Pokemon is a copyright of Nintendo. Pokègirls and Pokèwomen come from the Pokewomon Forum at http://disc.server.com/Indices/169881.html.
"Wild Horses and Pokègirls" is the creation of Metroanime.
Fossils 3 - End Game
Fossils 8 - Evolution by Kelvin's Choice
Pokemon is a copyright of Nintendo. Pokègirls and Pokèwomen come from the Pokewomon Forum at http://disc.server.com/Indices/169881.html.
"Wild Horses and Pokègirls" is the creation of Metroanime.
The teams had arrived, from New Vegas and the University. Statements were taken and they released us to begin scouting. They dispatched additional scouting columns from the north, south and east.
I look over the terrain and wonder how you hide all the footprints.
"Nothing," Jeremy admits as he stands up, "If they were marching on the ground, they would have left some trace, even on solid rock."
"Our fugitive kept heading for the sea," Gray points out, "Could it be they had ships?"
"Sealift of several thousand?" I ask, "The Navy would have to have noticed that. Unless they had an old supertanker, they couldn't move that many without a flotilla."
"The other possibility is they weren't walking on the ground, but above it," Sally suggests, as she lands. "Not flight, but some kind of barrier with the edges turned up, they wouldn't need as many to keep everybody moving in one herd."
"Makes sense, it also means they aren't walking, but being drilled in their new jobs and skills while on the move," I say, "Would they have camp fires at night? The light and the smoke might give them away."
"Wouldn't the energy of such a barrier, or opening a portal to shadow walk like we have, give them away?" April asks logically, "Shadow walking would make more sense. It also gives them another reason to attack at night, more shadows, better transportation. They convert a town, herd everyone into the new path and call down the destruction as they close the door."
"Both plausible theories," I say as I massage my temples. Thank you for explaining there are nearly infinite ways they could have gotten in here and left to strike their next target, I think. "How do we counter them?"
"That many troops can't go very far without water," Red says, "Food's lighter, and freeze-dried or desiccated, lighter-still. Yet water is heavy. Six thousand people would need a lot."
"So we stake out the major streams and rivers," Gray opined, "How close to New Vegas are we talking about, and how thin do we spread ourselves?"
"Teams of two or three," Jeremy suggests, "Small enough to avoid notice. All of us together couldn't put a dent in a force that size."
Reb opens a map of the area around New Vegas. "I think you are all forgetting the Clear River and the lake here," she tells us as she points to the region.
"It's also not patrolled, because the Yucky Lake district is where they have all the secrets," Gray says archly, "So you don't want people who aren't supposed to know, accidently walking in on your secrets. Right?"
"I believe she is correct," May comments.
"People and Pokègirls can go without water for a few days. Without food for longer, depending on the breed. If they laid in a supply of water, they could drive them to Yucky Lake, and then get everyone watered, fed and rested, then launch their attack on the complex. Once they have it," Summer says, "They won't even have to crack it, they could just ransom it. You're all making the assumption that they want something in that complex. What if they want something else?"
Gray agrees, "The plutocrats at New Vegas could conceivably get them anything humanly possible. Drugs, liquor, food, magical artifacts - "
"Wait!" Sarah insists, staring at the ground while she considers, her hooves pawing the ground nervously. "Magical artifacts. Everything they've done has pointed in the direction of magic. Is it possible that's what they're after? A magical artifact!"
"Anything that powerful . . . " June began, "I can't see them giving it to the invaders, especially if they specifically ask for it, no matter how powerless it appears."
"However, if they ask for a collection. The experts may hold back a few of the mightiest bits, and think they are being very clever," I reply.
"And the real thing falls into their hands with none the wiser," Gray completes the line of reasoning, shaking her head in disgust.
"We have to get there, and we have to get there first," Red exclaims.
"And once we're there, then what?" Sally asks with a frown, being practical.
"We snatch up our fugitive and reduce him to hamburger," Toni says, slamming her fist into her palm, "As well as any other humans with them. I'm not saying we'd live through it. I'm saying it has to be done."
"Assuming there aren't any Pokègirls who could carry on afterwards. Say an Enchantress or TickTock," Red replies, "Or worse, our fugitive's a figurehead. Bait for heroes like us."
"I think we stick to recon. We can tell the authorities what we've thought of, but it's all speculation." I consider what we don't really know, what we'd like to believe we `know`.
"No," Sarah says firmly. "It isn't speculation," she continues in a faraway voice, "We are aware that it isn't at the complex . . . I can almost see it. A sword, a dark, evil sword. Mountaintide is not dead, Infernus waits in the truly abyssal deeps, Storm Gail was not consumed, Typhonia is not sleeping." She looks around, then continues in an eerie tone, "There in the blade they lie. Dark and hungry for those who contend. The Legendaries will scourge their bodies, the blade will consume their souls."
Who is 'we'? The other NightMares? Are they coming to help us? I wonder. "You make it sound like Stormbringer, it consumed the souls of its wielder's friends to grant power to the wielder," I tell. Except Stormbringer used them as fuel. It wasn't a storage locker to inflict them on the world later.
Sarah continued in the outre, abstracted tone, "It has no such appetites, the desire is for all souls, to feel their outrage, their despair, to slowly suck the life and power from them. To grow not sated, but more hungry. It will consume the whole League, the entire universe, all that is . . . and still not be satisfied. That is its Destiny, and it revels in it."
"I think that's a good reason not to give it to them," Gray suggests.
"That doesn't tell us what we need to tell New Vegas when we get there. That an army is going to threaten to steal their nukes to get a magic sword that will release the Legendaries?" Jeremy asks, looking from one person to another, "They'll lock us up as criminals or as nuts."
"No," I tell them, "I'll contact people at the University. Leave it to them to warn New Vegas, and the Dean of the Department at Ten' U. has a lot more clout than a wandering Tamer. Besides, this is what the researchers have been waiting for."
"What if they want the sword for themselves? What if the people at New Vegas have the sword because they want to control it?" Red asks angrily, "You all think these people are nice and don't have their own agenda."
Red's taking Lian's real motivation to heart, I think sadly, And projecting the Titto's betrayal on everything.
"It doesn't work that way," Sarah assures us, "The sword needs to be with the Chosen One to be the Being of Forever Dark."
"Sarah, are you comfortable teleporting us to the region around Yucky Lake to let us start our plans against them?"
"Yes," Sarah says as she opens a portal and we begin walking through it. Once we're following, she seems to come back to herself.
Once we've set our feet to the path . . . I think, All that comes after, we all walked into it together. That's something.
Jeremy ignores the snorts and chuckles of disbelief as we walk. "All I'm saying is that if Jokettes are afraid of Celestials," Jeremy explains, after hearing about my confrontation, "Somebody should try to use an Angel Stone on one."
"Sure," I reply, hiding my smile at his naive enthusiasm, "Someone who just happens to wander across a Jokette, will just happen to have an Angel Stone, and just happen to be able to keep it distracted enough to slap an Angel Stone on it." I look at the others, forcing them to hide their mirth better. "Are any of you crazy enough to try it?" I realize everyone is staring at me.
Oh, you'll do it, I interpret their stares. "Very funny, all of you," I tell them, they greet my anger with laughter. "Too bad I've already run into one. I think that's my quota for a lifetime."
"I'm sure if we searched," Red suggests, studying the darkness that served this place as sky.
"It's too bad, I think you'd enjoy a spanking," I reply, frowning, "Besides, I don't have an Angel Stone - "
"I do!" Jeremy holds out the Evolution Stone. "I got it when I traded for . . . well, it's mine, and legal."
"So why don't you do it? You're much more likely to encounter one than I will," I reply. I don't want to meet another, I think, I was lucky, I doubt I'd be so lucky a second time.
"I need to get the best camera angles and take notes," Jeremy counters brightly, looking at the two CameraGirls, who nod.
I'm not going to point out that I could take better, more comprehensive notes than you can, I think. I concentrate on the path, not on the smirks on the others' faces.
"What about using it to return Sarah and Sally to a Unicorn and an Angel?" Reb asks intently.
Want your old virtuous chums back? I wonder and smile at her. "We could try it," I tell her, to reassure her, "But historically, that doesn't have any effect."
"Have you got any more Evolution Stones or Medals?" Gray asks nervously, hugging herself.
"I thought you didn't want to become a Mercury," I say, my curiosity piqued.
"I don't, if he has a Heavy Medal, I want him to keep it away from me," Gray replies, glaring a warning at the young Watcher.
