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Изменено (Azidamadjida): 4/11/2017 9:37:46 PM

REEF MOB, Ch. 74: Revenge of the Talons, Part III

If you missed the last chapter of REEF MOB, you can find it [url=]here[/url], or if you need to find a previous chapter, you can find them all in the [url=]Table of Contents[/url]. Please give a bump or leave a comment if you enjoy this and any other chapter! *** Chaos reigns just beyond the boundaries of darkness – I feel every tendril, every strike, every counter – I feel the assassins that broke into my cell to exact their vengeance, and I feel their terror as they one-by-one come to realize the desperate mistake in their action. [i]Do something!![/i] Ari cries in my head. [i]Take control![/i] [i]Screw them, they came to do violence and were met in kind[/i], Avi replies scornfully. [i]Just the way of the universe.[/i] I feel torn, conflicted – both are right, and both are wrong. [i]I controlled SIVA for as long as I could, but she couldn’t be controlled forever. This was inevitable right from the beginning. I’m just a puppet, and a monster. And I have no control over what I do.[/i] I feel the red tendrils seizing more of the assassins, and as I look at the familiar sigil their armor bears, I feel even more guilt – [i]They’re Talons. Come to kill me for killing their own.[/i] I remember the small, dingy room, the neon haze bleeding through the window and the bare red bulb beneath which we hoped to conduct our business in secret. [i]The Mob struck a deal, a universal vault key for a weapon we were promised could not only unite the Reef, but repel all future challengers. But I hated the Fallen I met with. Why? I honestly can’t even remember why I wanted them dead anymore… …and I’m scared that I won’t know, because there is no answer. I killed them because that’s what I do: I kill. Now I’m just better at it than ever before. This was what I was meant to become, this – Oh, blow it out your ass![/i] I pause my maudlin musings as Avi’s voice breaks through, countering me. [i]Who cares about what happened then, pay attention to what’s happening now! You think being a killer’s so bad? Try the alternative!!! But when does it end?[/i] Ari interjects, offering his opinion. [i]Killers breed rivals and revenge, just look at what’s happening now – So we just give up and die? Let them kill – We don’t have a choice[/i], I sigh heartlessly. [i]There’s no way to control SIVA, she’s got complete control…[/i] I watch the red tendrils seize another Talon, absorbing him, before suddenly another combatant emerges, leaping in front of me out of nowhere, pointing a hand cannon at me – [i]Who the hell is that?[/i] Avi wonders internally as the figure seems to freeze in midair, looking at me dead in the eye – [i]It can’t be[/i]… Ari whispers in my mind. Images feed into my mind, pulled from Ari’s as he tries to make me realize who it is – [i]Ia. What’s she doing here?[/i] And I suddenly feel afraid, terrified that there’s something left to lose in this fight. [i]If SIVA gets her…[/i] But I don’t finish the thought – turning my attention back to the Talons, I wrestle in the darkness of my own mind, swimming through the fog and compulsions and directives to take back control – But SIVA feels me and pushes me back down, forcing me to impotently watch the Talons being absorbed and turned into just more soldiers for our army – [i]I can’t do it,[/i] I think sadly, angrily. [i]Always the little bitch[/i], Avi remarks snidely, his contempt overwhelming me in the darkness. [i]You CAN do it,[/i] Ari coaches, desperate but still hopeful. [i]You’ve got to get control, you have to save Ia –[/i] But as the Talons continue to be absorbed, I feel something else suddenly. I scour the devastated arena, and find their Kell sneaking around the perimeter to flank me. [i]He’s done something[/i], I realize with a jolt. [i]This wasn’t just about the attack, he had something else in mind…[/i] I look to the red army around me, and see them beginning to seize up and twitch. [i]What’s happening?[/i] And then, for the first time it what’s felt like an eternity, I hear the voice of SIVA once more. [i]~ Consume Enhance – ~ Consume Enhance –[/i] I feel her focus leaping between soldiers, a twinge of fear guiding her desperation as she seeks a foothold – [i]She’s losing control,[/i] I realize. [i]But how? What have the Talons done to us?