Project: AKRA pt 10

Raist took a prone position in the clearing Ziko had cut through the forest with his CSW, while the two close range fighters fought back-to-back against the horde, standing right above Raist.

He was taking careful burst shots, squeezing a few rounds, gauging whether the creature needed more rounds to die, then either delivering, or moving on to a new target.  The counter on the side of the rifle shot down rapidly.

He squeezed the final 30 into some creature hopping between the trees and as he rolled to his side to put a new magazine of 1,000 in.  The magazine was in, and his hand was going to the ‘accept’ toggle when he saw a huge bird diving out of the sky right at their group.

“Up…!” he started, but it was too slow.  Its mouth peeled open to reveal a tri-maw opening ready to consume one of them.  The creature was closing on them when its large neck was separated from its body, liquid exploding out the backside as its head crashed to the ground not far from them, its body gliding into another dead creature.

“What?”

Raist toggled the rifle back on, and saw a line of white tracers clearing the sides of part of the trees.  He knew that weapon anywhere: it was Leio’s Sweep Rifle, but she was aiming horizontally.  What killed the bird?

“It’s Agrest and Leio!” Philira shouted, another of her clips dumping out of her Plaz-Shot and hitting Raist in the head as she reloaded with robotic speed.

He didn’t need to tell the two he was with to not hit them, and he hoped the other two knew they were here.

Beasts continued advancing on them until all of them mysteriously stopped, turning and running as fast as they could.  Death had not scared them before, so it was definitely something different.

“Phi?”  Raist asked.

“Something’s coming…top of the trees.”

The strange silence had returned to the forest, though a few wounded screams still pierced the night.  Raist hated killing animals, and hearing their moans as they were sawed apart by the grass hurt his soul.

“Drone!”  Philira shouted, grabbing Ziko and diving to the shot-up ground.  Above them a large floating disk hovered over the scene of their battle.

“Shoot it!  Shoot it!” she yelled.

Raist was the only one of the three with the longer-range weapon and brought it to bear, and though he was giving it rapid bursts of ten sonic rounds that were undoubtedly flying straight through its hull, its size would not easily be brought down.  The two he was with were each rapidly reaching for their longer-range weapons as a firing arm extended above the disk.

A loud whoosh reached them long after the rocket did, rending the ground apart as they were flung through the air.  Raist crashed into one of the trees between two of the razor edges and escaped serious damage.  He switched his weapon to packet mode, morphing the small rounds into larger slugs designed to pierce before blowing apart inside their target.

He aimed at the disk that was readying another rocket and started shooting, catching the white tracers of the Sweep Rifle also on target of the drone.  The thin, fast spray of the Sweep rounds, and Raist’s exploding slugs were pounding away at the machine.  It tilted to one side for a moment, but righted itself.  Raist was sure it was going to fire again until its core exploded and it crashed somewhere into the trees above them.

He was breathing hard, his mind in combat mode, looking around everywhere for the next thing to kill, and with nothing moving for a long time he gradually began to come off his combat high.

Something was hurting his core and looking down, he saw a mat of the spiky grass imbedded into his chest after being propelled by the rocket.  He pulled each out; feeling the distant pain of sucking out the semi-vacuum each projectile had created in his body.

He pushed himself out of the slight cove of his tree and staggered to the clearing.  “Who is alive?”

“We are, but Ziko is hurt,” Philira’s voice had an edge he never heard before in it.

Raist ran over and saw Ziko slumped next to a tree almost exactly like where Raist had been blasted.  The difference was he was moved slightly to one side, right into its sharp edge.

“Zi…ko?” Raist asked nervously.

“Yo, I’m alive, but shit…these plants are even worse than the creatures.”

Ziko’s words made it seem like he was okay, but Raist realized Ziko’s left arm had been cut cleanly off right by the shoulder.  His nanites and suit sealed what was left of the arm to prevent any bleed off; it actually looked like he had a stub arm his entire life with how clean it was.  The fact he could talk clearly was a result of their advanced training, and very tailored drugs to block pain and maintain combat efficiency.

“Your ar—” Philira started, Raist grabbed her and shook his head no.