"No, just the one," Jeremy says, wilting under Gray's expression, "If you don't mind my asking, what's it like? Being at the last or the only Evolution?"
"What do you think it's like?" I ask, see his confusion, "You and I are as `evolved` as we're likely to get as well, barring an encounter with Jusenkyo water or a Black Master Ball, or a Legendary. Does that mean we're at the end of our road?" I watch him wrestle with the idea.
"No, but humans don't have the . . . expectation of evolving into more powerful forms," he tries to explain.
"I'm pretty powerful right now," Jamie says, clenching her fist and shooting a web from one hand to another, "If the next step up is a Widow, a Mantis or a Legendary, I don't want to be one of those, I can tell you. Nor do I want to be a Tarantella or a SpiderGirl. No thanks, I like who and what I am. If I could evolve, I guess I'd be in Gray's camp, I wouldn't want to." She shook her head, temporarily transformed into her 'battle form' with its extra limbs. "I wouldn't want to be stuck like this." She switches back immediately.
"I would like to go back to being able to evolve," Red says wistfully, "I Thresholded straight into an Amachamp, so I always assumed I'd evolved to the max, beaten the system. The Tanuki doesn't evolve at all. I kind of miss it."
"I don't," Gray says firmly, "I like who I am, what I can do. I always have, despite what others say."
Another clue to your former life, I think Maybe Red isn't the only one overcompensating.
Sherry pipes up, "I can't wait to be a Kung-Ewe!"
"CameraGirls don't evolve," Deniece says, shrugs, "I never expected to, so I don't really think about it."
I don't smile at all the signals they're sending to each other, and to the rest of us.
"That's an artifact from the days when researchers and experts assumed all Pokègirls had at least one evolution," Denephew explains without any expression, "There's no evidence the breed ever existed, and the current 'dexes removed that notation."
"What about you Toni?" Deniece asks, trying to change the tone, "Do you want to evolve?"
"I guess. The problem is: do you use Evolution as a crutch, or do you do the best you can with whom you are?" Toni says ambivalently, "I certainly wasn't expecting to evolve into what I am. I don't want to go back, but I've always been comfortable with whomever I am."
"I guess . . . there's only one change I was always worried about," Reb says, "I always thought you were either sterile, or a Pokègirl. Maybe there's something in between."
"I'm curious about what our two males are thinking, about the chances of Jusenkyo water," Summer says, "Go from people to property with a splash."
"It's the idea of being forced into obedience that really bothers me," I admit. One reason I've tried to get your input before I make my decisions, I think, Because I know that once 'Master' puts his foot down, all debate ceases.
"I could understand the need for bonding, but what was Sukebe thinking when he included Ferality? There had to be a better way to ensure total loyalty to himself," Reb says, Jamie's arm around her protectively, "Ferality means that every Pokègirl is on a clock, and once a certain time passes, unless she and her Master are special, her loyalty is up for grabs."
"You think it's like that? Anyone who catches and Tames us suddenly becomes 'Master'?" May growls angrily.
"I run you through a few Level 3 or 4 Taming cycles, you'll be begging me to listen to any secrets you'd care to give me. You'd do nearly anything to avoid that," I tell her, "The University did some experiments on `reforming` a Mantis. They gave her a series of Level 3 through Level 5 Taming Cycles. They discovered if they gave her a daily Level 3, she could be completely well-behaved and tractable, but even one day's gap, and she'd revert fully. The entire process had to be completely restarted with a Level 5. The 'test subject' eventually died, 'From the strain of denying her true nature'. However, for a time, they had a completely tractable Mantis, and were able to do a complete work-up on her biology and physiology, even her psychology, altered as it was."
The others are shuddering as we walk back into the sunlight.
"Why do you always tell the scariest stories when we're in that?" Sally asks while poking me in the arm with a wing.
"Because that's when you ask the questions," I reply with an evil smile, "Next time, ask those questions under a sunlit sky."
"I'm going scouting," Jeremy says, "I don't want to hear any more." He disappears into the brush with Deniece and Sherry.
"He's young and still has his illusions," Jean offers as an apology.
"If he doesn't start growing up, he'll never get any older," Summer replies grimly.
"We need to figure out if there are any good landing spots by the river," I tell everyone, "So teams of two or three. Then we head out. We'll meet back here in two hours. Karrie and Sarah head out about ten miles, upstream and downstream, the rest of us will search on foot. Denephew, keep track of Jeremy and company. We may need to collect him quickly."
The others nod. Sally picks up Gray and heads into the air, Forseti stands with me, Karrie and Toni head out, as do Sarah and Jenny Lydia, Reb teams up with Jamie and Jean, Red and Denephew nod at each other. Good, no orders, just do what's needed.
Forseti picks me up and begins winging her way across the terrain, spotting possible locations along the river itself, Sally and Gray are doing the same in the other direction. The others spread out into the thick woods covering what used to be a barren desert Before Sukebe.
"Two hours and we find an embarrassment of riches," Red complains and paces nervously as we gather, "Dozens in the three-mile radius we searched. I think it's more a question of where can't they land than where they can." She continues pacing, shaking her head.
"You have to admit," Gray replies, "It is a good landing site."
"Blow up and go away," Red complains, but flashes a grin, having shaken off her despair.
"I actually hope we got here ahead of them," Gray adds. That seems to subdue Red and quiet the others.
"Sarah was sure of that," I tell them, "I trust her." Sarah blushes at the praise.
I look over the group, footsore and just as hopeless as Red is. I've got to do something, I think, Reb can't, I can't think of anything.
"Then the trouble really begins," Forseti says and points to where Denephew is running towards us, "Any bets?"
Several of the girls chuckle. Thanks, I think, then concentrate on Denephew.
"They ran into something," she gasps, "Not the army. Said you could handle it." With that she is through the camp and running full-speed away from us. Jean, Jenny Lydia, Jamie and Reb head after her, to escape or to catch her, I don't know. The others take up combat positions, without my prompting.
"What is it?" I yell at the departing girl, then turn back to consider the interlocking fields of fire, and the offensive and defensive possibilities that the formation, girls' powers and the terrain provide.
Jeremy, Sherry and Deniece break through the brush, the trio runs straight at me. "Here!" he shouts as he passes and dives into the underbrush beside the trail.
I catch the object, it's the Angel Stone he was showing me earlier. "Get undercover now!" I hiss at the others. Crap! I think. Before the flash of purple appears, I am apparently alone in the silent woods. Good to know they took Jeremy's lesson's on concealment to heart, I think as I try to remind myself I am not completely alone, facing something that eagerly desires to kill me, Might as well test the theory. I advance as confidently as I can. If I'm gonna die anyway. . . .
"Hello, hello, hello," I shout to the Jokette who just walked into view, "I just flew in from Philadelphia and boy are my arms tired."
Her grin brightens as she sees me, and just me.
"A dwarf, a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar, the dwarf takes one look around and runs back out onto the street. 'I'm not staying in there,' he tells his two friends, 'I've heard this joke before.'"
There's a faint note of uncertainty in her expression now.
Somebody hasn't read the script, I think. "Say, do you know the difference between a hungry Kitten and a mail box?" I ask as I walk up in front of her. She breathes out, or if she just punches me, I think, I am so utterly dead it isn't funny. Before she can answer, "Neither could my brother, that's why we're out of the business. Of course, there's not much of a market for mailing fish. Eeh? Eeh? Eeh? Mailing fish?" I nudge her in the shoulder, rather than get angry, she gets more perplexed. "What happens when you're paid to mail fish? The fish are fee-mailed! Eeh! Eeh?" I elbow her in the side a bit, a goofy grin on my face. Then I frown, and run my hands up and down her ribs. "Not eating too well I bet, haven't had a bite in a while," I `diagnose`, then I bite her on the shoulder. As she jumps back in surprise, I'm all smiles. "A bite's what you needed, what ho? Am I right? Am I right?"
She's just staring at me with a shocked and wary expression. I've still got a goofy grin on my face.
Jokettes aren't afraid of anything, but that doesn't mean she can't be overwhelmed, I realize.
She grins and offers me her hand for a handshake. I grab her wrist and pull the phony hand out, there's no joybuzzer or spike in the palm.
"I appreciate you giving me a hand," I tell her, pat her on the head with the hand, then add sternly, "But this is no time for applause. Throwing money is always in season. You don't even need a license, but Christmas is the best time. That's why the money's green. It's not that it's moldy, but it's festive. The only festive mold I ever saw was for Jell-O™." I tell her as I step behind her and whisper in her ear, "It was very festive when at Christmas we brought out all the Jell-O™ with fruit salad we made with that mold. For the dear monks of our Lady of Celibacy. They all started sweating and walking into walls." I slide my hands under her breasts and cup them. "If you decided to play a Valkyrie, you could use it as a breastplate, if you take my meaning."