[/i] And then SIVA speaks to me, images and ideas flashing across my mind as she beseeches me in a panic – [i]~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~[/i] And then I understand – the Talons have done to themselves purposefully what was done to me accidentally: they infected themselves with SIVA. But though they were infected, they showed no outward signs, none of the abilities – [i]~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ A mutation? How – ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~[/i] I feel my heart stop. [i]The Talons have created an antigen code to the nanoswarm somehow. Bullshit[/i], Avi says instinctively, but I feel his confusion beneath the bravado. [i]That means we can take back control![/i] Ari cries happily. [i]We can –[/i] The red tendrils across the room continue to lash around the Talons, continuing to consume them even as I begin to feel the antigen code spreading throughout the trillions of individual nanites of the SIVA swarm – I watch as the Talon’s Kell is hoisted on high by a wrathful SIVA, using her last ounces of strength and control to slowly consume every piece of him – In the silence of the depressurized cell, I see him tossing his head back, as though in pain – but as SIVA continues to consume him, I realize with a thrill he’s not screaming – He’s laughing. SIVA’s wrath grows inside me, and I feel her squeezing the Talon Kell tighter, exacting her revenge on him – [i]~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~[/i] Out of the corner of my eye, I see the tendrils wrapping themselves around Ia, pulling her closer, beginning to consume her – [i]NO!!!![/i] Ari cries within, and with a mighty force of will, I struggle through the darkness, feeling our tendrils squeezing Ia and the Talon Kell tighter – And then we feel SIVA’s fear as we feel the antigen spread – [i]We can offer you the same deal as we did before[/i], we think toward her. [i]Give us what we want and we’ll give you what you want. ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~[/i] I ponder the question - [i]How can we give SIVA what she wants when we don’t even know what this antigen is?[/i] Almost reflexively, SIVA’s tendrils hold Ia up to us. She glares at us, but we don’t waste our focus on her, shifting instead to the Talon Kell, focusing our mind on his – – and suddenly hear him inside our head. * [i]What is this?[/i] * he asks, and we immediately know that his name is Lokis. * [i]This is all you will ever know from now on. * * At least until you die. * * We will not die, for you will help us survive.[/i] * Out of the corner of our eye, we see the furthest tendrils of SIVA beginning to blacken and decay around the cell – I push it aside as I feel SIVA’s fear, and focus back on Lokis’ confusion, and his own hint of fear he’s worked so desperately to keep buried. We push deeper into his mind, and feel him resisting, but he has no experience with this, no training on how to keep me out – We delve deeper, searching for the way they developed the antigen code – within moments, we’ve found the memory, and pull it to the forefront of our own mind. Lokis struggles, roaring inside, but we push him further down into the darkness, his role now complete. * [i]Thank you,[/i] * we tell him before he disappears entirely. * [i]Had you never come, we would have been imprisoned by SIVA forever. But thanks to you, we’ve now found the key out.[/i] * Lokis vanishes into the darkness of our collective mind as I force my way to the forefront, distributing the memory throughout all of SIVA’s nanites – in moments, we feel strength returning to her, her fear of being consumed herself gone as we force our tendrils to release Ia. The Talons stand and join their brothers and sisters in the Red Army as we stand before them, feeling our body once more as we move our hands, joyously reveling in the symbiosis. [i]~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ We told you in the beginning,[/i] we respond to her. [i]You’re inside me and we can’t die anymore. All we can do is learn to work together. ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ As long as you don’t bury me again, we won’t. ~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~ …you’re welcome.[/i] We’ve never heard SIVA thank us before. It feels strange, vulnerable, but…welcome, almost. We accept SIVA’s embrace and fold ourselves into it once more, Ari and Avi falling back into their respective places behind us as the door to the cell suddenly opens. We turn and see the familiar sigil of the Eye of Osiris gazing back at us as from the armor of dozens of armed Disciples. [i]~ Consume Enhance Replicate ~[/i] SIVA asks the question in our mind, and we give the order, repeated throughout the soldiers in our grand Red Army. [i]Always someone coming to kill us. We must return the favor.[/i]

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