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Project: AKRA pt 3

This is a new story I am serializing right now, it is about a group of super elite soldiers sent in to recover ‘AKRA’ from a very hostile planet.  The team is getting ready right now.

 

“I told you guys everything that was said to me,” Raist answered.  “This has the feel of something way beyond what we normally take on.  Most of the time things turn out to only have minor consequences, but just the way the courier was talking, and the price it paid for equipment had the feeling that this was very serious.” Raist opened his eyes and looked right at Ziko then Agrest, hoping to calm his old friend’s worries.  He felt kind of bad leaving out some of the things, like that he was sure the courier was actually a girl, maybe a Scout given the hair color.

“What the hell is an AKRA anyway?”  Ziko stood up, turning in synch with the computerized commands of the machine to change its neutralization pattern.

“Has to be either a robot or comp unit,” Leio guessed as she pulled her arms down and ran her hands through her bright orange hair, shaking it gracefully as it waved down her shoulders.  “‘Data recovery?’ Come on, what else could it be?”

“I’m with you, but those were my words I had said to it,” Raist making sure that distinction was there.  “It was never explicitly stated other than when it said ‘data processing unit’.  The only thing we know for sure is that it has a recovery chip implanted in its system that we will be able to track it down with.”  He pointed over to where his clothes were, and a handheld scanner configured to the tracking chip slowly pulsed, showing that AKRA lay down on the hostile planet below.

Ziko’s question repeated itself in Raist’s mind: what was AKRA, and why was this feeling only getting worse?

***

“I recommend Level-2 survival supplies,” Raist spoke to the four silver-suited figures in front of him.  They were near deployment, grabbing the last of their gear in the armory before their descent.  The suits they had equipped were capable of a high tech camouflage as well as defensive in terms of ballistic attack.  Further, they carried extra medical nanites to synch with each soldier to provide advanced healing and drugs during combat.

“Studying the terrain, I would recommend at least three,” Agrest suggested.

“Go with at least one extra med pack as well,” Leio added.

Raist nodded, deferring to their specialties and around them everyone made necessary changes.

Once their suits were activated, the near-invisibility they provided would blend them in completely to their environment.  Each of them tested their nano-camouflage in turn, rendering each of their various differences in appearance such as the boldness of the two women’s natural hair colors, Agrest’s taller frame, and Ziko’s muscular body all unobservable.  There was only a vague shimmer of light where they were standing.

The technology involved a complex set of data transmission of accurately replicating the light pattern of objects behind the person. By projecting them on the multi-layer crystalline suit in the front, it created something as near invisibility as was visually possible.  It was a perfect invisibility as it used what was behind to person to relay to the front, making it applicable in any environment or any angle

“Expecting this mission will be a siege, or an extraction?”  Agrest asked, but he had already loaded many supplies; he knew how often the role of the Sniper meant he would be in hostile territory far longer than anyone expected.

If anyone was watching the room, they would be disturbed by the supplies and weapons floating in air like ghosts before they disappeared as they were pocketed or filed away in a cloaked backpack.

“We are running it as an extraction, but the terrain is extremely hostile, as I hope you guys had studied.  I am not over estimating this at all.”  Raist’s second statement was unnecessary to his crew. They all knew him well: he was not the type to exaggerate danger, at least before they went into it.  That fact actually put a bit of caution into their minds.

“The combat drones we have sent have been shot down at about halfway to planet-side,” Leio said, decloaking as she pulled up a holo of their target and the visualization of the effective kill zone around it.  Her tight combat suit left her still looking very attractive, perhaps more so with the way it hung tight to her legs and butt.  “Their air defenses are extremely solid, and even our low flying drones were killed when they approached horizontally.”

“From what I have seen, the forest looks extremely dense,” said Philira.  The voice came from a barely-visible ghost holding a Plaz-Shot Scattergun.  Only her tone was any clue as to whom had said the statement.  “I see why you chose this path.  Even if they knew we were in there, there would be no way to locate us for termination.”  ‘Termination’…only a Scout would so distantly comment on their likely death that way.

Project: AKRA pt2

Part 2 of the story, make sure you check it out, its going to be big!