She smiles at that. But expecting sex or death, I don't know.
"Oh, I completely forgot." I hold up the `Jokette's surprise` so she can see it, and I can see it's set on 'amusing'. Here's a joke, I'm trying not to kill a Jokette, I wish I could tell her, My life is definitely weirder since I left the University. Well, I can tell her that. "I left University with flying colors, but they asked me not to come back. You see the colors had been flying from the chemistry building roof, and I'd had a little accident. Nevertheless, this little wonder, I certainly wonder about it, it's the latest technology. You don't get it, but you will, you have to keep abreast of new technology." I slide my hand inside her bikini and fire.
Her head rolls back with a moan while she grabs my hand with both of hers as he presses it deep into her nipple. She grinds her behind into my crotch while she stands there purring until the charge runs down.
As she comes back to Earth, she turns to look at me with a huge smile on her face. Her smile has little malice, but contains a lot of expectation.
"Now that I have your attention, we have a problem."
Her disappointment that she's not getting an instant Taming is very clear, so I hurry on. "There's an army coming, no, not like that. They're coming right here."
She cocks an eyebrow, her patience is wearing thin. Not happy with the change in subject, I realize, I put a hand on her shoulder and gesture towards the horizon, `framing the scene`. "Thousands of people, Pokègirl soldiers." I turn and smile to her. "I was wondering if you'd want to help us kill and terrify them."
I'm up against a tree with her rubbing her entire body against mine. Only the look of pure, unbridled lust gave me any warning. "You see," I explain between her ardent moans, "We want them to arrive in all their power and glory, certain of their invulnerability. Then we want to destroy them."
She can't get her clothes off, skimpy as they are, fast enough. She manages to expose her breasts and stops at that.
"If we can't kill them, we want them running in all directions in terror."
"Keep talking lover," she breathes without the faintest trace of Smilex, as she fumbles with my pants, "For an old man, you've got me so hot!"
"There's some people who can help you, they were part of another Jokette's Harem, so you can just imagine it. They can help you set traps all over. The army arrives - "
She puts my cock between her huge breasts, enclosing it in the warm softness, and begins sliding up and down phrenetically. An expression of pure rapture on her face.
"However, you have to remember to leave open one obvious corridor to let them retreat."
"Why!?" she asks, somewhere between a moan and a scream, speeding her frantic pumping, squeezing her breasts harder against my cock.
"Sun Tzu said, 'Build a golden path for your enemies to retreat.' That's where we have to put the mines, the nastiest traps, the most devastating tricks. Let them get in, get trapped, and tear them to pieces."
She screams and slumps to the ground panting.
Never even heard of that happening, I think as I stare at her, Considering all the bragging at the University, I should have.
"You say - the most - " she gulps as she lays there, parts of her quivering in extremely interesting ways.
"Just one little thing you might need to know," I tell her as I pull my pants back up. She whimpers as I sit beside her and raise her to a sitting position. I conceal the Angel Stone in my hand, but I haven't touched her. She looks up at me with such hope. "A question of evolution." I hold the stone firmly against her skin and slide it under her bikini bottom to hold it in place.
Her eyes shoot open and she stares in horror as the glow surrounds her. Unfortunately her grip doesn't slacken, so I remain on the ground, in her arms, as she undergoes the throes of evolution.
The glow is not painless. It feels as if my entire body, inside and out, is mildly sunburnt and ants race relentlessly over all of it. The spasmodic clenching of the Jokette's grip adds to my discomfort.
Soon, but not soon enough, the glow fades along with the girl's strength. The girl folds limply in my grip. The others break cover to surround the two of us.
"I got it all! That was fantastic!" Jeremy says, practically dancing with glee.
"How is she?" I ask Sally as she checks the girl over. From my point of view, the world is reeling drunkenly from side to side. The only apparent difference beyond the Jokette's unconsciousness, is the single, small, dark, tear-like markings under each eye, and the ridiculously large top hat she hadn't had before.
I focus on Reb, who is behind me upright. She smiles nervously.
"Sick from the evolution shock," Sally says, and she glances at the Ka-D-Bra.
"Her brain seems less . . . chaotic, but there's no evidence of further trauma."
"Further?" I ask. Turning my head almost makes me throw up. Focusing on Jean's apparently swaying form gives me motion-sickness.
"Yes, Jokettes - aren't well," Jean explains, "They're `wired` strangely."
"What about me?" I ask as I slide into darkness.
The girl wakes suddenly. Red and Gray are instantly alert. "You wanted help playing some tricks!" she says eagerly.
"Unfortunately, we made a miscalculation," I tell her as I wake, try and fail to sit up. I glance at the trio from where I lie, but I can't see any of the others.
"More than one, although we all helped on the second," Gray says as she gestures to the column of smoke in the distance, in the direction of New Vegas.
"Crap!" I say, as I climb to my feet, with Red's help. I hate being outsmarted, I silently comment.
"Even warning the ruling plutocrats, their defenses were overwhelmed," Gray continues, all business, "How exactly, they did not tell us, but the bulk of their army has already arrived, and it was not where we expected them to be. They were using shields, and they landed on the river. Right now they're bedding down for the night. Considering they probably have what they wanted, what they'll do and where they'll go is a complete mystery." She glances at me, shrugs as if to apologize for letting me awaken with a disaster unfolding around me.
"We could go among them, sow fear and dissension," the new girl tells us, the manic gleam I'd seen in the eyes of two Jokettes burned fiercely in her eyes, "Once we find out what they're planning and how they laid out their camp, then we go in, try to do as much damage as we can. Maybe steal their `holy grail`."
She calms alarmingly fast. "But stealing is wrong," she insists so innocently, then the manic grin, "So let me do it."
"I think she'll fit in just fine," Red comments, as she let me stand on my own. Is Sarah's army of NightMares coming? I wonder, Whose side will they be on when they arrive?
Karrie comes running in. "We've got a problem!" she tells us, "One of the teams ran into trouble. It seems the enemy is still arriving. They got caught."
I'm almost afraid to ask. "Who?"
"Reb, Sally and Jamie," Karrie replies as she nervously waits for me to drunkenly climb aboard.
I turn to Gray, reeling in the saddle. "Contact the others, we'll decide whether rescue is possible, or we'll have to do something extreme."
"Got it," Gray tells me.
We rode through the fields and forests. Cold wind and adrenaline waking me further. The positions of the `army` we pursued are clearly picked out among the fields. Avoiding the booby-traps remains the difficult part.
"Reb, Sally, and Jamie went ahead to scout the flanks," Sarah tells me as we ride. She moves slowly, cautiously, watching yet somehow aware of more than we can see.
This is no army, I think as we ride, me with Deniece aboard Sarah to keep her calm, Karrie with Denephew and Toni. This is just a band of thugs with some heavy-duty Pokègirls and some heavy-duty magic. An army, a real army, would put paid to these brigands and that would be that. "But no one wants an army anymore," I mumble.
Sarah hears me, but doesn't comment.
She's focused on things we cannot see, and she cannot explain, I realize as I mirror her vigilance, trying to `see` with more than my senses.
Part of the `trail` is dead Ferals and the occasional Domestic. Guts ripped out, but not eaten. That wasn't part of their previous pattern. Killed for sport and left to rot? Or ritual sacrifices?
"New Vegas reported a lot of these," Sarah comments on the grisly road-markers, "They didn't say why it happened."
Even Giovanni isn't that callous. Only one group is. The Dark does that to people. Sacrificing lives directly for power. Other people's lives. Necromancy and Sorcery.
"Another one." Sarah points out, then the CameraGirl scans it.
"Leave it," I say a touch more sharply than I intend. They stare at me in horror at my callousness.
"They've been booby-trapping them," I remind them of the last three bodies that Forseti examined as she followed along, "We don't have time, we leave it."
"Do they know we're following?" Deniece asks nervously, glancing around and adjusting her camera, then peering through it.
To let her see frequencies invisible to the unaided eye, I think as I watch the girl go through several checks of the surroundings.
Always behind the action, I realize, Never part of it. But you can't help be part of this, if you're the least bit human.
"Not us specifically," I reassure her, "But somebody, so they discourage all pursuit."
