was a faint 'puff' and the dart, the tuft a soft blue colour, went sailing.

"What the…!" Trooper Sedna ducked as he stepped into the room. The dart was stuck, quivering, in the door. "What was that?"

"New despongification method, apparently." Wickam observed idly. He was lying on the upper bunk, flipping through a Popular Mechanics magazine. Leto held up her hand and pointed at the dart. They all watched as the tuft slowly began to fade. Leto smiled.

"Each dart is also mildly enchanted. The tuft is necessary, but too noticeable. So, it goes away after a while."

Joy took out another dart. "Wow, not bad."

Leto plucked it back and stuffed it into the blow-pipe, then put the pipe back in the box and shut it. "Listen, all. Is Belenus here?" Belenus stepped through the doorway as she spoke. "Good. This is what we will do. We will drive around for a few hours, identifying any spongies and de…kida, I can never say that!"

"Despongify, Leto." She glared at Kiley as he grinned.

"De-spun-gee-fy. Thank you so very much. We will do that, to any we can find. After, at dusk, we will come back here and I will see if I can trace anything…Joy, you can help. If we are able to find anything, we will then go out and try to see what it is, exactly, that is happening." The assembled group nodded. Leto grabbed the dart box and motioned with her hand. "Come on now. We will go."

Music: Tubthumping, by Chumbawumba
They'd had a good run, managing to 'dart' the spongies they came across. There wasn't that many, only about 10, but that was 10 too many. The VR people had watched, fingers crossed, as Leto had blown the first dart, Troopers Belenus and Sedna with less concern. The spongie had grabbed his neck, looked at the dart in confusion, and then slowly toppled to the ground, limbs twitching. They'd high-fived and hooted at the success. It was also very amusing to watching the spongies grab certain parts of their anatomy and go 'Owww!', then drop like a stone. They all snickered when one stiffened and fell straight backwards. Leto stuck her head back in and nodded approval. She grabbed her 'Linker and tapped in. After a few seconds Senior Operative Mike O'Neill's face flickered into view.

"Yes?"

"Oi, Leto here. You know those Desponge Darts I helped develop? They work fine, just did a field test. Better than fine…" Leto looked away as 'Whoo! Got another one!' was heard in the background, amidst much laughter. She shouted, "Hey, be quiet! I am on the line with someone sort of important!", then turned back and grinned. "Heh. It works better than fine, Mickey."

"That's great. I'll send the word on up the line. You know how long the effects take to kick in yet?" He chuckled and wrote something down.

"Just a minute…tala! Is that one we just hit up yet?" She shouted at Wickam, who'd just had a turn with the blow-pipe. He stuck his head out the window and held a hand up.

"Lemme time it…" they waited a few minutes, then Wickam stuck his head back in. "7 minutes, 30 seconds. I think it'll change depending on body weight."

Leto tapped the stats in the 'Linker. "7 min, 30s, Mickey. That is the time for a 180 pound male. Does that help?"

"Yeah, that's great. Keep up the good work, Leto." He gave a thumbs-up and laughed. "Damn, now Ryerson's gonna win the pool. I was betting on 10 minutes, minimum."

"10 minutes? Frag it, I had money on 5 minutes." Leto grumbled, now down twenty bucks. "Ah, at least the police can write off a few more 'missing person' cases."

"That's why we're here, Operative. Good luck with the rest of survey."

"Yah, Mickey, umm, sir. Thank you." She smiled and hit 'disconnect'. "Okay, we have to go back to the outpost. Joy and I will start there."

"Sounds like a plan." Joy smiled. The others nodded, and Trooper Sedna, who was driving, started the van up.
_________________
Mors Principium Est
Remember... PILLAGE before you BURN!
“Usually I ask only two questions- what are we dealing with and how do I kill it."
Everything I know I learned from killing smart people and eating their brains Wink


Last edited by Elena, aka Leto Bucher on Sat Apr 16, 2005 1:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Elena, aka Leto Bucher
Jihaddi


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Waldemar, ON

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:25 pm    Post subject: Whoosh, this is a long one! Reply with quote

Chapter 4: Fallen One

There was a small grouping of the DE outpost staff and the VR techies. Leto and Joy sat, cross-legged on the ground, their eyes closed. The sun had just set, and the shadows were looming. Joy had spent precious minutes constructing a pattern on the ground, a ward pattern to strengthen and assist in Leto's magic sensing. If these 'problems' were so erratic or hard to trace, however, the ward pattern would be invaluable. Joy maintained it, Leto would use it.

Everyone watched as Leto closed her eyes. Joy's were open, and her palms flat on the ground, watching Leto and keeping an eye on the ward as well. It glowed softly, and Leto, who'd instructed her how to make it, warned her that if it got too bright or too dim, she was to slap her out of the trance, immediately. The two extremes would either drain or overload Leto, causing some serious backlash. It'd be easier to recover from a snapped trance than the backlash. Leto sunk herself deep into the trance, so deep that it looked like she stopped breathing. Everyone else watched, holding their collective breaths.

Leto was so deep she felt like she was floating. Part of this was due to the ward pattern. She hovered, almost at the point she used for divination, but not quite, and gently, but stealthily, searched for any dark magic source or trace.

She felt the horizon expand and broaden before her. She floated along, seeking, able to see far fainter magics than usual. It was an interesting feeling, noting more than a few people in the area had faint touches of magic, faint potential that would likely never be realized. Leto paused, and then continued, mentally shaking her head. She needed to focus, pay attention.

