Project: AKRA pt 12

***

The short cycles of the planet had given way to day as they trudged forward with no resistance, back to walking on the razor grass sawing slowly in the sunlight.  They marched forward with four of them still fully ‘armed’ in the limb sense of the word but at this point met no enemies.

Everyone knew what was coming before they actually rolled onto the bare ground, based on the loud roaring starting to filter through the trees.  Though Leio and Ziko were both reduced in combat efficiency, their squad was still in fairly good fighting capacity.  They made it through the surprise of the night, and still had four people capable of shooting larger weapons.  However, this new challenge they were coming up to was going to prove trying.

“There is no way we are making it across that,” Ziko said.  He knelt down to let Leio off of his shoulders as she sat down on the ground so he could better look over the edge of the cliff.  They stood next to some rocks and a tree, using the light cover as they looked over the shear corner of the massive cliff to the rumbling water hardly visible through the mist below.  On both sides of them the deep gorge was cut through the rock with no easy way down, and the height did not get any less extreme anywhere close that they could hike to make the descent easier.

“The two of them could not hope to swim across that water,” Agrest said, keeping his head turned upwards most of the time for any drones that might come flying over the tree tops.

“I have faith they could, but the risk is too great.”  Raist looked up and down the escarpment they were located on.  “It’d be better if the two of you stayed here to cover our escape.”

From where they were, the tip of the peak was barely visible against the tall trees of the other side of the river.  Their goal was close, but in every way seemed farther with every step they took.

“From here you guys should be able to build a pretty good choke point in the rocks over there.  The three of us are going to do a sprint to the target, and come back.  There is a good chance we will need as much cover fire and a clear path as possible on our way back.”

Agrest pointed to the rocks.  “It’s a good plan, since I’d hate trying to descend and climb back up with things shooting at us.  If you two have this locked down, it should help our escape.”

Raist finished, “Ziko, I am going to need you well-rested because as soon as we get here, we are running back to the extraction zone. I do not want to be in the forest again for another night.  The three of us should be able to handle AKRA, and I know you are strong, but we cannot be slowed even if you are carrying Leio.”

The problem was they had to make it back out of anti-air range to call their shuttle down.  Even if it was capable of firing, with how defended their target was, calling it anywhere close was risking being trapped here.

The group worked for a bit, positioning rocks and checking sight patterns so that the two staying behind would have clear cover fire on the three advancing members, both on the descent, the swim, and the climb before they disappeared into the other side.  Natural rock walls covered their backs, and a few shots through the rocks gave them some gun holes to fight anything that did come from the forest.  The three advancing soldiers dropped all but one weapon here so they could move faster now that the mission had become one of a sprint.

“Goodbye, Raist,” Leio told him as they embraced.  Raist was having to hold her up.  “I hope I see you again.  I really do.”  Her foot was realigned, but the large section of meat missing from her calf was something he tried to not look at.

“I’ll be back soon.”  He gave her butt a light squeeze as he turned away from her.  They spiked their rappel systems into the rock and Agrest and Philira already jumped over the edge.  Raist was preparing to do the same when a strange thought came to him.

‘Look at her one more time; it might be your last.’  He turned to face her, and she did a small wave, smiling at him, the normalcy making him think he was over-thinking again.  He turned back towards the cliff and crouched and launched off.

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Been super busy, but book coming out soon!

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New story: Project: AKRA

Hey so I started slipdrift, but instead it is going to be Project: ARKA and this is due to some things with amazon and when the free period ends.  Anyway, all of them are part of the VayneLine Chronicles, here is project akra!

 

Project: AKRA

 

Ironically, the Emotion-Field concept as an aspect to reality proved so revolutionary that the first groups to find evidence of its existence fought and killed for its secrets, deeply contrary to the discovery’s eventual implications.  It was the first indication of higher dimensional aspects that influenced our reality, as well as our own ability to change them.

 

– Terran Intradex Ver. 4 Excerpt on ‘Emotion Field’

 

See Also: Star Priestess, Classed Soldier, Project: AKRA [Declassified]

 

“I have reason to believe you are the best…feel like putting that reputation to the test, soldier?”  The hooded figure had a light cloaking field over it that made it seemed almost like an illusion to the soldier it was speaking to.