The five members of the squad were sitting on the bench in the sterilization room of their ship, naked while a battery of electromagnetic waves, chemicals, and machines poured over their toned bodies.  Since the nanites within their systems protected them from any likely xeno-disease of the planet, this was for the exact opposite reason: so their own bacteria would not wipe out the entire planet’s ecosystem.  That kind of xenocide tended to be bad for business.

“What the hell!?  We are taking another recovery mission without getting any of the details?” Ziko’s fist slammed into the bulkhead.

“Do you want to bitch your whole life?”  Raist pointedly asked him.

“Come on Raist, we need to start getting way more info before we get into these things!”

“Leave him alone Ziko, it’s not like you are smart enough to ever care about details anyway,” Leio’s voice stated calmly as she lay back against the wall of the room, arching her back with her hands locked behind her head.  Her perfect breasts and thinner, toned waist would distract even the hardiest of males, but it was only a matter of course: she was Aelisha Genetically Engineered that way.

“How nice,” he replied as he gave her a sideways glance. “Your girl is playing secretary for you as well.  What do I have to do to talk to the man in charge?  Kill her?” he joked.

“She could kick your ass.  If you can make it past her then you can talk to me,” Raist responded quickly, his brain coming up with a retort more out of habit than anything.

“Jeez, team effort here.”  He wore a huge smile, closing his eyes and flexing his huge arms he had behind his own head.  “Sorry for trying to show caution when our Leader is failing to do so.”

Leio giggled for a bit, opening her eyes and winking at Ziko while giving him a slight smile.

“So she is your battle-secretary?  Damn that sounds hot,” Agrest, the fourth member of their team, suggested.  Raist and Leio laughed at his typical joking demeanor, belying the fact he was the group’s Sniper capable of blowing any creature’s head off at amazing distances, or surviving alone for long periods of time  “What type of other ‘uniforms’ do you get her to wear when we aren’t rolling out?  Old school maid perhaps?”

“Why would her uniform be different?”  Philira, the second girl of the group, naively asked.  Through her hair was a bright pink when it wasn’t nano-camouflaged, her eyes left a cold sensation, amplified by her obvious young age compared to the older soldiers.  She was a girl AGEd to be the best soldier you could have on point, with extremely heightened visual and aural acuity, rapid peripheral vision processing, and, above all, reflexes to keep her alive in the extremely dangerous position of Scout.

Agrest frowned exaggeratedly, “Uh, never mind…”

“Yeah, stow that shit Agrest, what is your problem?” Ziko’s joking demeanor changed to one that was stern.  Though Agrest and Ziko were both the group’s source of laughs, Ziko had a sensitive spot in that he couldn’t stand jokes about Philira, or anything sexual that might ‘taint’ her mind.  Ziko considered himself the father figure, or more like the big brother, of the younger Philira, unsurprising given the general close proximity of the two with his role as Assault and hers as Scout.  It was probably a mistake for Ziko to ever have made an issue about it at all.  Even cool-headed Raist got in on the jokes just to make him mad.

The five of them were a close family, but there were still a lot of secrets between them such as where they came from, action they’d bene in before getting into super deep groups like this, and what horrors they had lived through; all somewhat natural given their line of work.  Very rarely would someone get rotated out to a new team, such as Raist’s few other friends.  Mostly people died in the team they start in or get maimed too bad to continue or they make it through a deadly grinder and live an all-expense retirement after a short but brutal tour.

Even so Ziko still felt a duty to protect the girl, even though she was just as good of a killer as him and her young eyes had that dark coldness to them.  This was despite her naivety of some aspects of the world, namely those that didn’t involve killing such as relationships, love, or sex.  None of them knew the past all of them came with, and a girl like Philira likely didn’t have much since Scouts tended to get grinded worse than most other Classes.  At this point of their lives they still trusted each other deeply, as it took tremendous service and sacrifice to the Solarian or Aelisha empires to get here.

“Anyway, Leio’s sexy maid costume and Philira’s overall hotness aside,” Agrest began, grinning boyishly, “anything else about this mission you haven’t brought up yet?” he ended seriously.