***

Warrior Bran shifted uneasily as the two young women, in particular Leto, were within the ward pattern. He was close to forty, he'd seen a lot of crazy shit, crazier than this even, but the whole scenario was making him very nervous, for some reason.

Wickam and Kiley glanced at Joy, who only shrugged. Leto seemed to be taking a long time to find any magic. Belenus and Sedna gripped their weapons, eyeing the horizon. They also felt something was wrong.

***

Leto was getting frustrated at the time it was taking to search. All the work Joy and herself had put into the ward, all for…wait, wait, there it was. A soft, almost unnoticeable flare of sickly purple light. She focused and approached it as quickly as she dared. As she got closer, an unmistakable feeling of fear began to rise in her, fear she thought she'd defeated a long time ago. Fear of being caught and tortured again, of turning into a sponge minion. She couldn't understand it, but valiantly ignored the climbing terror and got closer.

The light was so faint, it was surprising how much she feared it. Leto moved in, and then…

***

"NOOO!!!" A cry of sheer terror and panic burst from Leto's lips. The entire group literally jumped, but Joy had to try her hardest to stay in place. Soon it didn't matter, for Leto's eyes flew open and she screamed again, this time at a lower decibel that faded into nothing. Joy reached out and slapped her.

"Geez! What the hell was that?" Bran barked. Joy scowled at him as she helped Leto to her feet.

"I don't know, okay? Don't be so ignorant. You have no idea the stuff you can see when you're 'out there'." Kiley and Wickam each took one of Leto's arms, supporting her. She groaned and rubbed her forehead.

"Kida…it hurts. It hurts a lot. Please, water." Sedna nodded and brought out a canteen. Leto grabbed it and gulped thirstily. "Ah, that is better."

"I'm sorry, Operative. Are you all right?" Bran grunted an apology, and she looked over at him.

"Yes, I am fine. It takes me a moment to recover when I jump out of trance like that." She shook her head and winced. "The pain should pass in a moment."

"Here, try this, always works for me." Belenus handed Leto a couple of Advil™. She smiled gratefully and downed them. Bran shifted a little, than spoke.

"Okay, then, can you please tell me what happened?" Everyone quieted as Leto paused, took a deep breath, and spoke.

"I found the source you were looking for…it is hiding very well. Almost too well…and I am worried about that. It is B'harnate magic, no doubt, but such a faint signature should not have…" she struggled for a moment. "Should not have inspired such fear in me. I am never, ever afraid of such things."

"Can you tell where it is, or was?" Bran asked.

"Yes, yes I can. We should be able to find it, but…" she bit her lip. "I do not like it, there is something wrong about it. The signal is different than what I am used to seeing."

"Do you want more people?"

"I…I do not know. Let me think for a moment." She tilted her head. They waited several minutes while Leto pondered the situation, and then she spoke "Forgive me, sir, I am unused to situations like this. It is my first time leading something, so if you have any advice, I would be willing to hear it. I think, though, that my group, and your two men, will scout ahead. Unless you think more are needed?"

"I don't think so…but I'm hesitant to send my troops in harm's way unless there's a damn good reason to. Be careful out there, Bucher, and if you need help, call back."

"You are right…this is as much as Director Brenner said." She mused. "All right, we will go. But I want everyone to be armed, with more than one weapon, just to be safe."

"Good idea." Bran nodded. "I'll send word to Blanca, let them know that you've found the source and what you're up to."

"Thank you, sir." Leto smiled, then gestured to the Joy, Kiley, Wickam, and the two Troopers. "You guys up for a midnight run?"

"Yep."

"Hell, it's still early!"

"Whoo, I get to test these new sensors!"

"Yes ma'am!"

"Whatever you say, ma'am." Leto laughed at Belenus and Sedna, then headed off to the outpost to get ready. She was now past her fear, and in fact was seriously pissed off at herself for even feeling afraid.

"You cannot feel fear every time you come across such magic. Stop being so foolish! You have faced it before and defeated it, there is nothing to be afraid of anymore!" She growled to herself.

***

Walking around a swamp in Louisiana, was not the most comfortable thing to do. In fact, it was probably the *least* comfortable thing possible. The group was constantly swatting flies, mosquitoes, keeping an eye out for bogs and poisonous snakes. More than one person was muttering curses under their breath.

Leto was in the lead, with Trooper Belenus beside her. Joy was behind them, and Wickam and Kiley, carrying various pieces of equipment, were behind her. Trooper Sedna rounded it off. They crept forward, getting very close to where Leto had sensed the original source. Finally, she stopped and held up a hand.

"Here is good. You guys can set up." She nodded at the techies, who began to assemble a variety of sensors and other things that Leto couldn't even begin to pronounce. She pointed at Joy. "Can you set up a ward around this area? I do not want anyone to see us…be careful, though. Nothing that will send off a strong signal. I do not know what kind of person or thing is out there."

"No problem." Joy set off, muttering a spell as she walked in a large circle around them. Leto looked at the two Troopers.

"Can you keep just keep an eye out? This should not take too long, I just want to identify whatever is causing all this trouble. Then we can head back."

"No problem, ma'am." They both saluted and Leto groaned in frustration. The Troopers grinned, then took opposite points around the camp. Leto looked around, saw that everyone was keeping busy, and decided to try and get another look at the B'harnate magic source. This time, however, she had her staff with her, and laid it on the ground next to where she sat. She kept a firm grasp on the redwood staff, and closed her eyes.