Sarah picks her way through the woods. When we reach the clearing, we leave the raiders' trail to link up with Reb's group.
"I wish we could . . . do more," Sarah says in an almost drunken tone, "The Dark calls to me, its source and center are close."
"Not too close," Deniece says hopefully.
I agree, I think as I look for any remaining ambushers, We're just scouts, but the army I thought we'd get . . . it's already gone. We probably won't get another. Again I look around, searching for something I can't put my finger on. Something else is bothering me, I consider, I know sequoia forests are quiet because few insects means few birds. But this is true silence. Yet, we're surrounded by an army, and there is true silence. What are we facing here? Really?
"Oh no," Deniece breathes.
I look where she is looking, and see Sally pinned some 10-12 meters off the ground, chained hand and foot to the tree, beaten unconscious. "Cut her down, then follow," I order Forseti, "Carefully."
If they caught Sally, I realize, They probably caught Reb and Jamie, and we could be standing in a trap. "Hurray," I tell Sarah, feeling tension gnaw at me.
For the first time I wish Red and Gray were with me, instead of Deniece and Sarah, I realize, feeling foolish and naked under the sky, But I'm the one who kept them back. Because I wanted somebody to survive, somebody with their lives in front of them, rather than behind them. There is no one to coordinate the assault with. All we have left is Toni's plan. I'll take Forseti, Sally, Sarah and Jenny Lydia, let the others escape. Toni and Karrie should give them the firepower to get out. No reason for everybody to die.
The Fallen Angel is comatose, but Forseti lands with her gently, looking around to see our foes.
I don't think they hung around, I think, but don't tell Forseti, She may be right, better that I am. I let her run with her suspicions as she takes to the air with Sally in her arms to search out the immediate area. I'm almost afraid to know if they found Reb and Jamie.
Forseti is back in an instant, alone. "Bring the medical kit and the water!" she stammers and heads off.
I'm slapping Sarah to head after Forseti before I can frame the thought. No, no, no! I think as we plunge after the Chimera, full-sized and still panic-stricken.
The clearing is little different from the one we found Sally in, except it has three girls in it, two still chained. Forseti lands next to Reb, breaking the chains holding the girl. The effort is almost gentle. I can smell the blood even before I dismount with the medical kit. Deniece dismounts with the water bag.
I didn't even notice, I think as I run, Gods no! She's just a kid! I knew instantly what they had done. Fear drives away any anger, leaving me cold. They cut a vein in her foot, and chained it so Jamie could try, and fail, to web it closed. I'm pulling a pressure bandage as I run. The gobbets of webbing cover her foot and the ground surrounding it. They don't make my approach any easier. The Arachnae reaches Reb before I can. She's cradling the wounded girl, while I try to staunch the bleeding. The bandage is blood soaked in an instant.
"Came down," Reb says quietly, "Never saw them."
"Save your strength," Jamie urges, takes the healing potion from Deniece, holds it to Reb's lips. "You'll make it."
"Don't blame Sally. I wanted to get closer," Reb tells me. A second bandage is blood-soaked and the clotting salve on it has no effect.
"We all made mistakes today," I tell her as I rummage one-handed through the medical kit, trying to find something that works. The bandages are soaking through. "Get Sally up here!" I order. This would be a perfect ambush, I think as I press as hard as I can, trying to stem the bleeding, Why aren't any of the healing potions working? Why is nothing working?
"Wanted kids," Reb says, "Sah, a whole family." Her voice is growing soft.
Sally practically drops to her knees, putting her hands on the girl. Jamie looks at us with such hope. Sally sags, despite Forseti holding her up.
After the beating she got, I realize, She doesn't have much left.
"NO!" Sally and Jamie shout at almost the same moment. I look from one to the other, afraid I know why.
Sally rocks back on her heels, covering her face to hide her sobs. Forseti holds the Fallen Angel. Jamie continues to cradle Reb, tears streaming down her face.
"She was just a kid," the Arachnae whispers, "All she wanted was to be a mom. All she wanted - " Jamie looks up with such hate in her eyes, at such odds with the tender way she cradles her love. "Why should bastards like that be allowed to live?" she asks with a supernal calm.
"We'll kill them, when we can," I try to assure her, "You did all you could." It's hollow. I know it's an empty promise, I admit to myself, I wish we could. . . .
"It wasn't enough!" she replies with terrible intensity, her calm contrasts her motherly cradling of Reb. "It's never enough," she adds calmly.
She's made a decision, I realize as a glow surrounds her. We all back away quickly. There are rumors and folklore, I think, remembering the hushed whispers, the secrets never spoken aloud, There are things, no sane man wants to know for certain. Oh you foolish men, what have you wrought?
Rebecca 'Reb' Cooper
Red - Tanuki
Gray - StretchyMaid
Forseti - chibi Chimera
April - Billie head
May - Lioness head
June - Dragoness head
Summer - Snake head
Sally - Fallen Angel
Sarah - NightMare
Karrie - Rapitaur
Jamie - Arachnae
Toni - FireMaiden
Jenny Lydia - Nogitsune
'Jeremy' - Jesse Ventura
MARYANN DREW, the M.A.D. Pokègirl
Type: Very Near Human
Frequency: Extremely Rare (Who's nuts enough to slap an Angel Stone on a Jokette)
Diet: Human-style, presumed also to feed on laughter
Role: entertainers, clowns, expert victims
Libido: Average to High
Strong Vs: Ghost, Poison, Psychic
Weak Vs: Bug, Fighting
Attacks: Cry, Teleport, Tackle, Telekinesis, Wrestle, Quick Attack, Flash, Blur, Slash, light spellwork, Permeable, S.E.P., Breasts of Steel
Enhancements: Enhanced Hearing and Eyesight (x8), Agility, almost totally fearless, intelligent
Evolves From: Jokette (Angel Stone)
MaryAnn Drews are perhaps the reason Jokettes are so nervous around Celestials. Like a Harlequin's exposure to a Mana Crystal, a Jokette's exposure to an Angel Stone opens her mind to a life-changing, cosmic revelation. She suddenly realizes that the Universe is a vast, uncaring place. The difference is the MaryAnn Drews do not want to share this information. They cherish others' ignorance of the Truth, and will do much to distract others with humor. They retain the Jokette's love of practical jokes, however they prefer humiliation and degradation to killing. Unlike the other tricksters, they don't trust others to appreciate their jokes, they are their own favorite `victim`, with Harlequins and Jokettes as a close second. E.g., A dozen people will walk through a door, the MaryAnn Drew will be the one who gets the bucket of whitewash on her head, the one she secretly put there. And they can look absolutely miserable better than any other Pokègirl. They will often use the Cry technique when they fall victim to their own or another's joke, people will either immediately go to comfort her, or laugh cruelly at her predicament. This is fine with a MaryAnn Drew. Physically, they still have the chalk-white skin, green hair, and blood-red lips. A notable difference is the appearance of black teardrop-shaped marking under one or both eyes, as if they were eternally crying. They are still capable of the large, frightening grins, they also can frown pathetically to nearly the same extent. They retain the comically large breasts and revealing, purple clothes, they often add to their costume top hats or elaborate headdresses that they cannot release. While they can take them off their heads, the hat won't stop touching some part of their body unless physically wrenched off by someone else. Even then, it will be a struggle, easier to tear her arm off, rather than the hat sitting on her palm.
MaryAnn Drews will use their abilities to defend their Harem-sisters and Tamer, they prefer to use Permeable in preference to other defenses and attacks, and will often leap into the middle of an enemy formation and release their stored attacks. They also enjoy using Breasts of Steel, enticing a foe in with their huge, soft breasts, then grabbing and slamming a foe's head against her suddenly rock-hard breasts.
The MaryAnn Drews has an unusual Feral state. When Feral they often sit in one place, and watch the world go by. Without physically attacking them, getting them to react is almost impossible. In Harems, they have one serious drawback, they will attach themselves to the biggest 'stick-in-the-mud' in the Harem, a Pokègirl who takes herself or the world too seriously. The MaryAnn Drew will try desperately to convince that Pokègirl to assist her in her pranks, driving their convert to distraction. She will also share the blame for pranks with this target, even if the other Pokègirl had nothing to do with the prank. Like the other evolutions, April Fools Day is a day of insanity, but she will seek out and prank any Trixies, Harlequins or Jokettes she can find, in preference to other breeds. It can be safely said, the other prankster Pokègirls are not fond of being one-upped, or being the victim, rather than the victimizer.