Split my main book? Art work!

Hey guys, been silent for a while but still busy at it.  The main thing I am working on is my main book ‘VayneLine’ and as of right now it is 500 pg ms word pages big – huge in other words.  I am considering splitting it to make it more manageable for readers.

Here is the cover art I drew for it once, you might recognize my avatar in there!

Make sure you click for high res!

Proud Infinity pt 29

Hey guys Proud Infinity is going to be free on amazon tomorrow in ebook format so be sure to pick it up, and if you do, please rate it, rating help huge for new authors! I will continue the story here though.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MTB19WD

 

“Show some faith,” Mitreah said as she stepped up, stabbing her blade hand into the door.  I saw the muscles in her arms flex hard as a piece of steel came pulling out of the door with her appendage vaguely like a mutated hand.  “Try it now,” she said with a smile.

At about that time a siren started wailing.  “Attention all personnel, we are under attack.  The agent is located at Block Six.  Exercise extreme caution.  Repeat, hostile agent located at Block Six.  All combat personnel deploy immediately.”

Oh man, I forgot they have a security force.  That’s how I got killed so fast a long time ago and it made me stop trying.

“Hope you are close to the target,” Proud said as I pushed the door and it slid open on an emergency track.

The door opened, and in front of us was a voluminous room with a long blue mechanical tube stretched far beneath the small walkway we were on.  We were running on the thin walkway when a shot from below us exploded above my head on the roof.

“Damn!”  I dropped into a tightly compacted crouch as we crept forward. “Is this it!?  Is this what we need to destroy?  Do I just drop the bomb here?”

Though I suppose neither of them knew the answer.

“There they are!” Across the walkway a squad of three people appeared in the opening doorway, kneeling to take firing positions.  Rifles.  They were going to hit me way before I lucked a pistol round downrange to hit them.

Behind me I heard more noise.  With a skill I had developed over a long time I turned and expertly fired.  Three rounds tore into one guy’s chest, and the next two were into the other’s head.  Taking the two of them out required little thought or effort.

Turning back to the farther squad, I realized Mitreah was already halfway to them.  The loud explosions of their guns reached me long after I saw a few sparks of light fly off her body, the rounds hitting metallic substrates.  She stabbed her blade-arm straight through one of them, twisting and slashing the second one in half before stabbing her way through the final one and was already running back towards us before I could even realize we had to keep moving.

“Hey, are you okay?”  I nodded to the holes in her chest and arms that were leaking a dark blood.  It had not hit her deeper substrates yet.

“I can take way more before I am compromised.”

At this point I had never made it this far, so no longer ‘knew’ what to do.  All I had was my skills, which were substantial.  I saw movement below us and with a single shot killed the guy sighting us with his rifle.  My skills were far past what it took to be an expert marksman.

We hurried along the walkway, an occasional shot from below us hitting the walkway or the ceiling.  The walkway was a ‘T’ shape and we took the left instead of the straight path where the dead guards lay.  Below us the huge machines hummed ominously; the bright blue energy from the glass cylinder did not look very good at all.

The walkway ended at a door Mitreah front kicked off its rolling ridge, quite an impressive feat.  Inside were three scientists and a computer mainframe.  We entered quickly and soon the three of them were holding their hands up, begging to not be killed.

“Where is the center of the particle creator?!” I yelled to them.  One of them pointed behind him where beyond the computer was a railing overlooking something radiating light.  I was walking towards it, unhooking my satchel, programming the time charge on the bomb.

“Don’t do it!  Do you know how much research has been put into this?” someone behind me cried.

Proud Infinity pt 24

I am working on my first paperback, and it will probably be out in the next 2 weeks or so.  Here is the cover art

vl-chron-final

Of which Proud Infinity is a part of!

 

Anyway on with the story as Trego is navigating his way through the time loops:

 

I walked over to the space port, spending more time with the android, Mitreah.

I waved when I walked in and she gave a friendly wave back, but did not know me from anyone else at this point.

“Hi, Mitreah.”

“Oh hello!  I don’t remember your name.  Have we met?”

‘A few times…’ I thought to myself.