A small smirk crossed the face of the soldier as he brushed two fingers through his short hair.  “Naturally.”

The hooded figure laughed, but its tone was masked by a voice-modder, rendering its tone completely neutral so it could not be identified in any form. “I know you have taken hard missions before, but I do not expect the survival rate to be particularly high on this.  There were only three groups that had both the clearance and the battle experience your group possesses.  I hate sending such a valued asset like your group on a mission like this, but it is one of particular import to the Star Priestesses.”

‘To the Star Priestesses’ meant for all intents ‘to the Aelisha’.

Though the black-haired man was arrogant, he was not stupid, and likewise answered carefully.  “Interesting; I assume this is your estimation of the danger.  If I may ask, is that an academic estimate, or a once-soldier’s estimate?”  A very small portion of Star Priestesses were soldiers, but a large percentage of Aelisha in secret operations like this were warriors.

“The latter,” the figure said in an easy tone that belied its long combat experience.  “A rather well-connected criminal syndicate has stolen a very valuable collection of data.  Its name is AKRA, an information processing and application unit.  It holds an understanding of the universe we are just barely starting to comprehend.”

“And it’s our job to recover the data,” the man offered.  It was probably an Aelisha he was dealing with most likely some high-rank diplomat or something similar.  For the briefest moment he mused about tackling the creature and ripping its cloak off to see whom it was.

“ ‘Naturally’,” the cloaked figure mimicked.

The black-haired soldier laughed at the imitation, but in his mind he could tell there was something deeply wrong with this mission his squad was going to undertake.  He always believed in his combat instincts, but this was different.  Something was calling to him beyond just his instincts, but he had no idea what it was saying.

Considering the credits his group was offered, some mysterious ‘clearances’ for advanced weaponry they recently had been given, and the entirely personal reason that he felt something calling on this job, he knew he would do it.  The soldier named Raist, told the figure they would take the job.  As soon as he had said so, the figure had turned and started walking out, shimmering like a ghost that was barely visible.  “Wait, one question though.  Why us?”

“You were asked for specifically.”

That was interesting.  He didn’t know too many people that knew him and were still alive.  “By whom?”

“You are not privy to that information.”

“Ha, I am used to that,” he said to the figure that had departed.

The figure was far enough away it was completely invisible, but before it had completely left the room, its voice said to Raist, “But know an old friend sends their… regards.”

Counting the friends he had that weren’t in his squad and were still alive took about four fingers.  He stood there for a moment, digesting the conversation that had just occurred.  He spun his pistol lazily out of habit, more concerned with his thoughts.  It crashed to the ground, and he crouched down quickly to grab it.  He saw something like a small string or thread against the background blackness of his pistol and grabbed it.  The single medium-length strand of hair was a bright pink.

‘That was a Solarian girl, maybe a Star Priestess or a Classed like me…I wonder who she was?  Something felt weird about her.’  All Star Priestesses and really anyone this deep in secrecy were a little weird though.  He shook his head, trying to stop thinking about things.  ‘Too many thoughts and feelings; just focus.’

 

Proud Infinity pt 33

2nd to last post for the story, I hope you guys are enjoying it.

“The ship’s security card is over there.” She pointed to a building that we walked towards.

“How the hell are you doing this?”

“You remember asking about my Chrono Psionics?  Well, even the most developed on the physical plane fall fairly flat with ours.  Now that the time fracture is gone, all the various pathways in front of us are clear.  I am just choosing, and telling you, the correct ones.”

“Isn’t that kind of powerful if you can see all the options time could take, and I am able to act on it?”

“Quite so.”  She nodded turning around to look at me for a moment.

“A limitless actor, who is given perfect information…”

A guard had opened a door in the back of the building and turned away from us, propping the door open with his foot while he went to the bathroom.

Proud nodded to me. “It’s the red one with an orange stripe.”  I slipped in behind the guy, hoping I could see the card easily, which I did, and grabbed it painfully in my mouth, slipping back out and around the corner.

“Unbelievable,” I said between closed teeth, shaking my head, holding the exact card she said I would find.

I was about to walk in front of the guard’s shack when she grabbed my arm, shaking her head.  “He is going to see this regardless, and a lot of other paths are converging here.  We just have to run now.  The ship is the silver one with the red trim on its tail fin.  I gave you enough energy that you should be able to manage it.”