Permeable: An odd variant of Phasing. When the using Permeable, the attack strikes the target and remains `stuck` within the target, without damaging them or delivering any effect, other than walking around with an arrow through her head or a firebolt through her chest. The effect lasts for five (5) minutes and the user can either dissipate the attacks safely, or hold them at full force. After this five minute period, she can take three minutes to harmlessly dissipate any `retained` attacks, without them going off, or she can release them to let them fly off in random directions, or she can let them affect her normally.
No attacks of any kind are possible while this defense is active, nor during the dissipation time, and the released attacks cannot be reaimed. Nor can it be activated again for five minutes after shut down, although the three minute dissipation period counts as part of the recycle time.
All forms of attacks can be `restrained` this way, except a physical blow (punch, kick, etc.) Weapons can be held, e.g., A Magic Punch could be retained, a Comet Punch could not, however, Elemental Blades and Elemental Blades Mk II can be retained, as can any other weapon from swords to gunfire.
The danger in punching or kicking a MaryAnn Drews using this technique, is that breaking her concentration will result in a random release of the attacks she has restrained, like punching a live grenade, it doesn't aim, but you're closest. Likewise, if the MaryAnn Drew is still in the radius of a released attack, she will be affected normally.
Typically, the only thing a MaryAnn Drew will do when using this technique is stagger around, intercept more attacks, and proclaim her impending demise. She cannot use any other attacks and will rarely use other abilities or defenses. It should be noted that any Pokègirls engaged (enemies or allies) who are given the choice in their targets, will shoot her in preference to anyone or anything else on the field. Therefore this technique is banned in League-sponsored matches, unless the MaryAnn Drews is actively participating in the match (as combatant, not a bystander or reserve) and the judges typically suspend any time-limits restrictions for the duration.
Fossils 9 - Finale by Kelvin's Choice
Fossils 9 - Finale by Kelvin's Choice
I lay on my back, a burning pain across my chest, watching the bottom of a Widow pass over me. The joints well covered by the seemingly baroque curves to deflect attacks, which double as additional attack blades, the careful avoidance of `shot traps`, and above all, all curved surfaces to redirect any attack. I can appreciate the deadly efficiency of the design, since I just got a taste of it. It's yet another thing I really don't want to know, a taste is more than I ever wanted. I find myself wondering, how many have seen it up close, the details, and survived? Widows tend to dissolve on death, so it would have to have been a living specimen. Odd the thoughts one has at such times.
Then it's gone, I hear nothing but the sound of it's retreating tread. No, not 'it', Jamie. The only mark on me is the welt across my chest where the Widow knocked me down. For a Widow, not killing you is practically an act of Agape love, love as a god might love. The others are equally stunned, and equally undamaged. She had brushed Forseti and Denephew aside, the CameraGirl seems stunned to still be alive and touches her unwounded spot as to highlight her disbelief. I understand her incredulity, I remember the look of fury on Jamie's face, the all-consuming need for revenge on those who had hurt her in a way no one else could fully comprehend.
What blows through me now is a cold wind of mad lucidity, a certainty born of thought shorn of all concerns except the goal. I wonder if this clarity of purpose is what makes the Widows so deadly, they let nothing distract them from the facts. These facts are: the 'Being of Forever Darkness' and its army surround us, there will be no help for us, the Being and the army must be destroyed. The phrase 'at any cost' echoes in my mind, and the decision comes easily. It shouldn't. I should run screaming from thought like this. A truly sane man would, but I cannot afford to be sane, if I am to achieve my goal. The 'dex says Widows are the deadliest Pokègirls alive that's not a Legendary. I needed a weapon, now I have one, if I'm willing to wield it. I am, the cost of not using it is so high, too high. I turn the world upside-down, and the smallest, most obvious answer falls right in my lap. It is ironic that having survived looking on death-personified, I'd willingly, unhesitatingly chose to throw my life away.
I see myself gesture, I hear myself speak, as if it I am watching from the outside, watching the last act of a Greek tragedy. The script is written. The players foredoomed. I need only to cast the parts. I order Sally and Forseti into the air to provide air cover for Jamie as she attacks. The Pokègirls stare at me in stunned incredulity. I calmly repeat the order. As she takes to the air, I hear Forseti mutter that I've gone out of my mind. I want to tell them I know what I am doing, that I am in control, but I cannot speak so grand a lie. Being blown by the winds of fate like this, none of us are in control of what will happen. Not I, not Jamie, not even The Being of Forever Darkness. It has set this in motion and it runs on rails. I take the obvious step, and the conclusion is inevitable.
I am glad the pair made me make it an order. It will make things easier later, for them. I am already as dead as Jamie and Reb. I find the thought . . . peaceful.
I climb atop Sarah. Deniece slides in front of me. Her expression is terrified. I believe she knows what is coming, or suspects, but it is too important to ignore. Her recordings will preserve it, exonerating the others, condemning Jamie and me. On that score, I have no regrets. I am even glad that Gray, Red and Jeremy are not tainted by my actions, they are well out of this. So many other things to repent, and the one that will kill me I embrace eagerly and proudly. Perhaps Jamie is not the only one who has gone mad. Toni and Denephew mount Karrie and look expectantly at me. I see myself point, hear the words from my mouth. We charge down the trail of splintered trees and shattered boulders that Jamie left in her passage.
Deniece comments that Widows have never been known for their speed. I hear it, but as if from a long distance away, as if she's an actor in a movie, the line having been delivered long ago, far away and immutable. I am watching events unfold rather than directing my part of them. It's an odd, eerie feeling, to understand all going on around me, the character's motivations: Jamie's pain and rage, the other's fear, the enemy's misplaced surety, all of it molded and used to my ends, yet none of it touches me. I cannot direct it. I have made my decision, set the wheels in motions and everything runs to its course. Even me.
The first outriders are a mixed pack of Amazons/Heros: -chan, -lee, -kapoeraa and -wu. They realize too late that death is upon them. As they stare unmoving, Jamie rears up on her last pair of legs and strikes with the other six. I have seen old movies of the effect of a machinegun on massed troops. This is the same. Each strike pierces a head or chest, driving an armored limb clear through it. The fifty or more warriors are dead in an instant, only a few even had the chance to scream.
Their platoon leader, a lone Demoness, arrives mere seconds later. Even her hard heart is reduced to splinters by the carnage. She stares at Jamie and falls dumbstruck. What might become a serious battle ends as Jamie leans her entire upper body backward to the limit, then hurls it forward like the arm of a catapult. Her instant of pain, shock and uncertainty costs the Demoness her life. A blob of Hypervenom catches the shocked Demoness in the face and chest. She is a screaming, dissolving mess as we race past her writhing form. I can see the shock on Deniece's face as she realizes just what her friend has truly become. I haven't the heart to tell her that Jamie is what we all must become, for a little while.
Jamie races off, her work done. The first air patrol spots her: an Avariel, a Butter-She, a Malakim and a Skarmory. I feel a moment of pity for the Butter-She, a pretty noncombatant caught where she should not be. The others are warriors, they know it is their place to fight and die. The Avariel and the Butter-She are destroyed at range by lightning and fire, becoming balls of fire before they can make a pass on Jamie. The remaining two seem stunned that anyone would be assisting a Widow, but change targets to attack the diving Chimera. Forseti is immediately on the defensive, chibifying herself to make a smaller target, then dodging and weaving through the air against two powerful and skilled opponents. Sally Dazzles the Malakim and guts her with a Dark Blade strike. The Fallen Angel's exultation, in finally fighting an unrestricted battle, remains undimmed. I know that cannot last for her, and her shame will match her rapture.
Jamie has crouched down and leaps into the air, pirouetting through all three dimensions as she launches another Hypervenom shot. It neatly misses Forseti as she dodges, and the Skarmory dutifully flies through it. Her metal skin peeling back as the corrosives and teratogens attack it and burrow into the flesh beneath. As a wailing, mewling collection of corroded metal and raw speed, what's left of the Jet Pokègirl crashes into one of the camps. Untold screams and dozens of secondary explosions erupt from the camp. I don't want to consider the carnage of that landing.
The first, nearest camp has been alerted. They must think they are prepared. Dozens of warriors of all types stand massed and ready. They stand ready to destroy any foe foolish enough to challenge their `invincible` might. Any other time, I would feel pity for them, now I pray the nightmare is enough. They unleash a Hellish fusillade into the approaching Widow. Despite the terrible damage to the terrain, Jamie gavottes untouched among the explosions and dust clouds, dancing a ballet of ridicule that seems to invite further attacks, and suddenly she's gone completely. The rest of us take our opportunity. We rake their entire formation. Lightning, fire, dark, ice all explode amid their legion, wounding some, distracting all. Some scream, others fall stoically. All are enraged by our `trickery`.
