Monday, July 10, 2017
Multiverse Desperado: A JumpChain Fiction Chapter 16
Chapter 16: Demons
Despite how much this galaxy has advanced, every race has their own living nightmares, their own boogeymen. For the krogan, they have the towering monstrosities of their home world: the Thresher Maws. Humanity has the overzealous Earth First nutters of Terra Firma and Cerberus. The quarians; the geth. As for the asari, I was staring into the cold dead eyes of one of them as she began to slowly incinerate my nervous system.
I could easily go into detail about how much pain I was in. After all, that's what a nervous system does, the whiny bastard. But the closest thing is I can muster is that it felt like I was drowning in liquid fire, gasping desperately for air that wouldn't come while the face of an azure executioner laughed at my pain like a sick sadist.
Then the pain stopped. It wasn't by some miracle of an outside force, I'm too unlucky for that. Morinth simply stopped.
I sharply gasped, filling my lungs with air and began to struggle, kicking legs and struggling against her vice-like grip. There was nothing rote or planned about it, my limbs were going on auto-pilot after the sensory assault they were under. Unfortunately, I wasn't her first victim, she had me pinned and I knew it. But everything in my being was screaming run. Like a gazelle under a lioness it was all over but the killing blow.
Morinth chuckled as she kept me pinned and leaned down, her breath hot in my ear.
“Don't worry my sweet thing, the Shadow Broker insisted on torturing you for information. After that, he said I can do with you what I please,” she trails a finger across my face, “so be a good girl and maybe I'll end your life quickly.”
I started getting proper control over my arms and legs again. I tried to summon my biotic power but it was a mere flicker of what should be there. I tried several times, blocking out Morinth's questions and focusing entirely on channeling my telekinetic power.
What truly makes an Ardat-Yakshi the stuff of asari legend is just how antithetical they are to the race's romanticized ideals. While the rest of the blue women preach a philosophy of universal love and understanding, embodying the ideals of a benevolent matriach, the exact opposite can be said for what would be called in their ancient language, “The Demon of the Night Winds.” Violent, harsh, sadistic, and their romantic encounters are as acyclical as a praying mantis due to their melding causing their mates to internally bleed to death. What makes that last part worse is that it is coupled with an increased libido, the fact that every mating increases their strength, and that they are borne sterile.
And I got a chance to feel that power upfront when she slammed down on my body with the force of a boulder.
The force knocked the air out of my lungs and I'm pretty sure one of my ribs got broken. But as I gasped for more breath, my torturer immediately grabbed me by the throat, pinning my down my free hand with a simple thought and effort of biotic power.
“Oh I'm sorry, was I not keeping your attention?” She said in mock concern, her lips in a pout. “Let's see what happens if I'm a bit more direct. Where did you come from and who do you work for?” She then started pressing on my windpipe.
“Come on dear, blink twice if you're gonna talk.” She mocked.
Damn my self-preservation instinct. I blinked twice as distinctly as I could. She loosened her grip.
“You got ten seconds.” she responded, her tone cold as ice.
“My name is Variza T'Som, that's the name I chose for myself when I arrived at the Citadel back in 2183. I may look like an asari but I'm not from this world,” I kept flexing my hands, looking for some biotic power I could still draw from, anything to give me an edge. Just had to keep talking, buy myself some extra time. “I'm actually an interdimensional being who originally started life on Earth in the early twenty-first century as a human male,”
Morinth rolled her eyes. “Alright, guess we're doing this the hard way then.” Then her eyes turned back into infinite pools of inky darkness and my body became completely paralyzed.
“Listen to me now, Variza, you will tell me your secrets to your company for my employer within the next thirty seconds, or you will open your window and jump out of it.” Her voice warped and menacing.
I felt my own body saying, “I will,” in a dreamlike haze, my own volition obliterated under her command.
“Where did you get the design for your weapon?”
“From a woman known as Jump, she provided me weapons from the future because I asked for them” I replied in total obedience. Even while in the backseat of my own mind I was messing with her. I would be laughing if I could.
I heard Morinth growl under her teeth despite maintaining eye contact with her deathlike glare.
“And who hired you to send out those designs to lure out the Shadow Broker's agents?”
“It was me. I was trying to find someone in the galaxy who could improve the weapon's design, hire them to make more, to help stop the coming of the Reapers.” I droned on.
“Yet you called the law in. Why? Are you trying to usher in on his turf.”
“I can't stand criminals and lowlife scum, it was an afterthought.” I replied truthfully. I felt something drip on my neck. Something warm and wet. I couldn't look down but I suspected it was from a nosebleed.
“Well then, I guess what I have here is someone a little crazy for their own good. You might be telling the truth, but they aren't facts.” Morinth hissed. But instead of yelling, she simply got up after quietly telling me to stay still, fished my pistol out of my discarded thigh holster, and threw out a hand towards my window, shattering it to pieces with a thought and letting the howl of Thessia's night life scream into my home.
“So Variza, looks like this will be the end of our little night together,” She said, slowly putting on her tight form-fitting leather outfit. “Honestly you might just be the worse lay I've ever had, but I'll get over it, so this is where you get out. I'll help myself to your stuff and get comfortable, no need to worry about me.” She ended that last sentence with a kiss on my cheek.
“Now get up, walk out that window and do a flip.” she spat venomously.
My body got up and took several steps towards the threshold. But thank god for my sense of self-preservation. I felt my legs gain control again and I told them to slam on the brakes. My hands balled up into defiant fists of rage, and I could feel my teeth grind against each other. Whatever Morinth was doing to me, I was fighting back.