“Mitreah: Farewell Fallen Sword,” I stated cryptically.  Her face went blank like it always does, before her bright eyes returned.

“Override confirmed.  What are you orders?”

I waved my hand.  “Nothing major, I simple want to talk to you a bit.”

“An odd request, but certainly.”

I spent a long time talking to her.  Unlike the old man, she was much more fun, but I learned less.  There was not as much applicable to me due to her combat android form and background.  She could teach me so much about fighting, but not as much about the world.

Before the end of this loop I wanted to fight her more to train my combat ability.  That was perhaps the biggest boon from her, other than eventually using her to break into ReCorp.

To her, my words were novel, “Mitreah, I want you to train me to fight.  I want to use my pistol, and anything you can teach me.  Execute training protocol number 2.”

She smiled at me.  “This is so much more fun.”

She left to go get some training supplies she had in her personal locker.  I had never figured out why an ex-combat android ended up here, I could never get it out of her.  The best I could figure is that she was injured slightly, or had served long enough she got to retire.

Mitreah came back with a training pistol that would fire visible lasers that did not actually do anything but would respond if I hit her and she could react appropriately.  Combat androids could fight with guns, and melee weapons, but there most signature weapon was their arm would form into a very sharp blade, essentially like a nano blade.  Something like this would kill my obviously, so it was more like a blunt bat I was struck with.

She tossed the training pistol to me like always.  I caught it and started firing at her dashing form.

Probably an old Aelisha combat android based on Solarian form, evidenced by her dashing style was leaning super far forward: the same way Aelishas ran.  She slashed at me with her blade arm, I blocked with the pistol and dodged, firing at her.  I knew her moves well enough at this point I could end it easily.  My main goal at this point was to build up my own reflexes, not to use known paths.

I dove awkwardly a few times just to get off any previous path I would ‘remember’.  I felt blind once again which I liked.  Mitreah could easily take me out given her superior programming and speed but limited it during the training.

I fired a few times at her, impressed by how my own skills were coming along; she had to dodge which slowed her assault down.

She got close, swiping at me hard and connecting.  Her blade arm of course was dull for training, but in real combat I would have lost my arm.  Regardless it gave me a strong shock that made it numb.

I dove to the ground, grabbing the pistol out of my numb arm, turning around rapidly and hitting her in the chest.  A spray of the laser beams struck home, and if it was a strong enough weapon she would have been killed.  My aggressive push of not running and doubling down on the attack was enough to win.

“Uh…”  She moaned in pain from the ground a bit before standing.  We helped each other up.

“Dang, that was fun.”  We with standing there, hugging each other for support.  I was breathing hard.

“How are you so good?  I had to go to the very limits to even catch you.”

I stepped back.  “I’ve done this before.”

“Who was your teacher?”

“You.”  I pulled out my real pistol, aimed and reset.

 

***

Proud Infinity pt 21

Never seeing her proved okay for a while, but then the regret grew, and with no counter to my dark thoughts, they surged endlessly.  My thoughts turned back towards something I had fallen into early in the loops: could I kill myself out of this nightmare?  I tried…oh god, I tried.  But no.  I would die, and then the universe would later in the cycle, the time fracture traveling backwards past the point of my own death to the morning as it always did.  Each cycle, wake up, grab the pistol, pull the trigger.  Instantly wake back up in the same room, but dealing with the emotional fallout of ‘surviving’ a suicide.

I felt my body shaking from the fear of itself from the horror I had inflicted on it in the name of escaping.  Or trying to anyway.  I could not get out.

“I’m so so sorry…” I whimpered to myself, hugging myself to try to believe it.  My eyes were watering.  This was so painful, so confusing.

I was shaking hard at the overwhelming memories.  ‘The positive, just focus on it.  Just focus…’ But all I could do was grit my teeth at yet more regret.  How the hatred I felt at myself for taking advantage of Proud that turned to suicide, then to unrequited rage at the girl who was the singular cause of the nightmare I was in.

I was on this endless rollercoaster of extreme emotions throughout the loops.  Even after all the regret towards Proud, it then turned to anger.  Blaming her for somehow involving me in all this.  I didn’t want any of this, I didn’t want this nightmare.