This time, the source was still faint, but it was clearer. The colour seemed to be stronger too. Leto again felt a stirring of fear, but she savagely clamped down on it and ignored it. She approached, feeling around, and then another source rose up, very close by. Leto went back a ways, watching, trying to discern what the new source was.

***

Wickam was eyeing the sensor with a great deal of trepidation. He waved Kiley over. "Hey, come look at this. What does that look like to you?" He pointed at the small screen.

Kiley scratched his head. "Damn, it looks like the signal just doubled in size.

"Something else come, or did it just grow?"

"I think we should get Leto here." Kiley nudged Wickam, pointing at the seated figure. "She's probably picking up the same thing we are."

***

Leto mentally gasped as the source doubled in size. She still couldn't identify what the other source was, but there was something familiar about it, and it was doubtless affecting or working with the original magical signature. She got as close as she dared, then moved away.

That was it. It wasn't just a source, it was an aura. A thing, a living thing, was working with magic nearby.

***

Joy squatted in front of Leto and waited for her to come out of the trance. Leto's breath quickened, she opened her eyes, and then spoke.

"I think we have a problem."

"Yeah, Leto, we just picked something up. There's something else coming up, pretty powerful. Kiley…"

"I don't know, you might want to check this out first. Do you want to go back or should we look a bit more?" Leto came up and stared at the small screen, sensing that it showed much of what she saw in the trance, just differently. She bit her lip and debated. She had seen an aura, but wasn't entirely sure of what. Something was generating a lot of interference, maybe an old magical site, or an ill-placed lay-line. She finally nodded.

"We will go on and see if we can identify this…thing. We should get a positive visual, I think." She grabbed her staff and made sure Estel was secure on her back. "Make sure your weapons are loaded, just to be safe. Trooper Belenus, can you call your commander and tell him what is going on?"

"Of course, Leto." He got out his own 'Linker. Leto waited as the others armed themselves and till Belenus was finished. He stuffed the 'Linker back in his pocket. "Warrior Bran's got the message and is on stand-by in case anything happens."

"Good, good, thank you. All right, let us move on."

***

K'anlos snarled vicious curses as he stomped around the small clear area he'd created on the borders of the swamp. A spongie huddled in abject fear some ways away, in no way improving his mood.

"Of all the accursed spots on this accursed, backwater, undeveloped pool of genetic material of a world, I am damned to this one!" He swatted at the many mosquitoes that plagued the area, no matter how many wards or shields he put up.

The Lyran 5th Circle mage eyed the large stone that he was supposed to be working with. The runes he'd etched on his surface were not performing to his specifications, and he'd have to redo them soon, if not replace them entirely. He snarled again. "Damn this world and its pathetic inhabitants!"

If this stone were working properly, he'd have a very nice source for spongification. A 'request' to do so had come from one of his superiors, much to his dismay when he was still on Lyra. It was an optimum magical site, though, old but still fairly powerful. He just wished it wasn't in such a damned uncomfortable spot and wasn't on Earth.

K'anlos grabbed the spongie, who whimpered and wept as he dragged it to the stone and threw it on top. "Stay there!" The spongie curled up in a little ball and began to wail. K'anlos rolled his eyes, brought out a ceremonial dagger, and proceeded to redo the runes…with the sponge minion's blood, of course.

***

They were so close to the source, Leto could almost see the magic swirling around. She held up a hand, and then proceeded to creep forward, crouching as she did so. The others followed, and then she stopped.

"Wait a minute. Let me…" she pushed aside some bushes just as a terrified cry echoed throughout the forest.

"Son of a bitch!!!" Her curse was loud and damning.

***

K'anlos could sense the Jihaddi approaching even before he was finished with the spongie. He sighed, shook his head, and put down the dagger, callously leaving the spongie to bleed to death on the massive stone.

"Well, I'm afraid I've been interrupted. At least I will have stronger blood to work with this time." He chuckled evilly and turned around, raising a hand as dark magics began to swirl around it. "Jihaddi! I know you are there! Step forward and your deaths will be swift!"

***

"Leto! Ward lines! The place is guarded!" Joy called frantically from the back. The hairs on the backs on their necks rose as the heard a voice call from beyond the bush.

"Lyran…" Kiley whispered, his throat going dry. "Oh no."

"Kida! Duck!" Everyone hit the ground as the surrounding bush was blasted away, charred bits of leaf and bark falling down. Leto now had a clear view of their opponent.

Music: A Journey in the Dark, FOTR Soundtrack, by Howard Shore
The mage stood, his face hidden by a wooden mask, his dark red robes swirling around him. Leto knew about Lyrans, had read about them, and knew how incredibly dangerous they were. Everyone seemed frozen for a moment, and then they jumped up. Leto was in front, and tried to block the Lyran's view of the others with her own body. She felt guilty, incredibly guilty, that she'd led them so far, on her own advice, to face almost certain death. And by the looks of it, this was no minor mage, a 5th circle at least.

"Well, well, well, a bunch of Jihaddi who've managed to bumble their way here. At least I'll be able to have some fun tonight."

Leto faced him and thought rapidly, before he could conjure another spell. "You will not have any fun here, Lyran." She growled and drew her sword.

"Leto, what are you doing?! Are you nuts, you can't face him!"

"Run." She shot back at Joy. "Run like hell. Go!"

"But…"

"DAMMIT, WHEN I GIVE AN ORDER YOU BETTER FOLLOW IT!! NOW RUN!!!" she roared back. "HIT THE FUCKING BUTTON AND GET OUT OF HERE!!!" The others gasped, then turned and fled, pressing their 'emergency recall' panic buttons on their 'Linkers. The two Troopers hesitated briefly, then disappeared in the forest as well.