As if to answer some unwritten plan, or answer why such a feeble force would attack them, they foolishly reorient themselves to deal with the `real` threat. And Jamie appears among them, slashing, biting, stinging. Amachamps, an Iron Maiden, even another Demoness are no match for the explosion of violence that descends on them, compared to a Widow, we are a mere trifle, that does not prevent us from giving our all. Toni and Karrie continue to lob massive fireballs to explode among those not engaged with Jamie. With more precise bolts of fire and lightning, Forseti picks off those who try to flee, while her ice continues to support Jamie's assault. Trifles we are, yet none can withstand the combination. The few who know they cannot, look to any place they can flee. Sally and Sarah have both drawn their Dark Blades and wade into the fight against those who refuse to stand and die against Jamie. If they thought Jamie and Forseti were the only real force on the field, they find they are mistaken. Sarah bites and slashes with her hooves as her blade cuts down terrified Pokègirl after terrified Pokègirl. Deniece tries and fails to both record it all, and shut out the screams. I know she cannot hope to do both, but I do not scorn her attempt. I make no attempt to rein in her bloodlust or Sally's. I find myself wishing for a weapon to wield, something, anything to lose my thoughts in, so I won't know what must be coming.
My best weapon and my worst curse are still my mind. When Jamie breaks off her battle, I shout to Karrie and Toni, gesturing at the camp. They know instantly what I am asking and are uneasy, but obey. Sally and Forseti are already after Jamie as we follow in their wake. I realize that Sarah is effortlessly and automatically following the path our Widow is taking. Not just because it is clearly marked by the many fallen bodies that Jamie has left strewn in her path. Broken, bleeding and poisoned, then cast aside, to die or not she no longer cares. Something else has driven Jamie to run between the tents and makeshift building at some moments, and through them at another. Something draws her on a track she cannot escape, draws her as inexorably as a magnet draws iron. Sarah feels the same trail leading her on. She moves along it with a steady, almost monomaniacal assurance. Deniece and I catch glimpses of the Widow, hear the screams cut short that tell of her passage.
I wonder if I should feel sorrow or sympathy for those in the devastated camp around us, as the smoke from Karrie and Toni's arson rises into the air. Not from the wasted lives and destroyed property we spread among them, but that it comes with no warning, gives no opportunity to repent. Or is it better to leave them to die, not understanding the evil they have done. As much innocent victims of The Being of Forever Darkness, as Reb, as those they have slaughtered. I cannot bring myself to think of them as people, people I have helped kill. Better to think of all of them together as an army, an army we have cruelly, though not yet fatally, wounded. An army we continue to bore through, until we find its heart and head. Then the killing will truly matter. Perhaps it will be better for me to share their fate, to expiate my sin of assisting, even orchestrating a Widow's depredations with my death. Never in League history has anyone aided a Widow. Until me, until now. Perhaps later the need will be seen, the logic debated, and even affirmed. Perhaps they will see Jamie's attacks as precisely directed vengeance, rather than a Widow's typical insanity. I doubt they will accord me the same embellishment. No doubt, their first reaction will be, correctly, to destroy us both. Her by overwhelming and remorseless violence. For me as well, though I will be afforded the formality of a trial. Tamers have been executed for failing to report a Widow or her depredations, abetting the monster's later murders. I have to wonder what will my fate be, what kind of object lesson will be made of me? A good clear one I hope. May it be 10,000 years before anyone decides to follow my example.
We clear the camp and get out in the forest again. For an instant no new screams add to the cacophony. Jamie continues to run so quickly that Sarah has a hard time keeping up. I overhear the voice-over Deniece is supplying for her recordings, and her crosstalk with Denephew, who is with the `arsonists`. I can hear the strain in her voice, as she sees and records what must seem a nightmare made real. She must know what those records will be used for. She collects evidence for my prosecution, and the debate which will rock the League for months, if not years. That the true monster rides behind her, keeping her in her seat as we ride. Jeremy is well out of this disaster. He would not understand, that civilization is not a suicide pact. That there are times for total barbarism and that those who loose it, will pay the price. No matter the cause they loosed it for. I cannot console Deniece, because this is such a time, all I could tell her is that anything else would be worse. Such is cold comfort for a young idealist. This is a war for survival. There is no quarter to be offered when death is what your enemy desires, for you and for themselves.
The second camp is better prepared or more fearful, or both. Smoke marks the death of their comrades, the pillaging of their victory. A makeshift barricade blocks the direct route into the camp. The defenders suddenly find Karrie's team behind them, courtesy of Denephew's teleport. By fire they are pinned against a wall, with a Widow behind them. Fire sweeps over them, some climb their barricade, others try to surrender. Karrie flees with her charges as she sees what is coming next. Jamie leaps to the top of the barricade and sprays her paralysis venom and acid on the defenders, leaving them to die in the fires that Karrie and Toni had set. Jamie leaps deep within the camp and is lost to our sight. There is a horrible grace and artistry to it, as if a ballet of slaughter, to appease some blood-besotted god. Not just Jamie, but Forseti, Sally, Sarah, even I have surrendered to its rhythms and call. The aesthetic of events draws us to act in a particular way. Our foes are drawn in as well, as if they know their part is to die. Most stand and accept it, or run from one death to another. Those that escape Jamie, run straight to Sally, or Forseti, or Sarah. I can imagine the fascinated horror of those who will endlessly watch and analyze the recordings of actions taken. It is wrong to be proud of this, or think it beautiful, but the girls mesh and cover each other admirably, occasionally I hear myself give warnings or make corrections. But I am not writing the script, just dressing the set, tuning the choreography. I doubt Jamie obeys, but I am certain she listens. Sarah and I bypass the entire camp, swinging wide around and firing the occasional shot at some straggler who chances too close. Fires and shrieks spring up in numbers uncountable, eliminating this place as a threat to the League and its people.
Jamie bursts out of the camp behind us. Sarah retains enough reason to realize a Widow always has the right-of-way. Deniece stares at the creature she is and has been filming, as Jamie passes less than 5 meters away from us. I wonder if anyone has ever recorded a Widow in battle, and lived to tell about it. Will we be the first? Jamie pauses and lets out a shriek of pure animal rage and joy, the first sound she's made since setting Rebecca's lifeless body aside during her evolution. Once done, she is again on the track of whatever has possessed her. Forseti and Sally flying escort above, seemingly welcome or beneath her notice. I don't know which. Three of six in ruins, a fourth before us and naught has touched us. Luck, skill or surprise, it cannot last. These are foot soldiers, the Being awaits.
In the distance, I see the tall stone spire. A fitting place to exhort the troops, offer the sacrifices and call down the final destruction of the world. Another air sweep, a pair of Dracasses this time. Forseti performs a complex spiral maneuver, while sniping at the pair, all the time diverting them from their quarry below, and from Sally coming up from behind. One `realizes` the feint and turns back to Sally, as Sarah, Karrie, and Toni fire on the Dracass in unison. Forseti grapples with the second, her massive strength letting her break the dragon-type's neck with a swift stroke. The corpse falls while Sally strikes the second. A squadron of Pidgys, Love Doves and other noncombat flying types see their fate and flee, scattering in all directions. Their Succubus leader is pierced through with lightning, fire, shadows and ice from sky and ground. She effectively dissolves in midair. Too late our foes comprehend that we do not fight in the tournament style. We are not after captives to swell our ranks. We play by their rules, we slaughter without pause, subject only to our plans. They thought themselves wolves descending on the sheepfold. They should have realized why the map legend clearly warned, 'Here There Be Monsters'.
My warning comes in time, as the Hyperdoll's blast chars the air where Sally had been. This creature we have seen before. She is a fool to believe this will end better for her. The second Dracass, though wounded by the earlier attack, swings high to loop in to cover the Hyperdoll. However, at the bottom of the loop, she finds herself face to face with a Widow, who bites out her throat before she can scream. Rended pieces land along with Jamie. The Hyperdoll expects to be covered, and is shocked when Sally literally stabs her in the back. Forseti snaps the shocked girl's neck and drops the corpse to the ground as both return to cover Jamie's advance.