My teeth hurt from how hard I was biting down, trying to not remember the time I tried killing her.  Despite the slow learner I seemed to be with everything else, I only did this once.

I leveled the Liner pistol right at her.  ‘Die bitch’ I had said to her confused face.  I pulled the trigger, unloading half the clip into her, but…but it went right through her.  I fell to my knees.  ‘You really are just a figment of my imagination,’ crying at how crazy I was.

‘Would it make you feel better to actually let you shoot me?  Try it Trego, if you really want, as dark as this path has become.’  To which my teary face pulled the trigger again at her, and was shocked when he body recoiled away, blood, or something similar, exploding out the backside.  ‘Proud?’  I asked to her dead body, the bloody ribbon covering a massive crater in her head.  The shock was so severe I turned the pistol on myself, and the darkness only crept on.

“No!”  I shouted, trying to forget.  Just remember the good, the times I actually was productive, not lost in despair or hatred.  “It was not always bad!  That was when I started changing!”  I yelled to the world, trying to make it real.

Yes, focus on how during my self-killing spree, Proud came to me one trigger pull away and asked if there was anything she could do.  I had not seen her since the crime of killing her, or perhaps crimes, I committed against her, and her innocent appearance before me nearly caused me to follow through yet again with the trigger.  But I stopped long enough for her to tell me it pained her to see me this way, and ask why I was like this.  She was here to help if I would only ask.

I told her reluctantly a big part of it was how bad I felt for taking advantage of her when so much was at stake, both having sex with her, and later shooting her in another iteration.  When she laughed loudly, I lowered the pistol out of confusion.  ‘How did you take advantage of me, if we both wanted it?’ she asked.  She did not even mention the time when I had shot her because to her it was nothing.  She said she was entirely joyful for the experience, and did not regret anything and wondered why I did.  She said that the physical plane was overwhelming in its feelings, and to have experienced something like that with me, well, she’d remember forever.  She said she loved me and hoped I would have asked earlier, or again.  She lowered my pistol and we held hands, me crying for hours in her simple embrace until the end came again.

Proud Infinity pt 20

The killing sprees honed my abilities.  I learned to fight with my fists, knives, my Liner pistol.  Each cycle was a new challenge.  How many could I kill with just my hands, or could I beat my score using my gun?  It became this dark abyss where others only existed to see how many I could blow through.  It didn’t matter when I was maimed, shot or imprisoned, I was reset every morning.

With women it was another challenge and at this point I no longer cared about ‘knowing them’ as it was pointless.  It was easy at gunpoint but didn’t stimulate me the same way of manipulating their minds with perfect words and actions.  My respect for them tanked down to zero.  I could get any girl to be with me, it didn’t matter how loyal or pure she was.  Enough predictive power or perfect words and they all melted.  Eventually that game grew boring as well.

By the way, Proud?  It was easy.  I only had to ask.  She was more than happy for the overwhelming feelings of the physical realm, and indeed it was quite amazing from my end; but that was the largest regret I had.  Amidst my absolute depravity she represented perhaps the one untainted thing in this fractured world I inhabited, and I proceeded to destroy that as well.

My curiosities turned to sorrow and anguish.  The hedonism left me cold and empty, the shallowness overwhelming that I had given in to.  Soon it became a burden, thinking of all the crimes I had committed, even if they were not longer ‘actually done’.  The pointlessness of everything amplified by a thousand experiences I had now come to hate.  Especially what I did with Proud…or maybe it’d be better to say ‘what I did to Proud’.

We had come to love each other through the circumstance we were now in, a deep friendship from the stories we shared.  Our friendship was not one of two different races of a physical being and a near-energy being creating a physical body, but of two consciousnesses that liked each other from so much time together.

Then I had sex with her simply to satisfy a burning question of if she would.  And she did, and she loved it.  As soon as it was over, I started crying.  I was so stupid, so shallow.  Defiling the last totem of sanity in this world left me broken and under no more delusions of how messed up I had become.