Leto was still facing the Lyran, balancing on the balls of her feet. Just as she finished speaking, the Lyran let loose another blast of magical energy. She stood her ground, Estel raised in front of her. At the very last moment, she dodged, leaping to the side. The blast scorched her back and she hopped back, cursing, growing angrier by the minute at the Lyran.

"I am not afraid of you, Lyran. If you think you can scare me with death, you are very wrong." Leto grated out, then muttered her own spell and lobbed it at him. She then dodged again, hearing the Lyran's laughter as he easily batted her energy ball aside.

"Ah, Jihaddi. Never can tell the difference between bravery and stupidity with them." K'anlos looked at the bushes where the young Jihaddi woman had disappeared. He began another spell, while Leto was concocting her own. "Mostly stupidity. How the human race has survived so long, I'll never know."

"Like this, asshole!" Leto jumped and threw out another spell before the Lyran could finish his. He cursed, as he had to raise a shield and block it. The repercussion was swift, and Leto felt herself flying through the air, thumping into a tree trunk with a groan. She winced as she felt her ribs. More than one was bruised, if not broken. But she had to keep moving, keep the Lyran distracted long enough for her friends to get away and word to be sent to the DE outpost. She grabbed her chest and crawled away, just avoiding another blast, this one of fire.

***

K'anlos was getting frustrated. The lone Jihaddi was dodging and staying alive far longer than was necessary. This time she jumped up from behind and tossed, of all things, a rock. "What the…arg!"

***

Leto had quickly enchanted the rock, which then became red-hot and exploded when it made contact with the Lyran's back. She stuck out her tongue and hopped away, but again, not quite quickly enough. This time, she landed flat on her face, groaning, certain that her arm was broken. The pain in her chest increased, and she was sure that at least one rib was definitely cracked. Before she could get up, however, the Lyran was overtop of her, grabbing her by the hair and dragging her up. She cried out in pain.

"Stupid human child! You dare attack ME? I will destroy your friends and then obliterate there souls, as soon as I finish with you!" His other hand grabbed her broken arm, and she cried out again as a waves of magical energy scorched her body. In frantic pain, she grabbed the purple stone necklace Pupp had given her.

The pain disappeared.

Leto was on her knees in front of the Lyran, with him bent over her, and as her hand clasped the stone, her eyes went dark with hatred. The same blinding fury she'd felt on that day in the Park overreached her now. Her lips curled up in a snarl, and she grabbed Estel from where she dropped it.

"My soul, and my friend's, do not belong to you. You cannot touch them, they are safe now." She said quietly.

K'anlos sneered, so intent on killing Leto that he didn't notice the sword in her hand. "And you think your little sacrifice will save them?"

"Yes." Estel came up and stabbed. The Lyran suddenly broke contact, howling, blood pouring from a wound in his shoulder. Leto clambered away on her hands and knees, Estel still in hand, she turned, still crouching, and then disappeared into the bush before the Lyran could notice her. She noted that although the stone had allowed her to block the pain, to focus for a moment, the damage was still present, and she didn't stop to think about what the magic had done to her. She sheathed Estel, rage giving her extra strength, and shifted. "Now I will hunt…"

***

K'anlos held his shoulder in a combination of hatred and disbelief. He looked at the wound that the curved black blade had made. He hissed with rage and pain, his eyes glowing behind the mask.

"I will torture you till you beg for death, little witch! You will curse the day you were ever born! I…" he paused for a moment. The girl had disappeared. He looked around him, seeing nothing and not sensing her at all. "You think you can hide?"

***

Leto watched from above, trying not to breathe too heavily. Her ribs hurt like hell and she was bleeding from numerous nicks and scratches. And whatever the Lyran had done to her earlier, but the pain was barely registering on her senses. There was just one though- Kill. She knew she wasn't going to come out of this alive, but she was damned if she wasn't going to take the Lyran out with her. Her more rational thought processes seem to fade out as she gathered her muscles and prepared to leap.

***

"No." The Lyran looked up just as a massive black cat came leaping down on him, it's eyes gleaming with hunger and fury. He managed one, strangled grunt as it fell, bring them both down in a confused pile. The cat immediately began biting and kicking, slashing at the figure beneath, opening more than one wound.

K'anlos screamed in fear, pain, and rage once more, and managed to scramble away. The cat licked it's lips and prepared to pounce again. He noted how it was favouring it's forepaw, and his eyes narrowed.

"Ah…so the witch is a shapeshifter?" He raised his hands and spoke a word, and before Leto could leap at him, magical vines erupted from the ground, enveloping her. She began to scream, more anger than pain, as the vines ripped and stabbed at her with long thorns and magical energy, and for good measure, picked her up and slammed her down. The Lyran cackled hoarsely, hunched over as his own wounds began to overtake him. "Hah, try to escape from that!" He chuckled, then began a healing spell on the deep slashes and cuts Leto had inflicted on him.

"I…will…get you!" Leto strained as hard as she could against the magic vines. They only tightened. She struggled more, harder, drawing on her last reserves of magic. In a last, desperate chance, she gathered what energy she had left and shifted back to human form. The vines collapsed, as there was no longer a large body for them to encompass. Leto dragged herself out of the patch of magic vines, pulling herself upwards enough to draw Estel again. She somehow managed to get herself upright, using the kopis sword as a prop.

