Oblivion (7)

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Parallel 7832: Spirit Plane Earth

Emilio sat in a puddle of spiritual effluvium. His last attempt at manifesting had gone poorly. His last few attempts in fact.

“Concentrate,” the old sage said.

“That’s all I’ve been doing for the last hour,” Emilio replied.

“You talk a lot for someone who is concentrating.”

“Shut up for a second, will ya?”

The sage was rather nonplussed by the attitude. Emilio began again. His energy was in flux, bouncing between his chakras. His emotions were barely under control. What had Jael said about clearing the mind and visualizing what he wanted to achieve? It was so long ago, but eventually the words came to him.

“Good. Your aura is stabilizing. Keep at it,” the sage said.

Shut your face anus, Emilio thought. He felt the energy well up inside him and channeled it to the proper places. The chi-regulator chip handled the overflow while the suit’s micro-plasmic cables kept the rest of it going in the right direction. Manifest your true nature. Manifest your true nature. A mental mantra, calling the thing from the void. The energy coalesced in his palms, arcing back and forth across his heart chakra.

From the astral realm it came. Legs made of ectoplasm, pincers made of painful thoughts. Emilio’s Bound Scorpion was born into the universe. It’s birth scream was a tiny pitiful thing.

“Yes! I did it! In your face!” Emilio gloated, air thrusting his pelvis.

“A scorpion. How fitting. You’ve done well. By doing this, you’ve achieved the first mark of summoning proficiency. Now for the second… you must defeat mine.”

“Sure. Easy. It’s like a lizard or something, right?” Emilio asked.

The sage grinned. He clenched his fists and a massive wave of energy burst out of him. It’s vague shape formed into a colossal dragon. It’s roar rent the heavens, cleaved the earth in twain and made the scorpion piss itself.

“Yes. A lizard.”

* * *

Parallel 14: BioHack Earth

Emilio hadn’t seen very many kung fu films. Not as much as Xiao had. It was the man’s guilty pleasure. What he was certain of, though, was that most of the things people did in those films were probably on the far side of impossible. He thought that, until he saw Jael and his fellow Brothers lay into the mob of pleasure freaks. It couldn’t have looked any cooler if they had choreographed it. Not a movement wasted, not one misplaced strike. Jael was most impressive of all, spinning, ducking and cutting through foes like a human blender. His reverse needle shirt was doing wonders against the flesh of his foes.

Emilio didn’t have time to gawk. A man with bull horns grafted to his chest charged him. He dove out of the way and the man ran into a wall. Emilio grabbed the leg of a chair and whacked the man’s pudgy head again and again until the guy fell over. Someone else ran at him, this one’s body covered with feathers. He cawed and flapped manically toward Emilio’s face.

“Okay, let’s see what this suit can do,” Emilio said, scrolling through menus in his helmet’s HUD. He saw one called “Engorge” and wondered what it did. No time to read the description, he realized. He selected it and his suit puffed up and hardened. The bird man spastically flapped around Emilio, but did no damage.

“Hey, if you’re a bird guy, does that mean you have a cloaca?” Emilio asked.

“What the hell is that?” the bird guy asked. Emilio grabbed the bird guy’s leg, lifted him up and punched him right in the nards.

“Doesn’t matter,” Emilio said. The bird person fell down with a squawk.

“Nice shot!” Jael yelled.

“Sure cooked his goose, didn’t I?” Emilio asked.

“What?” Jael yelled over the screaming.

“Nevermind!”

A man that was more piercings than man came charging next, followed by a slimy dude with slug stalks on his head and a guy with four arms and three legs. Emilio panicked for a moment until he realized that none of these guys knew how to fight. All Emilio had to do was maneuver just right and he could keep them at a distance, stumbling over themselves thanks to their biohacks. They didn’t stand a chance of hitting him. He scrolled past Crop Duster and Rug Burn in the chip menu and selected one called “Penetrate”. His right arm went rigid and the radial support rod shot out by his wrist. He grabbed the nearest one, slug guy, and started jackhammering his gut with his new weapon. Slug guy melted into goo from the ferocity of the attack. Peircing guy swung a chair at Emilio, which shattered against his engorged body. Emilio turned and swung at his face, taking most of it. Emilio almost hurled in his helmet. Blood and goo everywhere. Disgusting!