What the fuck was wrong with me?  The universe was counting on my freewill to prevent this time fracture, and I was doing this to its incarnation?  I was murdering people, manipulating every woman I could into sex, and fucking LineGod Proud instead of doing anything productive.  I felt endlessly evil for taking advantage of her which I did many times ‘just to make sure’.  That sent me on an even darker spiral for many, many time fractures.

I swung my arm around, trying to grab something else.  I grabbed something soft, pulling it towards me; it was my white shirt.  On the floor, holding the white shirt and the desk brought forth more grim memories of the even further pits I fell into.

‘But she was the sensual one, she wanted it!’  I would lie to myself, trying to justify the single action I hated myself the most for.  My personal best for kills was over a thousand using just a pistol, most women was over ten, and that was due to my own physical limitation, but none of those compared to the final break in sanity by using Proud.

Her name was ‘Proud’ and that was nowhere near what I felt about my actions, only all-consuming regret and self-hatred.  The shame was overwhelming, and then it was eventually mixed with hopelessness of my position.  I had forsaken seeing Proud again because I felt so bad for what I did for so many times before I finally snapped.

Proud Infinity pt 18

Thanks for liking and commenting!

 

“Uhh…” I woke up, looking at the beam of light on my colored pillow.  I woke up from something that had just killed me, of that I was fairly sure.  The longer I sat there thinking the clearer and more coalescing my thoughts became.  I had recalled variations of the unfolding day, at first thinking it was just dreams within dreams but they were too vivid, too painful.  On some level something really messed up was happening here.

I felt this aura or field around me, as if it was a physical medium.  It was dark and thick, like the feeling at graveyards but a thousand times stronger.  The more I lay there the more I could slowly start feeling experiences of sorts wash over me.  It was strong ones at first: fear, anger, lust.  But it had an instructive element to it, that I was relearning or recalling old knowledge or skills I had.  Like grabbing a bicycle after not riding it, I ‘remembered’ on a vague level of stuff rushing back to me.

What was this, the third?  The fourth?  My head swam, and I had a grim feeling somewhere in my mind it was much higher than that.

Maybe I had finally remembered simply by raw repetition of being unraveled.  It appeared to be true what that girl named ‘Proud’ had claimed: I was stuck in a time fracture.  Something at ReCorp had created a particle that was so destructive to our reality that either it or the universe somehow reverberated that destruction back into time to before it occurs to ensure it never actually occurs.

And according to Proud, I was the one who had to stop this.  My stomach dropped; the universe was probably screwed.

At this point I was seriously trying to decide how many times had I ‘lived’ this day.  I remembered the couple recent ones.  But it seemed like the further back ‘times’ I remember, the vaguer they were.  It was entirely possibly I had been through this a thousand, or a million times.

I got up and splashed some water on my face, helping remind me ‘this’ was real.  I sat down against the wall, trying to think critically.

Last time I actually seemed to gleam a lot of information.  I recalled the last loop in pretty good detail, but looking back on it, I knew things I should not have.  There were a lot of things I remember personally saying I was not sure I might normally understand.   I was accepting of a lot of Proud’s crazy ideas, and jumping to conclusions that did not necessarily follow.  What this meant to me is that somehow I knew things I normally should not have.  Maybe indeed I was many iterations into this fracture, and that knowledge was slowly accruing within my consciousness packets or whatever she said I had.

So, the question then was, when do I remember?  Right now I was piecing a little together, but not to the extent I was talking to her last time.  Wait….‘last time’ certainly isn’t the right word, but what else to call it?

I saw my white shirt on the desk and remembered her changing it to pink.  Today was definitely a new cycle, but her show definitely had something important to it, I just could not grasp it yet.  What did it mean that she could change a shirt, but I could not?  There was something profound I was missing.

Sitting there holding the white shirt I was thinking of the people I ran into this day, and how any of them could possibly help me.  One thing that was clear is that I seemed to only remember the most recent resets clearly.  There was no telling how many I actually endured, I might be really early, or really far in.  I’d have to keep that thought in mind.

There were a few major characters excluding Proud that stuck out and maybe had some clues for me.  There was the bartender, either of the two guys I fought, that old man at the pit, and the android girl.  They likely had some key to this.