***

K'anlos looked up just as he was starting the healing spell. The human girl was free! He looked in disbelief at her. She was covered head to foot with blood from innumerable wounds, she was favouring her left arm, and no doubt she had internal injuries by now.

He certainly didn't expect her to move so fast.

Leto gritted her teeth against the pain as she drove Estel right into the Lyran's torso. She looked right into his eyes. "Don't…you…ever…fuck…with me…again!" The Lyran tried to speak, tried to form a spell, but only a trickle of blood formed at the corner of his mouth. Leto jerked the sword and he gasped. She then recalled something she'd heard in training. About the mask.

With a cruel smile, Leto grabbed the edge of mask and jerked as hard as she could. The Lyran gave a final, horrified groan as his face was exposed. She glared down at him as he slowly fell over, sliding off her sword and dead, his mask still half attached and twitching.

With the Lyran dead, all of Leto's rage left her, her adrenalin gone. The pain came back with a vengeance, and she sunk to her knees, gasping. She could feel herself dying, her lifeblood draining. She managed to pull herself closer to the Lyran's body, and then drew out her 'Linker, somehow relatively undamaged.

Blackness began to creep in on the edges of her vision as Leto pushed the button, then grabbed hold of the Lyran's body.

Then she was flying.
_________________
Mors Principium Est
Remember... PILLAGE before you BURN!
“Usually I ask only two questions- what are we dealing with and how do I kill it."
Everything I know I learned from killing smart people and eating their brains Wink


Last edited by Elena, aka Leto Bucher on Sat Apr 16, 2005 3:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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Elena, aka Leto Bucher
Jihaddi


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Waldemar, ON

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 6:26 pm    Post subject: well, they *say* it's okay :) Reply with quote

Chapter 5: A Choice Must be Made
Music: Hard Time Killing Floor Blues, O Brother Where Art Thou?, by Chris King

Leto awoke slowly, feeling a cool, smooth surface beneath her cheek. She blinked and groaned, closing her eyes. She was dead, and she was…somewhere else.

"Hey…hey you, get up." Something hard nudged her. Leto groaned again. "C'mon, kid, don't bullshit me. I know you're awake." This time the nudge was harder. Leto snarled and rolled over, opening her eyes.

"Who the hell are you?"

"Call me Feral Jackson." The person standing over her was a teenager, a young-looking guy with a cocky smirk. He seemed to have a preference for black leather. He was also an albino with spiky black hair. "You need a hand up, kid?"

"I can manage it, thank you." Leto snapped. She braced her hands and shoved herself up, then looked around. "Tala…wait, where is my sword?! Where is Estel?"

"Haven't you ever heard you can't take it with you?" Jackson chuckled. "Listen, kid, stick with me a bit and I'll see if I can help ya out."

"I can help myself out." Leto looked at him suspiciously. "And I am not a 'kid'."

"Sure you aren't. You just got your ass handed to you by a Lyran." Jackson's lips seemed to curl even more.

"Kida! But he is dead too, so there!" Leto growled. Jackson laughed.

"Hell yeah! Despite the fact you ended up here, that wasn't too bad for a newbie. I like to see work like that." Jackson grinned again. "Listen, kid, come with me and we can talk about this whole thing, maybe work something out."

"My name is Leto, not 'kid'!" she gritted her teeth. Feral raised an eyebrow.

"That's pretty tough talk for a human, even if you got a few tricks up your sleeve." He smirked. "Just remember this when you finally realize who you're talking to."

"Yes, whatever, Jackson." She grumbled, then looked around. They were standing in what appeared to be a low, stone cottage. The windows were clear, but there didn't seem to be anything beyond them but mist, and the wooden door was shut. Feral cocked his head.

"Listen, I don't know how your Ancestors work, but they're probably gonna come a'callin' in a bit, so if you want to know more, we'd better leave now. Death is bad enough to deal with, but the Ancestor Spirits are damn irritating." Leto hesitated. "Kid, this is a one-time offer."

"All right…wait, what happened to my wounds?"

Feral shrugged. "Hey, you want to walk around like that, that's your deal." Leto gulped. Feral grinned again and opened the door. "Right through here, and then we'll find someplace to talk." Leto peered through. There were nothing but swirling mists. She looked at Feral. She didn't know who or what he was, at best guess some kind of weird 'guiding spirit' her mind cooked up to get her through the Other World. The albino look was not something she'd ever thought of, and she began combing through her head for any hint of recognition. Keeping her thoughts to herself, Leto gathered herself up and stepped through the door.

"Whoosh!"

Music: Akta, The 5th Element Soundtrack, by Eric Serra
The world seemed to flicker and shift, briefly, and by the time Leto reoriented herself, they were standing on a wide, flat white plain, blue mountains in the distance. It was bright, really bright, the sky a vibrant blue, and Leto had to squint and shield her eyes. There were tents, lots and lots of tents, scattered all over the white plain, most of them dark, in a variety of styles and from a variety of periods. She saw tipis, yurts, Arab tents, everything. She followed Feral in a half-daze, staring around as they descended into the tent city.

There were lots of people, most of them dark-skinned. She saw Native Americans like herself, Aboriginals, Mongolians, Arabs, pretty much any kind of nomadic people. They all walked around, shouting, laughing, talking, and there were bazaars set up here and there, fountains in some spots, brightly coloured clothing and flags here and there.

"Wow. It is, it is so…normal. So much like home."