Four arm guy turned to flee and Emilio decided to let him go. In fact, he started looking for a way out himself. He hoped Jael and the others would make it out okay, but he couldn’t stay here. He pushed through the mob, taking a lot of hits, but not feeling anything in his engorged state. Anyone who tried grabbing him quickly felt the pain of gettting jack hammered in the face. He was almost to the front of the building when someone yelled, “Cannon!” Emilio screamed a thousand curses and ran for the nearest wall away from the aim of the Man Cannon. An explosion behind him flung him head over heels into the unyielding stone of the far side of the building. He struggled to get his air back but more of the mob were already closing in.

Emilio screamed, wildly swining his arm back and forth, but the mob overwhelmed him and held his arms down. Someone tried to take his helmet off, but it was stuck good and tight. A woman stood over him. She announced her plan to melt him out of the suit. Then she lifted her meat skirt and Emilio saw a hose connected to two sacs of what appeared to be acid hanging between her legs. Proboscis like, the hose lifted up and aimed itself right at Emilio’s face. Emilio uttered every swear he knew, struggling to get free.

Jael swooped in, knocking off the two holding Emilio down and slicing the others standing nearby. Emilio’s helmet auto selected a chip based on contextual factors and a small needle protruded from the helmet’s mouth area. It shot a powerful short burst laser at the woman’s sacs, which set off the liquids inside them, causing them to explode up and into her body. The woman fell over, dead before she hit the ground.

“Holy shit!” Emilio yelled.

“Keep at it! We almost have them beat back!” Jael shouted.

“I’ll try to find a way to flank them!” Emilio lied.

“Be careful!” Jael shouted back.

Emilio found a subfunction under Engorge called “Ram”. He felt the suit pump up near his legs while his arms and shoulders hardened considerably. He’d never played football or rugby but he did his very best impression of a champion runner pushing through the crowd. A lot of the softer ones in the mob crumpled under him. Even the beefier guys and gals had trouble holding him back. Finally, (finally!), he broke through. That’s when he came face to face with the Man Cannon. The anus/muzzle started dilating.

Emilio had an idea. He selected the face laser, something called “chiselingus”, and screamed, “Fuck you!”

The laser shot directly into the open cannon muzzle. The Man Cannon made a constipated/bloated face, then he exploded with the force of dynamite. Only the suit’s auto-shield function saved Emilio’s life. Most of the mob surrounding the Man Cannon were obliterated instantly. One or two brothers died as well from caustic shrapnel. The mob moaned and wailed at the loss of their precious cannon. More new faces appeared at the edges of the melee, but upon seeing the carnage they quickly turned tail and ran. The seige was over. Clarity was safe. The brothers cheered. Jael stopped mid cheer when he realized he didn’t see Emilio anywhere. He found him in the rubble, half awake. His helmet was buzzing an error message. The suit was a mess. Jael couldn’t find any blood though, so he hoped that was the extent of the damage.

“Emilio? Emilio! Can you hear me?” Jael asked.

“Fucking… Man Cannon,” Emilio mumbled.

“Stay with me. You’ll be all right. Clear your mind and visualize what it is you want. Keep visualizing.”

“Jael?” Emilio asked.

“Yes?”

“Get away from me.”

“What’s wrong?”

“The suit. It’s gonna…”

“What? What is it, Emilio?”

“It’s gonna…”

“Keep it together, man! What?” Jael asked.

The suit pulsed once, pulsed twice, then disappeared from the universe. Jael saw the horrified looks of his brothers as he fell through the gash in space and into the cold infinite oblivion beyond. He fell for all eternity in that black void. The only sensation he could feel was the feeling of nothing all over his face. And a hand grabbing hold of him. Leading him somewhere.

When Jael opened his eyes again, he was somewhere else. Tall trees surrounded him in every direction. Vines hung from thick branches and animal calls of every sort assaulted his ears. It was warm and humid. The morning sun was just peaking above the horizon. He was in a jungle, he realized. But where?

 

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