The third camp is either deserted, or they got the word to stay off the streets. Forseti, Karrie and Toni cause more damage as they set the place afire, than Jamie causes in her passage. Sarah, Deniece and I pass through totally unmolested. It also lets me see our quarry for the first time, what has drawn Jamie and Sarah to it, what has set the entire chain of events in motion. Not our fugitive, that gray-haired old man, but the ridiculously-oversized black sword he carries. We failed to keep it from his grasp. Now we will see its powers first-hand. If I thought we had regained the advantage with Jamie, I know now I was wrong.
Sarah breathes its name, although if it is the man, the blade or the two together who are 'The Being of Forever Darkness', I do not know. None of the girls need be told that the enemy is in sight. They all can sense it. Only I cannot feel it, my certainty comes from elsewhere. They are all advancing straight at him, and it. There is no question of mercy for us, now I've seen his face. We are driving him from his repose to his place of power. We dare not offer truce or quarter, and he assuredly will offer neither to us, save as a deception.
Suddenly he is not there, but atop the stone spire. The girls continue their remorseless advance. No others dare to stand in our way. Yet, some instinct presages disaster, and I shout a warning to all the others. I have already sawed Sarah around as the man raises his sword, both man and blade are shrouded by a dark radiance so impenetrable they may have been consumed by it. Haloed with flashes of white lightning, the pair reappears. Their unholy summons calls forth a ball of absolute darkness easily three meters across. The ball too possesses a halo of lightning, as if to mock the world of light and fire. Somehow I know the eldritch fact, this force answered an earlier summons, and wiped out Cooper's Stand, this is what felled the other towns. I have no desire to see and experience it working up close and personal. Our foe releases it, setting it to lazily drift towards us. Then it picks up speed, tracking Jamie's movements, seeking her as a hunting dog-type would sniff out her quarry.
Sally and Forseti race in to stand against it, delivering everything they can against the fast-moving sphere. Jamie runs an evasive pattern, drawing the sphere this way and that, yet fast as she is, she cannot outrun or evade it. It doesn't appear to weaken with time or distance.
My own search is more concrete, in the last camp I had spotted a crevasse. When the blast flattens the area, perhaps it will be deep enough. As I drive Sarah away from the man and back through the camp, Deniece frantically looks across my left side and my right, tracking Jamie as the Widow tries to evade or draw the ball where she wants it to go. That Jamie is not done yet, is abundantly clear. If she is buying time for us or seeking a crevasse all her own, I don't know. As I spot the crevasse I had searched for, and direct Sarah in, Karrie and Toni are close behind. I look to the sky, to see Forseti and Sally climbing as high as they can, as fast as they can. Perhaps they will evade by height what we seek to escape by depth. There is no time to call to Jamie, no certainty she would obey, and no certainty she could make it to us if I and she did. I hope for a Widow's survival. Perhaps I have lived too long.
Sarah dives into the depression, throwing us off and throwing herself on top of us. The noise that follows is the loudest I've ever heard in my life.
The smell of scorched flesh and burned earth fills the air. The only sound is like the clink of cooling glass. As I crawl out from under Sarah, I can feel the heat radiating off the ground above us. The walls of the crevasse are less than a meter over my head. They'd been five times that when we dove in here. The rest was packed down and compressed, along with everything and everyone in the camp. Rivulets of molten stone dot the walls along the slope I climb, although they are cooling rapidly. I reach the top and pause, the heat radiating from the glass-smooth ground singes my face and chars my unshaven beard. I look around in horror, glad I am able to feel such a thing again, after my period of madness. Lucidity and empathy are no gift when such a sight greets your eyes, imagination and memory an equal curse when such a smell covers everything.
The enemy's largest camp is a flat, glass-floored expanse, three others are half-burned, corpse-strewn ruins. Smoke marks the others. All have been felled, to decimation or worse. The army of 'The Being of Forever Darkness' is broken, if not annihilated, yet none of that matters. Such a miraculous victory at such a terrifying cost should have meaning. But The Being of Forever Darkness stands untouched on his pinnacle, staring disdainful at his handiwork. In one blow, he beggared the greatest slaughter in the last three centuries I have ever heard of, let alone taken part in. He killed more of his own than we had. If his army had any chance to rally to his banner, he burned that bridge as thoroughly as the scorched land around us.
Deniece climbs up, carefully avoiding the hottest spots. She seeks to look at and record the carnage. To watch the play to its climax. Karrie staggers up, holding Toni upright, while Denephew mutely stares off to the side. I follow her gaze.
Pulling herself up painfully, out of the hollow she had concealed herself in, is Jamie. Only three of her legs seem to work, of the five still attached. Both of her eyes on the side of her head facing us are ruined and her mandibles seem dislocated. Blood spurts from dozens of wounds on her body, leaving smoking pools on the flat, hot surface. No longer a magnificent killing machine, she is a mangled wreck no longer fit for battle, and not long for this world. It is a mercy for her and for us. I pray she can manage one final task, before she departs this world.
Jamie stares intently on the man who had tried to kill her, who had killed her lover and her hope. Her slow progress forward makes it clear he will launch another attack, long before she can reach him. Otherwise, he seems content to let her waste the waning moments of her life trying to get at him. He derides her efforts, enjoying her suffering as she approaches. He raises his sword in salute and motions her closer. He has forgotten that Jamie did not attack alone, that she is not alone.
The stone explodes underneath him, pitching him from his perch. Fire, ice, poison and lightning hammer him all the way to the ground as Forseti's four heads track his fall. When he hits, the sword springs away from where he has fallen. Forseti runs him through with a huge rock splinter, pinning him in place, before she signals the others. Toni, Karrie, Forseti, Sally and Sarah concentrate their fire on the man. None can stand steady, leaning on each other, but their attacks bore in unerringly. Jamie cocks her body and hurls a blob of Hypervenom at the sword where it lies. As the acidic poison touches the metal, it shrieks like a living thing. The ground also dissolves, making a basin for the venom to pool in. The man shatters the stone and tries to drag himself towards it, but his defenses are battered and under the relentless fire of the five girls, they fail. While the others rain death on the screaming man, Jamie continues to lob blob after blob of venom, covering the still-shrieking blade in a deepening pool of virulent vitriol. I watch silently. No advice or orders would improve their efforts.
The sudden quiet seems to bring everyone back to themselves. The others have lowered their hands and heads. Fatigue from battle and wounds, exhaustion from effort and shame bring them all low. I let them rest, the job is more than done, everything is finished.
Is not victory sweet? I want to shout in disgust, but I cannot find the energy.
The man is nothing more that a greasy, charred smear on the glassy pavement. His stone spire sheared away by the onslaught. The sword has fallen silent, as if slain by the bubbling pool of Hypervenom. No shouts of joy or exultation rend the air. All of us know the high cost of this victory, the price paid and what now hangs over us. All know common sense and decency demand one further death. I cannot ask them, will not order them. I must let the stain fall on me alone.
Only a continuing 'click-click' continues. Jamie persists in rearing back and hurling her upper body forward. The chitin plates of her armor riding over each other, making the sound.
I have done all I could hope to do, I realize, If there was any doubt as to my departed sanity in the recordings, this will eliminate it completely. I walk across the flattened terrain, the heat pains my feet even through my boots. I ignore it. The others may get a Level 4 Taming, the League or the University will find a place for them, while they investigate what happened here, and what they can admit happened. They may even find a way to keep it from happening again. There is always that hope. Then perhaps they will be free of whatever drove them. Red can be the girl she wants, perhaps find a new Tamer who loves her as I do. Sarah and Sally, and Lydia, will excise their own demons. Perhaps Gray will come to terms with what she is, and who she can be. I hear their cries of alarm as the Pokègirls realize what I am doing, but none of them dare follow me as I pick my way among the smoking pools of Widow's blood.
Jamie's wounds have ceased to spurt blood, most merely ooze, making the approach safer. Reminding me, my time is short. I could not leave a Jokette who was not a threat, I think in response to all the warning cries, This was my lover's lover, and my friend. I cannot, I will not leave her here, to die alone. Maybe she'll kill me, it is what Widows do, but that too would be a mercy. After what I have done. In death, Jamie and I can be heroes - alive . . . we present too many problems.
Jamie continues her almost mechanical attempts to hurl more death on the thoroughly obliterated sword. All the way back - click -, all the way forward - click. Again and again, over and over. With her ruined eyes, can she even see me? I ask myself, Will it matter?
"Jamie - it's over," I tell her softly, "It's over."