I nodded and we started running.  A bit later I heard yelling and a few shots exploded across the pad.  Twice Proud physically pushed me to one side or another while a round hit exactly where I once was.  I held the card up and the ship responded, then we both jumped in as the door closed.  I was breathing hard, holding the ground, then lifted my body up and started laughing before she joined in on my jubilation.

“We did it!”

“Not yet,” she said coldly.  I looked at her with worry.  “Start the ship, then we will be okay!” She laughed at what was probably a joke to her.

“Right.”  I nodded and went to the bridge, starting the ship with a few pushes of my chin and hitting a random coordinate in it.  Suddenly the ship was taking off.  The ruins of the ReCorp building were visible as we gained altitude. “Do time fractures happen often?”

She shook her head, frowning. “Unbelievably often.  Just about every space faring race runs into this at least once through their various particle accelerators trying to ‘understand’ the universe.  They never realize they will not understand anything that way.  It only leads to destruction.”

“Thanks for coming to save me.  Seriously.” My head went back and forth a bit, maybe trying to shake itself free of everything going on in it.  “But now, is that it?  You are off to stop another time fracture?  Are you going to leave me?”

“Only if you want me to.”

“Hardly.  I’d love you to stay with me.  If I could be so selfish to request it.”

“Well, then I will!” she stated loudly, hugging me.

“Isn’t it your job to stop the fractures?”

“It was.  Perhaps you do not understand.  I was created to stop that fracture, and now it is stopped.  So in a way, I am without a purpose.  You felt purposeless, but I am much more so.  You were born, in the physical sense, and I was born in a different sense, with my sole purpose being to pair with the most responsive physical element, that’s you, and stop this local time fracture.  So now my purpose is complete.  It is like the immune system of your body, the task is complete now I am adrift.”

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 19

But in a way, I was in a game that had a set boundary specifically tied to the time limit.  This made it hard, as I could not do ‘anything’ as there simply was not enough time in this singular day.  Was it even possible to pull off whatever Proud thought needed to be done?  So my options were not limitless, as there was a practical distance I could travel before my ‘time was up’ so to say.

‘Time was up…’

With those thoughts, a huge wave of experiences came flooding over me.  My eyes started watering and I fell backwards.  My eyes zoomed outwards as I fell out of my body.  The simple act of me sitting in my room faded away to nothingness as so much blanketed my mind.

This was not the fourth; this was not even the tenth, even a hundred would be low!  I had been though thousands.  All the experiences came flooding back.  All the cycles lived, and then died.

“Shit…”  I said, holding my head as I rolled down to the floor, my mind hurting so bad with this new awakening.

First were endless denials out of me, the ‘no way this is happening’ of thinking each cycle literally was new, and I had just been dreaming.  Hell, even the last couple of times I thought it was just a dream and I had already been looping thousands of times.

I could see why Proud made a comment about annoyance or something along those lines.  It was frustrating seeing myself constantly deny what was actually happening.  I was trying to ignore the important events like the guy at the fence, the android girl at the spaceport, and the whole bar scene or talking with Proud.  Even though little things like my banter with the android girl, or me gunning that guy down rather skillfully were a bit beyond my normal ability.  With grim realization it was probably hundreds of repetitions that had improved me.

My hand found something, maybe the leg of a desk, and I held on tightly like a sick child.  Even my most recent memories I was not sure had actually recently occurred.  I talked about winning against that guy, but if I had looped so often, I never would have got shot, or avoided it all together.  Thinking about it this way, I felt that there actually was a far deeper well of combat prowess inside me than I currently appreciated.  Honed over thousands of random battles.

The more my head swam, the more I realized how far down the line I was in regards to loops.  The denials lasted forever, but gave way to sadness before darkness.

When I started realizing I was looping, it was perfect to learn about people.  There were women I could get close with and my loneliness faded away for the cycle.  I had met a lot of girls and felt so close to many of them.  But each reset I was greeted with words that cut into my heart deeper and deeper each time hearing them: ‘who are you?’