"Yeah, it's one of the better places. You can find the best ka-bobs here, believe me." Feral chuckled and led the way through Tent City. Leto kept her eyes wide and staring. "Oi, punk-child! Right here."

She started. Feral was holding open a flap to a large, black felt tent. Smoke curled out from the darkness within. "In there? What is it, the Hotbox Room of the Afterlife?"

"No, it's called the Piperoom. You comin'?" Feral shook his head. "Sneck, noobs are such a pain."

"Yeah, whatever." Leto ducked her head and stepped through the opening, then paused and looked back. Feral was still standing there, an admiring look on his face as he looked at her. "What?"

"Nothing, kiddo. Just admiring the scenery." He smirked again as Leto's puzzled expression slowly turned to outrage.

"Why you…!"

"Ah, lighten up. Get in there." He chuckled as Leto's face underwent a series of contortions, each one a different level of 'I'm really trying to control my temper but don't hold your breath'. She finally hissed at him and ducked all the way in the tent.

Inside, firelight flickered from a multitude of torches hanging from tent posts. Men, and women, sat in dark corners, puffing on hoofahs and sipping from tiny cups. A trio of musicians played some strange stringed instruments in another corner, filling the smoky tent with a light, twangy music. Leto straightened, the top of her head just brushing the ceiling of the tent. She looked around and wrinkled, the heavy scent of incense, tobacco, and other things assaulting her senses. Feral ducked in behind her and poked her in the back. She flinched and snarled at him.

"Yeah, yeah, you're all talk. Over here." He sauntered in the direction of a veiled off section off the tent. Leto followed, already feeling a little, well, a LOT irritated with him. She was still trying to guess who he was, and had a feeling…she categorized 'albino' and searched her brain harder. Suddenly, there were a startling series of connections.

A- Feral
B- Albino
C- Maenad
D- Oh, fuck

Leto tried not to stare as she sat down on a pile of cushions opposite Feral. He looked at her over the hoofah, but before he could open his mouth, she blurted out, "You're the Holy Albino. Dammit! What in the…" she gulped and toned down her language, "…What is going on?"

"Good question. Normally I don't have anything to do with idiot noobs who get their asses in deeper than they can handle. Or any noobs, for that matter." He grinned nastily. "Took long enough for you to figure me out, though."

"As you say, I am just a 'noob'." Leto replied sarcasticly. "Nevermind that I have much experience from before my days with the Jihad."

"Yeah well, kid, you spend a few more years floating around and then we'll see who has more experience here." Feral settled back. "So, do you want to hear my offer or not? You're pretty fuckin' lucky to even be here, by the way. If you've figured out who I am, you probably got an idea of what's gonna happen."

Leto bristled. Despite what'd she'd heard about the Holy Albino, deity-type, Maenad figure, etc, she found him to be more than a little annoying and arrogant as hell. But he was powerful, at least, and that meant she had to polite.

Somewhat. Dammit.

"How am I lucky to be here?" She asked, very nicely.

"Listen, and listen good. I don't do this for just anybody, not even Brass. You better be pretty damn appreciative that I hauled your sneckin' ass out of the fire there."

"Sorry. I am appreciative that you have saved my *life*." Leto bowed her head, and Feral seemed appeased.

"So. Here's how it goes; you wanna go back?" He grinned at her.

"I guess."

"You guess? Gee, that's not an answer I hear everyday. Yes or no, kid."

"Yes!" she snarled. Feral nodded and smirked again.

"That's what I like to see, a little rage. Always helps when you want to chew on those sneckin' Lyrans. All right then, I can pull that off. Not like it's hard or anything." Feral grinned and leaned forward, but Leto spoke first.

"At what price? I have heard of you, of the Maenads. I know what they do. Is that why you summoned me?"

"Inquisitive, aren't ya? Yeah, that has something to do with it." His sarcasm was acidic. "It was a stupid move, but you've got guts, and you actually managed to get the snecker. And damn if you don't hate 'em pretty good too. The price?" he leaned back. "You work for me."

"As a Maenad."

"Not bad, huh? But with some details. The Lyrans will want to kill you. Badly."

"You offer me my life, and in return, I have to work for you?" Leto spoke very quietly.

"Yeah, that's how it goes. And when you accept, that's it, no ifs, ands, or buts. You can't go back on the deal." Feral seemed very sure of himself, and Leto's hands gripped a cushion so hard, the knuckles were turning white. She grit her teeth and ground out, at the very limits of her patience,

"So tell me, then, if the Maenad's job is to kill the Enemy, what the FUCK do I need you for?!" her temper finally snapped, and she snarled at the punk-deity sitting across from her. "I can kill the Enemy just fine on my own!! Who the FUCK ARE YOU to say such things?! You dangle my life before me like a carrot on a stick and expect to have me agree!?! FUCK OFF and leave me to my dying!! I refuse your 'offer'!!!"

Feral's face registered shock. The arrogance was wiped right off. He blinked a couple of times, then spoke. "Did you just *refuse*?"

"Are you deaf??!!" Leto jumped up, extremely pissed. The Feral looked up, seeming oddly calm.

"You woudn't dare, babe."

"Just…bloody…try…me." She grated.

"Fine then. You wanna go back and die, that's just fine with me." He jumped up and snarled. "But don't you ever pull that shit off with me again!" He snapped his fingers, and suddenly Leto felt a searing pain as her soul was jerked away. Feral wore another cocky grin as she was yanked into the Void. She gasped, feeling all her old wounds come back, feeling the disconnection with her own body, and then she was rushing into something, hearing the Ancestor Spirits call her name.