Her motion ceases. She seems to come back to herself. She turns to look at me with her front eyes. Her expression unreadable. I lay a hand on her shoulder. I don't fear her. We are both too far gone to worry about such things. She is dying, and we know it, I have a death sentence on me, and we know that too, I think as I take her human-looking hand in mine, I failed Rebecca, and her, maybe this small gesture will right the balance somewhat.
Any of those remaining limbs could kill me, so could those mandibles, I consider the Pokègirl before me, Gone is the rage that so consumed her, barely an hour ago. She looks tired, tired of life and of living. She looks at me, as if barely understanding. "It's over, it's gone."
She nods exhaustedly, slips her hand from mine and leans forward as far as her new body will allow. Her arms and head simply dangle there, not moving. She lost all she cared about in the world twice in one day: as an Arachnae, she lost her bonded lover, as a Widow, she lost the rage and spirit of vengeance that drove her. I look at the columns of smoke touching the sky as it answers the greater column that marks New Vegas. It reaches high, signaling that their nightmare is over, than their failure has been set right, that someone else has borne the cost to set things right.
I stand there, my hand on her shoulder. Whether she takes my life from spite or reflex, or the League officials do out of propriety, no longer matters. I lived an exciting life these last months, I think and sigh, my own tiredness matching hers, It will be good to rest, knowing what we all accomplished. "Sic semper tyrannis, consilio et armis, mori. Thus always to tyrants, by plans and by weapons, death."
Jamie chuckles at that.
-- The End --
-- of Fossils --
Rebecca 'Reb' Cooper
Red - Tanuki
Gray - StretchyMaid
Forseti - chibi Chimera
April - Billie head
May - Lioness head
June - Dragoness head
Summer - Snake head
Sally - Fallen Angel
Sarah - NightMare
Karrie - Rapitaur
Jamie - Arachnae/Widow
Toni - FireMaiden
Jenny Lydia - Nogitsune
'Jeremy' - Jesse Ventura
WIDOW, the Run For Your Life If You See One Pokègirl
Type: Tauric Inhuman (arachnid monster)
Frequency: Not Rare Enough
Role: Boogieman and ultimate terror
Libido: no one wants to know
Strong Vs: any except Dragon
Weak Vs: Dragon
Attacks: Poison Sting, Paralyze Sting, Poison Bite, Web, Phase, Invis, Acid Spray, Slice, Armor Punch, Hyper Venom
Enhancements: armored chitin, enhanced strength & speed, 360 degree vision, web spinners, poison sacs, hypnotic attack, ability to bite off and digest almost anything organic, extra arms
Evolves: Dryder (special; ejecting all poisons from itself)
Evolves From: Arachnae (extreme pain or Tamer's death)
Bounty (for confirmed kill): 900,000,000 SLC
Bounty (for reporting sighting & getting out alive): 40,000,000 SLC
Recommendation if you see one: Run the fuck away, dumbass!
Behold a nightmare made flesh.
This is not exaggeration, this is not a mistaken comparison to the NightMare breed of Pokègirl, this is the truth, plain and simple. Widows are the worst, the deadliest Pokègirl alive that's not a Legendary. They are destruction incarnate, the worst aspect of almost every sin made into spidery flesh. They are hateful creatures, and no one who has encountered them has anything good to say about them.
The problem is, no one really knows WHY they appeared. There are several theories that have arisen from this. The most common one is that Sukebe created them. When his original home was destroyed and his first animorphic creatures slain, he created Widows to gain his revenge, creating the more cute and cuddly breeds later on. Another theory, mainly put forward by Crimson League officials, state that the dreaded Pokègirl General, Athena, created them out of her rage against mankind. No one knows for certain, but everyone IS certain that they are among the most reviled of all Pokègirl breeds.
Widows are truly monstrous to behold. From the waist up, they are humanoid in appearance, however their skin, dark black in color, is laced with a chitinous armor that can take immense damage from nearly every type of attack. They have blood red, compound eyes all around their head, the back ones sparsely hidden by wisps of hair, allowing the Widow full three-hundred and sixty degree vision. Their jaws can split open at the chin, revealing razor-sharp mandibles and fangs that drip constantly with saliva. They have four arms. Two end in normal, five-fingered hands, but the lower pair end in long, curved blades that glisten with poison. Their cunt, just at the base of their waist, is lined with spikes around the labia, which inject a paralytic venom into a victim, making it easier for the Widow to do as she pleases with them. From the waist down, they are spidery in appearance. A massive spider's abdomen serves as a Widow's lower body, supported by four thick, powerful, hairy spider legs. On the back of the spider-abdomen is a prominent red hourglass, standing out clearly against the black fur of the Widow. The spider-legs are long and strong, and a Widow can balance herself on the two back legs to shoot webs or streams of acidic Hyper Venom. All who have reported seeing a Widow and are still alive tell of the nightmares they had for days afterwards upon seeing such a horrible creature.
Widows are horrible monsters of the worst sort, made all the more horrible by how they form. When an Arachnae, a perfectly innocent breed of Pokègirl, suffers extreme agony that turns into terrible rage, or suffers the pain of losing her Tamer, she morphs into this despair-bringer.
(Addendum by Professor Stroak: The knowledge of a Widow's pre-evolutionary form must not, repeat, MUST NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be revealed to the public. The backlash against Arachnaes, whose only crime would be a connection to this horrible breed, would be terrible, and many innocents would die. At all costs must the secret of a Widow's pre-evolutionary form be protected.)
Widows in combat are fierce, deadly fighters. Most attacks simply bounce off of their bodies, the only ones capable of affecting them being lightning and fire attacks, which serve little purpose but to accelerate the life-cycle of a Widow (see attached entry), and dragon-element attacks, which are the only things which can hurt them. Combat against a Widow is to be avoided at all costs if encountered alone.
Seriously, just run away. No matter how good you are, how powerful your girls are, a Widow is stronger, faster, deadlier, and just plain meaner.
Thankfully, no Threshold cases of turning into a Widow have been reported. Only two instances of a Widow being tamed are on record, and in both cases the Widows showed evidence of incomplete transformations resulting from being experimented on. Both have since evolved to Dryder.
A Widow's deadliest feature is its Hyper Venom. The worst kind of death in a tiny-little sting. Even the tiniest amount can result in horrifying mutilation, if not death.
Hyper Venom consists of a mixture of toxic, highly corrosive acids, various cancer cells, and a mixture of heavily toxic poisons. This is a highly potent combination, and the only known cure is the Infinity Antidote used by Venom Mistresses and the powers of the Legendary Pokègirl, Sexebi. Infinity Antidote is inherently magical, and can heal even the acidic damage of Hyper Venom. However, Venom Mistresses are rare and encounters with Sexebi are even rarer, making this an unreliable cure. The best way so far to save someone if a Venom Mistress or Sexebi is not on hand is amputation of the poisoned part of the body before the poison can spread.
An agonizing death is almost guaranteed upon being poisoned by Hyper Venom. So potent is this chemical mixture, that even Widows eventually are killed by the toxic poison inundating their bodies...
The Life Cycle of a Widow
The life of a Widow is short, agonizing, and violent. Here is a breakdown of the three phases of a Widow's life.
Phase One ][ Transformation
The first phase of a Widow, starting just after transformation, is the longest lasting one. The time it lasts varies, but at the most has been recorded at a month. In this phase, the Widow rampages around, destroying everything in its path, consuming Pokègirls it meets and generally causing havoc. It is at its most inhuman in this phase, its eyes glazed over with rage as it attacks everything in its way, stopping only to rest.
Phase Two ][ Remembrance
The second phase of a Widow's life, also the shortest phase, occurs after the time of rampaging in its first phase is over. They regain the intelligence they lost upon evolving, in rare cases getting their memories back as well. Widows are possessed with a tremendous urge to find a place to make a web and breed, and seek out a suitable place, building their web with studious ease. They will then seek out people to mate with, preferring human males, as they have the best chance of inducing pregnancy, and then kill and eat their mates, taking several days at a time to do it in. Once pregnant, they will go into a hibernation state in their lair, her eggs growing to birth level in mere months.
If the Widow manages to control these instincts, they can also forcibly eject all of the poisons and toxins from their bodies, resulting in evolution...
Phase Three ][ Life and Death
The final phase of a Widow's life occurs after they lay their eggs, two months after they are impregnated. Once the eggs are born, they organize them in a safe place. By this point, a Widow's body has lost its ability to fight off its own poisons and will be wearing down. They will have a haggard appearance, and act almost Feral. They will die shortly before their eggs hatch into Widow kits. So far, no reported nest of Widow's eggs has been allowed to survive.
Thus ends the tale.