It was after several eternal seconds that I turned to her and yelled, “No! And go fuck yourself!”
… straight into the barrel of my own pistol.
“Wrong answer sweetie,” she said casually and pulled the trigger.
The dead air was filled with several empty clicks.
Morinth's gaze turned to my pistol for a single crucial second. I took my opportunity and ran at her in a bull charge. I rammed into her chest at a dead sprint, hitting her solar plexus head-on, and followed up the assault with a vicious uppercut to her chin.
“Suri, security alert code red!” I yelled at my VI. A heartbeat later, the entire building was on lockdown, flashing red lights, reinforced blast doors and all.
Morinth casually discarded my pistol and drew her own from her suit and started firing. I stayed low and bolted, throwing in serpentine twists and turns and using everything I could for cover. My bed was shot to ribbons, my tables reduced to splinters, my radio turned into scrap metal, and my modern art pieces reduced to dust. And my damn biotics were still scrambled!
Then the elevator doors opened and the cavalry arrived: A squad of my Mk II LOKI mechs. They're still easily disposable and inexpensive, but some smart cookies at R&D managed to implement some basic shield generators into their design. Each one of them were equipped with some test versions of my new Inquisitor hand cannons, a modification of the Paladin model Jump gave me.
They began opening fire on Morinth. With a pivot, she turned to meet them and with a single raised hand summoned a biotic barrier to block the assault. It was like something from a nightmare. Those pistols can shred through geth and some of the best shield generators on the market, and there she was blocking three assaults like they were water pistols.
I desperately scanned the room, looking for my pistol, the dark red alarm lights not exactly making it stand out. There it was, near the remains of my flatscreen television monitor. I quickly scrambled to it as quietly as I could muster between the sharp pangs of anguish in my chest and the chaos of Morinth tearing apart my security detail with her mind and laughing like a psychopath. I quickly fumbled with several small buttons on the side until I finally saw my weapon emit a blue holo display. I stood up and entered a firing stance.
By the time she was in my sights, Morinth had turned to re-face me. My mechs were completely destroyed and the elevator was torn to pieces. No way any of us was getting out of here, and my commandos were officially cut off from me. I squeezed off several rounds. Morinth put up her hand and called up another barrier. As expected , the rounds impacted on her shield, then the rounds continued through at roughly the same ballistic force as a riot gun, striking her in the stomach and collarbone. She stumbled back from the force, her barrier collapsing to nothing.
“Here's a trade secret for you, Morinth. DNA guard on the pistol, phasic rounds to deal with biotic assassins.” I aimed for her head. “Take that with you to hell, asshole.”
She roared in response and flung out a tidal wave of biotic force, forcing me off my feet as gravity ceased to work in my area. I held on to my pistol like it was a goddamned life preserver and went for one last clear shot.
She screamed like a bat out of hell and threw me towards the splintered and spiked remains of my bed. I took my shot.
The last thing I saw before my vision became nothing but stars was her head snapping back then hanging limp.
I collapsed, my vision a blurry haze of red and white. Some of my ribs were definitely broken, and my body was covered in a thousand wooden pins and needles.
“Suri,” I managed to choke out. “Contact the Thessia authorities,” I sucked in another breath and swore a few times. “And inform Samara of the Justicars that she should be on the scene. On her family honor.”
“Messages sent Miss T'Som. It is currently late, you really should try to get some rest.” The VI responded.
I turned to look at the mangled monstrosity that was once where I rested my head. Yeah, like that'll happen tonight.
It was some time later before my commando unit made their way up to me. The elevator may have been out but they made due with some biotic levitation, grapnel devices, and some well placed kinetic charges to remove the crushed tin can that was the elevator. The authorities came in and took Morinth's body away, helped me get dressed and asked for my testimony. I was as honest as I had to be. I didn't care how much I was shaking, I was just glad to be alive.
It wasn't until I was put up at a hotel nearby that I got a visitor. I slowly limped to the door, pistol in hand, other hand covering the wrappings around my stomach.
“Who is it?” I asked.
She simply opened the door and walked through. Samara, was a tall asari Matriarch, and her age and confidence as a warrior was made abundantly clear in her gait. The kind of conditioned body language you get from someone who has fought for their life thousands of times over. She was in her ruby red suit and she had her own pistol clipped to her hip. An Inquisitor, like mine.
“Miss T'Som. I trust you are recovering well?” She said with a tone of practiced yet detached concern.
“Yes I am, at least as well as I could be after facing an Ardat-Yakshi.” I responded.
She smiled at that. But it quickly vanished.
“You find it hard to be around me, don't you?” I inquired.
“The Codes of Subsumation make it perfectly clear what my duties are. One is to punish the guilty, you are a criminal with a long list of horrific deeds under your belt. But another is to uphold the status quo of the galaxy. You served a sentence by the Council, and have been absolved, redeemed by them.”
“Such is the life you chose, Samara. One of pure right and wrong. I understand.” I empathized. I offered her a seat and continued. “That is exactly why I am glad you heard my call because I wanted to offer you two things. First, the knowledge that your daughter Morinth will no longer haunt the galaxy and that your secret is safe with me.”
Samara's flashed with a pang of sadness but then recomposed herself.
“And the second is a mission from the hero of the Citadel himself, Commander Shepard. Your Justicar code demands that you do everything within your power to protect the innocent. How do you feel about helping a bunch of heroes save the galaxy?”
“Please... tell me more.” She asked, intrigued.
Looks like my mission just started earlier than I expected.