Nothing that I had done with them remained.  No clever date, no laughs we shared, no talks about our past.  I would remember vague things about them, but no one else perceived the loop, I was just as unknown the hundredth time talking to them, as the first.  The closeness I thought I had with them was an illusion.  It was only in my mind.  That sent me down a dark road as I no longer had this to comfort me given the end I experience without fail.

The terror of dying every cycle started grinding on me until the desperation reached a breaking point.  I started trying to kill myself out of this nightmare, thinking that this simply wasn’t real.  If it was, I would rather be dead than be trapped in this fearful world where nothing I did mattered.  And it ended in absolute pain every single time.

Sitting here huddled on the floor, crying while this multitude of memories flooding back was not fun.  I wondered if every time was like this.  Probably.

The desperate loops were short lived, and then it became rampant hedonism and dark experiences.  When I realized I would indeed be reborn each cycle anew my curiosity took a dark turn.  How many people could I kill before I was stopped?  How many girls could I get within a single cycle knowing the perfect things to say to them from thousands of scripted conversations I had tried?

Proud Infinity pt 12

Hey guys, been busy working on a new story that last couple of days.  Hope you are enjoying the story, remember like it, and comment.  I am a new author and if you enjoy this share it with your friends, I can use any help you can give.  Thanks!

 

Story:

A new voice broke my concentration. “Uh, are you okay?  Here are your drinks.”  The bartender had a worried look cratered into his older face.  He set them down across from me, and I noted that Proud did not physically touch anything during the placement of the drinks.  Was the bartender a wayward savior on this dark path I was falling down with this girl?

“I’m fine, get out of here please.”  I turned back to Proud. “I get what’s going on here, he ‘can’t see you’ supposedly, right?  Is he in on this, or are you some sort of implantation device in my thought or maybe a hologram?  All of them make sense, though I am going with the second simply because you seem to be tailored to my subconscious tastes.”  That part was not out of the ordinary, there were a lot of forms of…entertainment…that tapped into the subconscious to edit the experience to maximum personal pleasure.

She frowned, and the motion was so genuine I felt bad for causing it. “You have dark thoughts Tre.”  ‘Tre’?  Hmm, never had someone shorten my name.  “These are always the most painful when you decide that you would rather be suspicious of me.  Oh, and yes I can understand your highest level conscious thoughts, haha!” She blushed then started laughing randomly.  “Tre, naughty boy!  And no I can’t control you, so don’t worry.  Though it would be much easier.”

I grit my teeth together and my mouth was in a half frown.  “So, what the hell is going on?  I hope you can at least understand my doubtful thoughts.  I am not convinced you are entirely real.  At this point I am expecting anything that you tell me to do might just be a test of my morality or sanity or something.”

Proud laughed at that. “That paranoia you possess is painful, even to me it hurts.  Drop that fear!  True reality is joyous.  Do I look scared at all right now?”  Her excited personality was a bit disarming, but I had way too much on my mind to appreciate or believe it.

“No, but you don’t have me changing my appearance and appearing in your dreams.  Anyway, what’s the deal?  Can you tell me what is going on, or is that part of the test?”

She shook her head, her ribbon softly swaying with the movement.  “No test.  While unfortunately I cannot conclusively prove anything, I hope you can trust me.”  She leaned back, her blue eyes looking upwards while her breasts seemed to be pointing right at me with their temptation.  Okay, clearly this was some test to try to lure me in, with the whole ‘oh tee-hee I didn’t know I was flirting with him~!’ persona.

She did not say anything for a while.  What the hell was she trying to ‘prove’, that her intrigue was distracting!?  Of course that was obvious, but my future death was more important, no matter what she triggered in me.

Eventually she began, “I am glad I do not feel ‘annoyance’, because it would perhaps be nearly unbearable from what I understand the feeling to be.  Though, I can deeply appreciate the irony of this situation, which might help alleviate the sensation.”  She met my gaze then asked a simple question:  “How many times do you think we have had a conversation like this?”

I was sitting there and realized I had to answer her.  “Well, one.  Right?”  I hated I actually questioned if that was correct or not.

“No, not even close.  But I do not know either, only vague conscious packets that have survived the back fracture are any indication of the vast multitude.  The Emotion Field is implanted with your accruing thoughts that slowly spill backwards.  This is how the back fracture is not a complete reset every time.”