And just as suddenly, she was yanked back.

Leto had a brief vision of Feral Jackson, an expression of mild surprise on his face as she was dragged somewhere else. She gave him a salute, grinning evilly, as she 'flew' past.

The grin was wiped off her face as she felt her soul being jolted back into it's body, and strangely enough, she was still holding on to the Lyran's body. She was in-Between places, but it was a familiar feeling, that of…

"Oh, you got to be joking. There is no *way* the emergency recall can work *that* well. I thought Mal was joking when he said…" the thought was cut off as a fresh wave of pain flowed through her body. Her body was in exactly the same condition as when she'd left it, and the people on the other side of the Gate were given a shock when she finally staggered through. She took two steps, the Lyran's body dropping and rolling a few feet down the ramp, looked around, and then her eyes rolled back and she fell to the floor.
_________________
Mors Principium Est
Remember... PILLAGE before you BURN!
“Usually I ask only two questions- what are we dealing with and how do I kill it."
Everything I know I learned from killing smart people and eating their brains Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: Storage Reply with quote

Where can i keep something like that? :X
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Elena, aka Leto Bucher
Jihaddi


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Waldemar, ON

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:16 am    Post subject: The Next Chapter...Finally Reply with quote

Well, it's been quite a few months.
The main reason for the delay is that I wrote a chunk of a scene with Pupp, and while this bit comes before that, we haven't been able to finish it. Anyways, I thought that it's a bit too much of a cliffhanger to leave it hanging there for this long, so here's a bit more. Note, subject to revision Wink

Chapter 6: Return, Reactions

Katze, Aris, Leto's team, and a group of various techies and medics all waited before the Gate. The team had arrived not 15 minutes before, frightened and saying that they'd come across a Lyran. And then they'd had to explain why Leto wasn't there as well. Katze and Aris had arrived soon after. The general reaction was 'She did what?!' followed by a deep groan and worried muttering. Now they waited, tense and worried.

The Gate finally flickered and flashed, and Leto staggered out. A gasp went up from the entire group, and someone blurted out, "WTF?? She's *alive*?"

Just barely, it seemed. She was covered in blood, deep scratches and wounds all over, her clothing ripped to shreds. Her hair was a mess, full of bits of bark, leaves and mud, and she was favouring her left arm. The right held what looked like a large bundle of red cloth. Her eyes stared vacantly forward, and she dropped whatever it was in her right hand. It flopped and rolled down the ramp from the Gate.

It was a body.

Leto took a couple of steps forward, and then crumpled. There was a controlled flurry of activity from the medics as they moved forward, carrying a stretcher, bending over her and checking her pulse. They completely ignored the body lying below. Dr. Murray cursed as she bent over Leto's lips, noting that they were moving, and caught the last faint words.

"That...fucking...feral..." The last word was garbled and Murray couldn't make sense of it. She checked the pulse again. It was fading.

"Okay, people, let's hurry!"

Katze and the others watched as the medics loaded Leto's limp form on the stretcher and raced out. She bit her lip as one ran by. "What are her chances?"

"Not good, ma'am." the medic called out and kept moving. Katze shook her head, worry etched on her face.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid. What made you think you could pull something like that off?" She muttered after the group left. She turned back at the sudden commotion behind her.

Someone else noticed the body lying on the ramp, looked closer, and saw the dark red robes and grey skin.

"Lyran!"

There was dead silence for a moment, and then chaos erupted. People began shouting, running, and there was a sense of panic in the room. Katze watched in disbelief, then stood up on a chair and yelled at the top of her voice...


"BE QUIET!!!" Everyone froze, and Katze got off the chair. A wide circle had formed around the base of the Gate, where the Lyran's body was lying. From where she was, all it looked like was a pile of red cloth.

Katze approached the body, blade out, Aris close behind her. Everyone held their breath as she got close to the Lyran. Laying the blade by the Lyran's neck, she kicked it over.

There was a deep sigh of relief from all assembled as Katze withdrew her blade. She looked over at Aris. "It's dead. No doubts there." Katze pointed at the Lyran's face. The mask was hanging on by a thread, the face mostly exposed. "I don't think any Lyran would be caught without their mask, even if they were playing possum." She grimaced. "All right, get this mess cleaned up and the body out of here. We'll get JPV to come claim it. They'll want to have a look this thing." She paused. "I'll call Pupp, he'll probably want to know what happened."

"What happened?" They turned as Mal came strolling up. "I heard about some kind of ruckus down here."

"Well, Leto came back. Alive."

"Oh?" Mal raised an eyebrow, then looked at the Lyran's body lying on the floor. "And?" Katze coughed.

"She brought that back with her. Which explains why she's been so badly hurt."

Mal approached the body lying on the floor. He nudged it. "Huh. A dead Lyran. Not something you see everyday." He shrugged. "You sending it over to JPV?"

"Yes, I'm going to call Pupp now."

"Good idea. He'll probably want to know about it." Sticking his hands in his pockets, Mal strolled off again. The assembled grunts and techies stared at each other. Not a blink from the Old Man at finding a dead Lyran.

Now the problem was finding volunteers to help clean up the thing.

***

Puppeteer was lying on a couch, and he was sleeping. A TV flickered on the far wall. A bowl of popcorn lay on the floor, and his arm sagged next to it.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!

The loud, piercing wail echoed throughout the room and he shot up, bleary eyed and shouting. "WHAT THE…oh. Damn. Phone." He got up off the couch and dragged himself to the vid-phone. A familiar face was on-screen.

"Hey, Pupp."

"Katze, errf, wha…"

Her face was serious. "Listen, we've got a bit of a situation down here."

"Yeah?"

"It's about Leto...she was out on an assignment, and she and her team stumbled across a Lyran. The team's returned, but she came back later. She's hurt pretty bad." Pupp blinked a couple of times and rubbed his face.

"Lyran…you're joking, right?"

"I wish I was. The team says Leto told them to run, and they think she might have stayed to keep it busy." Katze's mouth tightened. "She...brought it back."

Pupp's mouth dropped as the impact of the information sunk in. "Arg. What? She...what? Lyran. Fuck!"

"Pupp? Are you there?" For some reason, he was no longer on screen. After a moment, there was a long and colourful series of words. When Pupp finally came back up, Katze broke in.

"Listen, you better come over here. She's...well, they're not sure if she's going to make it. We can talk later."

"Yeah...yeah, of course. Damn!" he scowled. "How could she be so stupid!"

Katze's face sagged a little. "I know. Listen, I'll tell the Operator to open a gate for you. You'll get off in..."

"Great, just great. I hate that thing." He grumbled and swore some more. Katze sighed.

"I'll see you later."

"Sure, see you." He scoweled at the screen as it flickered off. "Dammit!" He grabbed his Pointy Hat as he stomped out of the room.

***

Katze was waiting for Puppeteer as he fell through the VIP disembarkment Gate, clutching his hat. "Hey."

"Where is she?" he demanded almost immediately. Katze sighed.

"They've just finished up with her in the operating room now. Dr. Murray says that she's survived, so far, but she's still in serious…Pupp, stop! Where are you going?" He was already striding from the atrium, heading towards the medical bay. Katze was hard-pressed to keep up. "Listen, Pupp, you can't just walk in there! Leto is stable, but she's still in critical condition. There's no way Murray is going to let you..." Her words trailed off as Pupp walked faster, outdistancing her.

***

Pupp burst through the doors of the medical wing and stomped to the nurse's station. "I'm looking for Leto Bucher. Where is she?"

The matronly woman behind the counter looked up at the very large, very pissed off man wearing a wizard's pointy hat. She huffed and set her shoulders. "Miss Bucher has just gotten off the operating table, sir, and is no condition to receive visitors. I'm sorry, you'll...have...to..." She stopped speaking and gulped as Pupp put his hands on the counter and leaned down to face her, narrowing his eyes.

"Do you see the Pointy Hat? Do you know what that means? I hope you do, because at this point I'm in the mood for some serious froggage. Now, one of *my* mages is seriously injured and I'd like to know where the hell she is."

The nurse looked down at a sheet of paper. "Well...I suppose I could..."

"Where?" he asked through gritted teeth. The nurse spoke quickly.

"Room 315, sir. But...wait! You can't go in there!" The nurse began to chase after him as he took off down another hallway. She quickly motioned for two orderlies to follow. "Sir! You can't!" Pupp ignored her and kept moving, growling and muttering dire threats underneath his breath. He finally stopped in front of Room 315, which had large, glass windows that were covered with blinds, paused, and literally kicked open the door. The nurse and two orderlies were right behind him, the nurse scolding as loudly as she dared.

"What do you think you're doing?! You can't just barge in here like this! Don't you realize she's..." Pupp barrelled into the room, noting the two doctors bent over, one on each side, of Leto's bed. He ignored the outraged nurse.

"Okay, Bucher, you've got one hell of an explanation to give!" He yelled at Leto, he was so mad at her for being so irresponsible and foolish. The two doctors straightened and turned around, and he was able to get a good look at the young woman lying on the bed.

The nurse finally finished her sentence. "...She's in a coma."

***

...Leto had tubes leading into her nose to help her breathe, an IV line hooked up to her arm. Her eyes were closed and she looked pale and wan underneath her dusky skin. Her left arm was in a cast, there was a large band of gauze wrapped around her head, and there was more gauze wrapped around her arms, legs, and undoubtly her torso was wrapped underneath the hospital gown. The heart monitor beeped softly and slowly, and her chest hardly appeared to be moving. Pupp ignored the angry glares of the two doctors and flexed his fingers. His face twitched as he noticed how badly wounded and helpless Leto really was.

"Son of A BITCH!!" Everyone flinched as there was a crash of broken glass. Pupp lashed out and knocked a glass container of alcohol off a tray.

***

So, that's it. Apologies to various writers if my depiction of their char's is teh suck. Critique welcome, please Smile
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Mors Principium Est
Remember... PILLAGE before you BURN!
“Usually I ask only two questions- what are we dealing with and how do I kill it."
Everything I know I learned from killing smart people and eating their brains Wink
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Elena, aka Leto Bucher
Jihaddi


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Waldemar, ON

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 1:45 am    Post subject: To continue Reply with quote

So, progress on this story has actually been made, and there might well be a conculsion soon. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I've just recently gotten a job, right when I was planning on wrapping this monster up, of course. As of now, I'm not really sure when it'll all be done, because work is (obviously) eating up a lot of time and I'm usually pretty tired afterwards. Aside from finishing, there's editing and such...and now I'm just rambling on. Anyways, I'll try to make an effort to get stuff done, really. Wink
_________________
Mors Principium Est
Remember... PILLAGE before you BURN!
“Usually I ask only two questions- what are we dealing with and how do I kill it."
Everything I know I learned from killing smart people and eating their brains Wink
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View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
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